What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL is simply short for Secure Sockets Layer. They are essentially digital passports that provide authentication to protect the confidentiality and integrity of website communication with browsers. By adding an SSL certificate to your website, it makes the connection more secure and safer when you browse online.
SSL enables a secure session to be established between the server and your browser through an automatic process of negotiation. It encrypts your data in a way that only the intended recipient can understand it. Having secure online connections is increasingly important because the information you submit online is constantly being passed through different servers and all your data would be very easy to steal (passwords, credit card numbers, etc.) if not encrypted with an SSL certificate.
Unfortunately, every website on the Internet is a potential target for hackers and just because your site may be relatively small doesn’t mean it is safe from being attacked. Most web attacks are made by bots, which are created simply to search the web for vulnerable websites which may not be secure (those without an SSL certificate). It’s important to realise that these bots are not real humans specifically targeting your website, they are automated pieces of software which cannot differentiate between large or small websites. A web crawler will search for known vulnerabilities and if one is found it will attack it. All of this happens behind the scenes and the user experience of the website is not altered, so you may not even realise that your website has been compromised.
Why do you need SSL Certificate?
The main reasons to add a SSL certificate to your website are:
If your website accepts credit cards and stores that information online, you will be required to use SSL by the credit card companies and in some cases – by the hosting providers. Also, you would not want someone to steal all your user’s credit cards, you would want to keep this information safe and secure.
Secure the login process and web forms
Protecting the username and password, as well as all the data a user enters when browsing through your website is vital as it could be intercepted and used by third parties.
Search engine rankings
In 2013, Google announced that pages using SLL certificates will be ranked higher, so if your website has an SSL certificate it will appear higher up on Google listings. Other search engines like Yahoo and Bing have also included website security to their ranking algorithm as well.
Users will feel more secure when using your site if it has an SSL certificate. Customer trust is very important and visitors to your site will feel safer knowing that whatever information they enter will be secure.
We live in a world where web attacks happen on a daily basis and companies lose money and their customers as a result of that. You can never be too safe when it comes to web security. The use of SSL certificates is next to mandatory, especially when you deal with people’s login credentials, credit card and personal information. Once your SSL certificate has been set up, you can ensure that it is working properly and that your website secured.