Need and Importance of an SSL Certificate for Websites

Are you wondering what exactly SSL is and how implementing it can boost your website’s rankings? Lately, Google has started giving some ranking benefits to websites using SSL certificate and now many website owners are puzzled whether or not they need an SSL certificate for their website.

SSL is increasingly becoming an important factor in a website’s performance because it enhances the trustworthiness of a website, in addition to protecting it from phishing attacks. Although the main purpose of SSL is to protect credit card transactions and login credentials, now it is becoming essential for every website.

What is an SSL certificate?

Secure Sockets Layer or SLL can be defined as the security protocol that encrypts data and creates a secure connection between a web server and a browser. This means SSL ensures safe communication between a website and a user.

Once the SSL Certificate is installed on a web server, it activates a secure padlock and https protocol which protects the sensitive information of the end-user, like their credit card details, banking details, personal details and more to a merchant’s website. It is beneficial, especially for e-commerce websites because the risk of leaking confidential information to the hackers and cybercriminals is minimized and visitors also trust these websites.

The SSL certified websites are differentiated from other unprotected ones with a green lock sign in the address bar. Moreover, their address will begin with “https” instead of “http”, where the “s” means “secure”.

Who needs SSL?

Now, the question arises “Does every website need an SSL Certificate?” People often ask which websites need SSL Certificate and which do not. The answer to this question, in the present scenario, is that it is beneficial for almost everyone.

SSL certificates, in particular, are a necessity for pages that ask users to submit their confidential information. This means, e-commerce website owner who accepts online payments are required to get SSL certificate and this will be shown as “https” in their page address. For better security, not only pages but the entire websites are now being encrypted.

On the other hand, simple blogs and websites that don’t require users to submit their confidential information or make payments can avoid installing SSL. Although, it is still recommended to enhance the website’s page ranking. This is because Google takes security very seriously and pages that use “https” are deemed trustworthy by users, in addition to ranking higher.

What are the benefits of installing an SSL certificate?

  1. The biggest advantage of SSL is to keeps data, especially confidential information secure. Whether a user on your website is submitting login information, passwords, email addresses, or financial information such as credit card details, SSL ensures a secure connection between user and web server.
  2. Next is the benefit of boosting the website’s SEO rank. Google always prioritize protecting users’ data and it does consider security while calculating a website’s search engine ranking. For this reason, it is recommended to use SSL to keep sites and users safe. Even if your website doesn’t require sensitive information of users, you will benefit by installing SSL as it will increase the search rankings of your website.
  3. Every user prefers to visit a safe site. It has been found in a survey that over 90% of the web users trust websites with “https” and green lock icon in the address bar. This implies that the SSL certificate enhances the users’ trust and in turn increases user engagement. An SSL certificate ensures users that their data is secure and thereby adds credibility and confidence to your website.

How to choose between different types of SSL certificate?

Typically, there are three types of certificates, that is, Domain Validation, Organization Validation, and Extended Validation. Depending on what features you’re looking for, you can choose your SSL certificate. Every certificate is similar in respect to the level of encryption; the difference lies in regard to the number of domains and subdomains, certificate author issuing the certificate, and the cost.

What is the process of installing an SSL certificate?

An SSL certificate is issued by a certificate authority. You can easily add an SSL certificate with the help of your hosting provider or buy it from a reliable company. It is important to know how to efficiently install the SSL certificate. A commercial CA or the skilled admin can install SSL. The process of buying and installing SSL certificate includes:

  1. Generating a CSR (certificate signing request) with the certificate authority to issue the SSL.
  2. Once the CSR is submitted, next is to verify the domain by clicking on the link in the email.
  3. Lastly, the issued certificate is installed and the site is updated to HTTPS.

Your hosting provider will enable the website to redirect HTTP pages to the HTTPS version. You can add the SSL version of your website within Google Webmaster Tools which will update you regarding the status of your website’s security.

Is there any drawback of SSL?

The only drawback which may compel you to avoid SSL for your website is the cost. SSL certificates with enhanced security are not free and you will need to pay for them. Moreover, these are for some period after which you will need to renew your SSL certificate; otherwise, the website will no longer be secure.

The cost of these certificates varies depending on which type you choose. Although you may also find a free certificate if you want to avoid additional cost. Apart from this, SSL certificates don’t guarantee to protect your sites from hackers, it only prevents phishing attack.

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“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” ― Mark Twain