We now install SSL certificates for all new clients who use our preferred hosting providers and we will be installing them on all of our maintenance clients’ websites over the next few weeks.
But what is a SSL certificate and why should you have one?
What is a SSL?
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology. Encryption is the process of scrambling data into an undecipherable format that can only be returned to a readable format with the proper decryption key.
When an Internet user attempts to send confidential information to a Web server, such as through a contact form, the user’s browser accesses the server’s digital certificate and establishes a secure connection. A SSL certificate is like an electronic “passport” that establishes a website’s identity.
How I can tell if a website has a SSL installed?
If a website has a SSL installed you will see a green padlock in the browser bar and the website address will start with https:// (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) instead of http:// (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol).
On a mobile device it will be shown as a small black padlock next to the web address.
Do I need a SSL?
If you are collecting sensitive information via your website then you should have a SSL. If users are required to enter credit card details then you need a SSL to compile with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).
But even if you are not collecting this type of information you should still consider installing an SSL certificate because it can help build trust between your visitors and your website. Seeing a padlock next to your web address tells users that your website can be trusted.Installing a SSL on your website can help build trust between you and your clients. Click To Tweet
Is a SSL good for SEO?
Google announced that it was going to start to use https:// as a ranking signal back in 2104. This means that if your website has a SSL installed then it will rank better in search results than a website without a SSL installed. Of course there are many other aspects that effect your ranking but having a SSL installed is a good way to boost your SEO.
How do I get a SSL?
There are 3 different types of SSL:
- Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates – this is the highest level of SSL and checks the identity of the organisation as well as the domain name. You will see the name of the organisation next to the green padlock:
- Organisation Validation (OV) SSL Certificates – this type of SSL checks some of the organisation’s details as well as the domain name. Companies have to have their details verified before a certificate of this type is issued.
- Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificates – this is the most common SSL and it checks the identity of the domain name. They have the advantage of being issues almost immediately without the need to submit company paperwork.
So it depends on which type of SSL you want but in most cases a DV SSL is sufficient.
To get a SSL installed speak to your web hosting company or web developer.
SiteGround now issue Let’s Encrypt certificates (free DV SSL certificates) automatically for all domains hosted on their servers and they have just introduced a one-click HTTPS configurator for WordPress. This makes the process of getting a SSL much easier.
Some (smart) web hosting companies are making it easier than ever to have a SSL installed on your website for no extra cost and so it is worth checking this when you decide who to host with.
This is another reason why we like to stick with our preferred hosting companies for all our clients, ensuring that their websites are secure as well as fast.