What’s an SSL Certificate and Why Do I Need One? (Or, What’s That Little Green Padlock On My Browser?)
Starting on July 24th, Google went live with Google 68. Often, browser upgrades can fly under the radar. This time it’s different.
Google 68 has new security standards requiring websites to have updated SSL certificates in order to be considered secure. These SSL certificates are needed to transition sites over from “HTTP” to “HTTPS” for a more secure web browsing experience. If sites do not have an updated SSL certificate, anyone visiting that site will see a very prominant message in the site’s browser bar announcing this site is “not secure”.
This development should not be taken lightly, website visitors receiving a warning message could mean a decrease in trust, fewer customers visiting your site, and in turn, lost business. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your website doesn’t skip a beat.
What is SSL?
SSL is technology that encrypts the information flowing between your site and the servers so it cannot be intercepted by hackers. It tells visitors that you are the legitimate owner of the site and that their data can be trusted on your site.
What Are The Benefits Of An SSL Certificate?
SSL certificates protect sensitive data such as credit card information, usernames, passwords etc. It also:
- Keeps data secure between servers
- Increases your Google Rankings
- Builds/Enhances customer trust
- Improves conversion rates
How Do I Know If My Site Is Secure?
There are two primary ways you will know whether your site is secure or not.
- Look for the little green padlock icon next to the website URL on your browser bar. All websites deemed “secure” should have the green padlock.
- The website URL should be “HTTPS”, not “HTTP”.
What’s the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the means by which data is sent between your browser and the website you are connecting to. HTTPS, which uses SSL certificates to ensure all communications are encrypted, is the secure version of HTTP. (The “S” at the end stands for “secure.”)
When using an HTTP website, there is the potential for your connection to be tapped and your data stolen or manipulated. With HTTPS, your data is encrypted, which makes it unreadable and worthless to anyone without the “decoder key.” Security aside, HTTPS also blocks ISPs (Internet Service Providers) from inserting ads on your website and performs better and faster than HTTP.
What Action Do I Need To Take?
To avoid your website getting marked as “not secure,” you will need to install an SSL certificate and migrate your website to HTTPS.
Where Do I Buy An SSL Certificate?
SSL Certificates need to be issued from a trusted Certificate Authority.
If you’re the DIY type, you can purchase and install a certificate on your site. However, instructions and recommendations vary based on where you purchase your certificate, so your best bet is check with your hosting company as a starting point.
If you have a hosting company like GoDaddy, you can purchase it through them. They even have services that will install it for you if you wish.
Ensuring your company’s website has an up-to-date SSL certificate will be critical for keeping your business running strong. Not only will it ensure the data your website is processing, storing, and utilizing will all be safe and encrypted; website visitors will be able to browse your site knowing their information and personal data is protected.
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