So I’ve added a couple of articles here in the past about having a SSL but technology and time has moved on as usual and so an updated post is now required. So the big question(s) is do I need a SSL certificate and why and what is it?
What is a SSL certificate?
SSL stands for ‘secure sockets layer’ and is a form of security added to websites that handle sensitive information. This creates website urls to start with https instead of the standard http which encrypts the information that is transferred between the browser and the website making it less vulnerable to hackers.
Why do I need a SSL certificate?
These days it is essential for any website for 3 main reasons as follows:
- Search engines – all websites with SSL certificates are prioritised in the search engine listings over those that don’t have one. So if it is important that your website is found when people search via Google you need one. And that should be important for everyone!
- GDPR – these are the data protection regulations that came into force in April 2018 so isn’t new news to most I hope! The ICO recommends that all data is protected and this can apply to the transfer of data via websites. So if someone fills in a contact form on your website and that is then emailed to you, it needs to have that data contained in the form protected. More information can be found on the ICO website here
- Visitor reassurance – if a website does not have a SSL in place, the web browser will display that information in a form similar to below. You need to demonstrate to your potential customers that their data is important to you and that your business takes steps to protect that. A SSL certificate is a clear indication of that when your website is visited.
So how do I get a SSL?
These are usually supplied by the company that hosts your website as it is the easiest way to get one applied. So if you contact your host they will be able to offer a variety of levels of certificates which usually incur an annual charge. They often start from as little as £30.00-£60.00 per year and can go up to £200.00+ for higher level certificates. If you have a small business information based website then the lowest level is usualy sufficient. If you have a website with a members area, or you sell products online via an ecommerce system then the higher levels are worth exploring as they offer additional protections. And bolder, visible declarations on web browsers.
But basically in this day and age every website should have a SSL certificate. As people are more concerned about privacy and protection then you need to demonstrate to your website visitors that you will take those concerns seriously and do what you can to protect your customers. It provides peace of mind for visitors and keep search engines happy!