SLL Certificates – does my site need one?
Now that GDPR is out of the way – the digital world has now found something new to panic about endlessly. Welcome to, “Does my site need an SSL Certificate?”. Sit back, relax, and decide for yourself at the end of this post.
What is an SSL Certificate?
First things first – what is an SSL Certificate? Well, an official definition (that no one understands) has a lot of words and phrases like, “cryptographic” and “digitally binding”. These words are helpful to near-enough no one as no one knows what they actually mean. BUT, fear not – once again, the supeheroes are here to answer those pestering questions you may have. As well as being here to give you the definition that we will all find much simpler.
Visually, you know a website has an SSL Certificate when you can see that little padlock in the url box, or a green bar where it used to be white. You will also see the HTTPs protocol, in place of the old HTTP one – in this case, the added “s” stands for “secure”. So, to piece together these snippets of info, we have the following…
A green bar
The word (letter) “Secure”
Each of these new additions on a website that come with having an SSL Certificate, basically mean that the site is safe for its users to use! By enabling the HTTPs protocol, for example, you are allowing secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer, and logins. However, more recently, having an SSL Certificate on your site is becoming the norm when surfing social media platforms.
Think of it this way…
Having an SSL Certificate on your website acts as a sort of encryption that protects your visitors by scrambling the information they may submit. This encryption is like a code that only browsers and servers know how to read. So for example, lets look at how emails work…
Wonder Woman needs to send Spiderman an email. So, she will type out her email and press send. When she hits send, this email will leave her browser and go into the magical world of servers and cyberspace.
In the magical world of servers and cyberspace, her email will be changed from normal words into a jumbled mess of coding that no one can read. These little letters will travel through the server world, until it’s time to be delievered to Spiderman’s inbox.
By the time it leaves the magical server world and enters Spiderman’s inbox, the encryption (coding) will have returned to its true form. In this case, normal words so that Spiderman can read Wonder Woman’s email… although why she would ever cross the DC/Marvel devide via email is beyond us!
So in the same way as emails being securely encrypted until they land in your inbox, any users info who lands on your site will also be encrypted. Meaning that all users’ data has been protected and kept secure, due to the websites having an SSL Certificate integrated within their site. But we know what your next question is…
Why does MY site need an SSL Certificate?
There are a whole bunch of benefits when you have an SSL Certificate integrated in your website. Aside from the fact that they protect sensitive information, such as credit card details, usernames and passwords etc – it also keeps all data secure between servers (think Wonder Woman from above), it INCREASES YOUR GOOGLE RANKINGS, it builds/enhances customer trust, and IMPROVES CONVERSION RATES.
Sooo, why wouldn’t you?
Where do I buy an SSL Certificate?
We hear ya. In short, SSL Certificates need to be issued from a trusted Certificate Authority. Most browsers, operating systems, and mobile devices have lists of trusted CA root certificates. The root certificate must be presented on the end users’ machine for the certficate to be trusted. If the site is not trusted, the user will be presented with something that looks like THIS…
… and no one wants that. In the case of eCommerce websites, you absolutely HAVE to have an SSL certificate. No arguments. Just do it.