What SSL is and Why Your Website Needs It

Zach RinardWebsites

What SSL is and Why Your Website Needs It

In February of 2018, Google announced that its Chrome Browser would mark all HTTP sites as non-secure in an effort to encourage website owners to migrate their sites to HTTPS. So what does this mean? HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol and is used as the highway on which your website travels. The problem with HTTP is that when it transfers your website data, it doesn’t do so very securely. This is where SSL comes in!

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a method of encrypting your website’s information as it’s transferring outgoing and incoming information. So what does this mean in English? It means that when information is traveling across the internet, SSL temporarily scrambles the data so that hackers can’t read it, which protects credit card information, personal identification, addresses, etc. For obvious reasons, this is very important for your website to have.

How do I know if my site has SSL?

  • Your site URL should say “https://” instead of “http://”URL SSL Certificate
  • There may be a padlock icon next to your site URL

What if I don’t have SSL?

Not having an SSL certificate on your site can cause several issues. For search engine optimization, an SSL certificate is a must. Google prefers to recommend sites that are safe and secure, so they are much more likely to rank your site well if you have SSL. Most browsers also have a feature that blocks users from viewing sites that aren’t secure. If your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate, your users may see an error like this when they try to visit your site:

Your Connection is not private error

Running into this error screen is a big problem for your site since it blocks user access to your website. This hurts your site traffic, your rankings, and if you’re an e-commerce site, this could drastically harm your sales. To get rid of this error message on your site, we’ll need to install an SLL certificate!

How do I get SSL on my website?

This is where things get a little complicated. Since there are so many different platforms to build websites on, naturally there are a ton of different ways to get SSL on your site, but, basically, you just need to acquire an SSL certificate and then install it. You can purchase an SSL certificate, but most website hosting companies offer them free with your web plan. Some companies that offer free SSL certificates are:

Once you’ve got your SSL certificate, all you have to do is install it! If you’re using WordPress (which most site owners do) use a plugin like Really Simple SSL. Really Simple SSL offers a one-click solution to installing your SSL certificate, making it really simple¬†to secure your website!

While it is relatively easy to install an SSL, without any prior technical knowledge, many people still find this process quite difficult. Not to worry, we’re happy to help! If you need advice on how to get SSL for your site, or don’t even know where to begin, give Rinard Media a call!