You may have noticed websites marked as “not secure” over the last few months. With an increased focus on safety and security, Google announced that they will mark sites without an SSL certificate as not secure. Now it is more important than ever to be sure you obtain an SSL certificate for your website – even if you are not directly selling anything on your site. Let’s talk about what SSL certificates do for you as a website owner.
What is an SSL certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layers. The SSL certificate is used to encrypt the data that is being transmitted between the server and the browser. It ensures a secure connection to protect user information. Without the SSL certificate, data is not encrypted and a secure connection cannot be established. Data that may be protected with an SSL certificate includes credit card information, usernames and passwords, and information input into a form.
A site with an SSL certificate will begin with an URL of HTTPS which stands for “hypertext transfer protocol secure.” Simply put, it’s a secure version of the HTTP that we are used to seeing at the beginning of a URL.
How does an SSL certificate work?
When a user visits a secure website, the browser or server is provided a copy of the site’s SSL certificate. After verifying its authenticity, an “agreement” is digitally signed to establish a secure session. Now there can be a secure transmission of information between a website and a user.
Why is an SSL certificate critical?
Authentication– You can verify ownership of a website with an SSL certificate. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon nowadays for ill-meaning people to replicate a website in an effort to steal customer information.
Data integrity– Users on your site want to know that their information is safe while doing business with you. Web-savvy people may choose not to if they feel unsure about the security of your website.
Encryption– SSL certificates encrypt the communication between a user and a server. Not only is this of importance on e-commerce sites, but it is also critical for sites where users must input information using forms.
Impact on SEO –SSL certificates are meant to create a secure internet experience for users. Google has recently placed even more importance on having a secure website. In July 2018, Google began marking sites without SSL certificates as “not secure” which could negatively impact your ranking on the search engine. The “not secure” designation by Google may also deter users from visiting your site by affecting your site’s worthiness and credibility.
Is your site secure?
If you’re unsure if you have an SSL certificate, check your URL to see if it says HTTPS. If you don’t have one, it’s time that you should. WordPress offers a number of plug-ins to help you choose the correct SSL certificate for your website.
If you need help or if you are uncertain if your site is secure, contact ACA Web Consulting today. We want to make sure that your data is safe, that your users view you as a credible site, and that your rankings are not negatively impacted.