Do you know what an SSL certificate is? It’s indicated by the little lock symbol in the URL bar and when the URL starts with
https instead of
http and turns green.
You might know that you should check for it when you’re about to enter credit card information on a website and that it’s super important for online shops.
So what’s the deal with SSL certificates and do you really need one?
The short answer is yes.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates allow a secure connection to be established between the browser and the server. Any information passed from your browser to the server is encrypted, which makes it safe from interception.
If you enter any passwords on a website, email addresses on a website, credit card information – basically any sort of input at all – then information is being passed from the browser to the server. And ideally, that information should encrypted, so it can’t be hijacked by anyone.
But I don’t have any such things on my website.
This might be true, you might not be asking your audience to take any sort of action on your website except reading things and clicking on links. However, SSL certificates aren’t there just to protect your audience, they also protect you. Most likely, you are using a CMS like WordPress on your website. This means sensitive information such as the username and password you use to get into the backend of your website is being passed from the browser to the server. SSL certificates help protect that information and prevents hackers from intercepting it.
What if my website is a static one?
That’s a question I’ve gotten before. Well, you may not need SSL certificates to keep information secure, but nowadays, having one establishes legitimacy and trust with your audience. The lock symbol or the green https, says that you care about your audience and you want to keep them as safe as possible. It helps your audience take you more seriously.
An SSL certificate also helps Google take you more seriously.
Whether or not you have an SSL certificate impacts your SEO score now. So having one is always going to be better than not having one. And now that the awesome Let’s Encrypt service exists – making SSL certificates completely free – there’s no excuse not to have one.
Many awesome hosting services (Siteground, WPEngine, Dreamhost, etc) have already integrated Let’s Encrypt into their hosting services, which means setting up an SSL certificate is just a few button clicks away.
So if it doesn’t cost you extra money, helps your audience trust you more, and improves your SEO score, why wouldn’t you do it? There are only positives here.
Seriously, if you have a website, you should have an SSL certificate. No exceptions.