Here at Maintainn, we’ve seen a large uptick in people asking if they need to secure their website with an SSL certificate. The short answer is yes, you should.
Even if you don’t have an eCommerce site, every website needs to be secure. That includes bloggers, realtors, photographers with online portfolios, and small business websites. Many website hosts are offering free SSL certificates, so there’s no reason not to do it.
You may have noticed while browsing websites lately that you’ve seen a new warning about sites not being secure. Typically, this shows up in the address bar of your browser. But, it wasn’t always like this. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox previously only showed a notice when the site was secure and no warning when it was not secure. Lately, there has been a big push toward better security by switching to showing when a site is not protected and labeling it “Not Secure,” like in the example below.
What is an SSL certificate and why is it important?
An SSL certificate is an encryption key used on your website to secure data sent to and from your site. Technically, it stands for Secure Socket Layer, but all you really need to know is that it provides end-to-end encryption between your website and the user.
I like to describe the SSL certificate as a tunnel with your website at one end and the visitor of the site at the other and nothing can get into this tunnel except those authorized to be there—in this case, your website and your visitor. An SSL makes it much harder for would-be hackers to intercept traffic to or from your site. Most people think that if they aren’t running an eCommerce site, they don’t need to secure it, but this simply isn’t the case.
Users share sensitive information with sites they visit, like email or location, and bad actors want this information. The more they know about a user, the easier it is for them to steal their identity or make fraudulent orders, etc. So it’s important to use an SSL so that your user’s data and interactions with your site are as secure as possible.
Why are search engines and other internet companies being so aggressive about pushing SSL?
Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, etc. have all started being more aggressive about pushing for every site to be secure. In addition to warnings in the browser, search engines like Google and Bing prefer sites that are secure over sites that aren’t. Most SEO experts agree that there is no penalty for not having a secure site. There is, however, a bonus when your site is secure. So by making this an important ranking factor for search, these companies are helping push for a more secure internet which ultimately benefits everyone.
How do you get an SSL?
Maintainn can help you with that. Many hosts offer a free certificate via a service like Let’s Encrypt; you can also purchase certificates several providers. The added benefit of these paid SSL certificates is that they will display the organization name in the browser/certificate instead of a general name. This gives another layer of trust. Some even offer insurance if the SSL is ever breached.
While most sites simply need a free or standard SSL certificate, we can review your site and help determine what level of protection is best for you, get your SSL certificate set up, and make the changes necessary to your site to make it work with SSL.
With the cost of SSL certificates starting at free up to a small yearly fee for the basic paid ones, there’s no good reason not to ensure your visitors’ security while also benefiting your site with better search engine results. If you have questions about making your site secure, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to help.