Many of you probably heard about Google’s warning prior to their release of Chrome 62 that all websites should have an SSL certificate to prevent their ‘Not Secure’ warning from being triggered and potentially driving away new traffic.
For those of you who have no clue what SSL is, or whether you need it for your website, keep reading!
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it’s the security technology that’s used to encrypt connections between web servers and browsers. This encryption ensures that any sensitive information entered between the web server and browser remains private.
Once you activate SSL on your website, an SSL certificate will be created for your website which will contain the details of your company or a legally accountable individual. However, please note that depending on your hosting company and the setup of your website, updating your website to be SSL secure may not be as simple as merely purchasing a certificate.
Once your website is SSL secure, users who visit your site will be redirected to (HTTPS) https://yourwebsite.com instead of the traditional (HTTP) http://yourwebsite.com. They will also see a small padlock in the address bar that marks your website as secure, since you have a valid SSL certificate.
But, does my website need one?
Whilst Google are trying to encourage more website owners to switch to SSL in a greater attempt to secure the web, it’s not necessarily true that all websites require an SSL certificate.
Generally, websites that process personal data or payments should feature an SSL certificate to ensure that your customer’s details and identities remain private.
However, if your website doesn’t require users to enter sensitive data such as payment details, addresses and passwords, it’s not entirely necessary to convert to SSL. For example, if you’re an author and your website simply serves to advertise your work and host your blog, an SSL certificate is not essential.
In addition to this, if your website is an e-commerce store but uses a third-party payment processor such as PayPal, since the third party should already be SSL secure, and as long as no payment details are entered on your own website, it’s not necessary for your website to also have its own SSL certificate.
To help keep things simple, and if you’re still confused about whether your website needs SSL, here are the 3 main types of sites that need SSL:
SSL is quickly becoming a necessity thanks to Google’s introduction of ‘Not Secure’ warnings, so if you haven’t yet considered upgrading your website to a URL certificate, we’d strongly recommend that you look into it.