Why SSL and HTTPS are Important for Your Website
By A Digital N.E.R.D
An SSL certificate is something that every online business should have on their website, especially after Google has prioritized websites with SSL certificates to help your business on search engine rankings.
When your website has an SSL certificate properly installed on the server, a small green padlock icon will be displayed to the left of your website URL in the browser and the https will appear in green.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer (SSL). SSL is a security protocol that allows encrypted communication between a web server and internet browser. The SSL encrypts all your data transmitted between the server and the user using an encryption key on the server. Basically, an SSL certificate ensures that the information being between the web server and your web browser is only visible to the user (you) and the website.
When someone navigates to your secure website, your site sends the SSL certificate to your visitor’s web browser with the required key needed to begin the secure session. This process initiates the SSL “fist-bump” and allows for the secure transfer of information between your website and visitors web browser.
SSL certificates include the following information:
- Name of the certificate holder
- The certificate’s serial number and expiration date
- A copy of the certificate holder’s public key
- The digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority
Without an SSL certificate, a secure connection cannot be established which means the information transmitted is not connected to a cryptographic key. Unfortunately, this can impact a customer’s/visitor’s confidence in your business and may even prevent them from ordering from you (if you are an ecommerce site).
Furthermore, ranking on Google without an SSL certificate is extremely difficult.
You could be doing everything right regarding SEO goes but without an SSL certificate, your chances of ranking become extremely small.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol known for communication between your website and the browser your visitor is using (i.e; chrome/brave/opera). If your website is secure, it will have an “https://” in front of the web address instead of “http://”.
Google’s ‘HTTPS Everywhere’ Initiative:
In August of 2014 Google launched their HTTPS Everywhere Initiative in an attempt to make the worldwide web a safer place to explore. This initiative was created in order to encourage web users to use HTTPS (seen at the start of secure URLs) and make an emphasis on the importance of online security.
Security has always been a priority for Google and with this initiative they made it a priority for everybody else as well. When using Google’s services (like Search, Google Drive, or Gmail) users already have access to HTTPS encryption. Beyond that Google also provides many resources to help prevent and fix security breaches on websites.
One of the biggest changes that Google made with this new initiative is if a website has an SSL certificate and exhibits a commitment to online security, it will rank higher in Google Search results. Comparably, websites with poor website security will be pushed further down in Google rankings. You want to make sure your website has the best security available. Brandishing the green locket and https in your URL will show visitors that your website can be trusted and web users will be more likely to stick around.
What is the Cost of an SSL Certificate?
The cost can vary for an SSL certificate and depends on your website’s hosting provider, based on who their source of certificates are, and the type of certificates they buy. There are three types of SSL certificates:
- Single Domain – This type of SSL certificate is only valid on one domain URL.
- Multi Domain – Also known as a Universal Communication Certificate (UCC) this secures multiple domain names and multiple host names within a domain name. You can set a primary domain and then add up to 99 additional Subject Alternative Names (SANs) in a single certificate. This is great for businesses with multiple sub domains and URLs for different services, product lines or geographic locations.
- Wildcard – This type of certificate is for securing all of the subdomains you may have for a single domain.
When selecting your SSL Certificate, it’s best to consult with your web host, digital marketing agency, or IT department to ensure you’ve selected the right security for your entire business.
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