An SSL certificate is a security certificate that can be used by websites to enable secure HTTPS connections and protect their users.
What is SSL?
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a website and a web browser.
An SSL certificate gives your website a padlock that is displayed in your browser bar, reassuring visitors they’re safe on your site.
Watch this short video from SSL.com for a simple but detailed explanation about Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and how they work.
Having an SSL certificate on your website encrypts the site and protects your users from being potential misled or having their data breached when they enter private data via things like a blog comment or contact form.
Your users are also at risk of having their credit or debit card details stolen if you run an eCommerce website that accepts payment details.
The easiest way to know if a website is secure is to check if it has a little green padlock icon to the left of the website address in the address bar.
You can also test the site by adding https:// before the website address when typing it into your browser.
Why You Need an SSL Certificate
Although it’s not yet compulsory to have an SSL certificate installed on your website, it is very highly recommended for a number of reasons.
People are more aware and cautious when it comes to their online security today, and they are starting to learn what a non-secure site looks like.
Avoid Being Labelled Dangerous
Most of today’s most common web browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer will warn a user that a site is non-secure and potentially dangerous before they enter that website.
You can be 100% sure that pretty much nobody will click to proceed to any website when it shows a warning like this one.
Improve Organic Search Rankings
Google introduced SSL as a ranking factor back in 2014 and it appeared to allow a generous grace period for websites to make the change.
But that period has now ended and you can expect to see most non-secure sites now ranking lower than their secured competitor sites.
Having an SSL certificate installed on your website is an essential piece of kit if you want to increase your organic search traffic from search engines and convert those website visitors into paying customers.
Not having a secure website is one of the reasons many websites don’t rank well on Google and other search engines, so it’s a lazy and costly mistake.
When you can get a free SSL certificate from LetsEncrypt, there really is no good excuse for not securing your website and protecting your customers.