Updated: Jul 30, 2020
You’ve probably taken note that some website URLs start with “http” and others start with “https”. Maybe you thought nothing of it, or maybe it piqued your curiosity. The extra “s” stands for secure encryption, which can only be guaranteed with an SSL certificate.
You may be asking yourself, ‘Do I need an SSL certificate for my website?’
In short, the answer is yes. Especially if you ask your website visitors for any personal information. Whether or not you’ve thought much about an SSL certificate for your website or not, if you don’t have one, your website visitors have likely taken notice and possibly clicked off your site as quickly as they landed there. That’s because many web browsers now show a warning similar to these…
In this article, we’re going to talk about what an SSL certificate is, what it does, and whether or not you should have one on your website, and how to get one.
Before we get into if your website needs an SSL certificate, let’s talk about what exactly it is. SSL is short for Secure Sockets Layer.
An SSL certificate encrypts the data that’s sent from a user’s computer to your website and back. So, every time a user enters information into your website, SSL ensures that it can travel securely from their browser to your web server.
What’s this mean for you as a website owner? It means that your website communicates with customers that they can safely and securely enter their information and purchase products and/or services from you through your website.
Yes, you probably should! Anything that needs to be secure online should be protected under an SSL certificate. This means personal information like names, addresses, emails, and most definitely payment information.
It’s important to understand that people treat non-https websites with extreme caution, and so does Google. One of Google’s goals is to protect its users from insecure websites that could potentially cause harm. If your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate, Google takes that into account when deciding which websites will show up for search queries.
For anyone hoping to make money online or get more traffic to their website…an SSL certificate is a must!
If you aren’t already convinced that you need to get your site an SSL certificate ASAP, here are some of the top advantages of having one:
It contains high encryption levels to protect your website user’s personal information against scams and attacks.
It protects your website from attacks and reduces the risks of being hacked.
It provides a positive impact on Google’s evaluation of your website which works to positively impact SEO.
Establishes and communicates a safe shopping experience.
Increases your user’s trust and confidence with your brand.
Saves you money. If your website was unprotected and experienced a hack or security breach, it can create a major legal problem for your business.
Starting in July 2018 when Google rolled out their Chrome 68, they began marking any website without an SSL as “Not Secure.” They did this as a way to make the global web more secure, however, it’s most important for websites that collect data or accept payments from users.
To answer the question, “do I need an SSL certificate for my website?” consider the following:
1. Do you plan to accept payments online?
If you plan to accept payments online for your products or services, you’ll likely need a merchant account, and most of them will require that you have an SSL. Many web hosting companies will actually require your website to have an SSL before you’re able to accept credit card payments. Besides the requirements, would you really want to put your customer’s information at risk?
2. Are any of your pages password protected?
If any of your pages require users to enter a username and password, then an SSL is a must. This includes database-driven sites with a login page for the administrator like WordPress. If you have a membership site with multiple logins, you’re at a higher risk for attacks, too.
Unfortunately, the internet is filled with bots seeking out poorly protected password pages to either delete or deface them.
3. Do you plan to collect any information from your users?
Not everyone collects money online, but plenty of websites collect information. Even if you’re just collecting basic information from your users like name, address, phone number, and email—there’s a good chance that they’re not comfortable with that information being leaked.
Uh-Oh! My Website Isn’t Secure What Do I Do Next?
First, don’t panic! Obtaining an SSL certificate isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds.
If you’re running a site that requires users to enter sensitive information like payment info, an SSL is an absolute must for you. If you’re running a simple blog, having an SSL isn’t as essential, but Google has stated that the security of your site is a ranking factor, so all websites should take note and jump on the wagon.
Almost all hosting providers offer SSL certificates these days. To get yours, all you need to do is verify your domain name and business ownership. So first and foremost login to the account on the website that actually hosts your domain. Then search around for information on SSL or give them a call directly and they can most definitely help you out!
SSL certificates are available for FREE, so really, there’s no reason not to take this step even if you never ask your website visitors to enter in any information.
Online users these days understand the risks involved online and don’t trust sites that aren’t secure. Don’t take the risk of losing business just because you haven’t taken the time to get your SSL certificate yet.
As a reputable digital marketing company, we hear from clients all the time asking, ‘do I need an SSL certificate for my website if I…’ and the answer is always a YES!
You wouldn’t trust a website that says “Not Secure” so why would you expect your website visitors to? Don’t take a chance on missing out on potential traffic and customers, get your SSL certificate today!
Need help with more than just your SSL certificate? Check out all the ways we can help you get found by your ideal clients by visiting our services page.
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