Soon, important changes are coming to web browsers in terms of how they deal with websites loaded over HTTP, or websites without an SSL certificate. This is leaving many website owners wondering, “Do I need an SSL certificate for my website?”
An SSL certificate encrypts data a user inputs into your websites so that it can securely travel from their browser to your web server. Credit cards and social security numbers are two of the most notable types of sensitive data that need an SSL certificate. Google has taken the stance that ALL data submitted on your website should be secured with an SSL. You can easily find whether your website has an SSL certificate by whether the URL of the site starts with HTTP or HTTPS. If it’s loaded in your browser with HTTPS at the start, then you have an SSL on your website.
Over the course of the last couple years, the web has slowly inched closer to a fully encrypted browsing experience with an SSL. According to Mozilla, over half of websites on the web utilize an SSL certificate to encrypt their traffic. If you use Google Chrome as your browser, you’ve probably noticed the “Not Secure” label in the location bar.
This notice began appearing last fall when attempting to log into a site with an insecure login page. Beginning in October, Google will be applying this label to any page served over HTTP or a website without an SSL certificate.
Firefox has taken a slightly different approach and has highlighted the password box with a special note about insecure forms.
If your website doesn’t collect sensitive data, like credit cards or social security numbers, you may not have needed an SSL certificate in the past. However, with the new browser notices, it’s now important to ensure every website has an SSL certificate and is loaded via HTTPS.
Why Should I Put an SSL Certificate On My Website?
1. SSL Certificates Secure the Transfer of Data
It’s important to secure data that’s submitted to your web server from your users – especially if that data is sensitive in nature. Whether a user on your website is submitting a contact form, login form, or credit card information, it’s vital to keep their data safe with an SSL certificate.
2. An SSL Certificate has SEO Benefits
Google’s search algorithm gives websites a boost to your site in their search rankings when your website has an SSL certificate. It might not be noticeable, but it’s one of the many factors Google takes into consideration when calculating where in search results your website should land.
3. SSL Certificates Earn Your Users’ Trust
When a user sees an SSL certificate, they can have confidence that their data is secure when it makes it’s way to your web server. An SSL certificate adds credibility and confidence to your website.
How do I add an SSL certificate to my website?
Many hosting providers can add an SSL certificate with relative ease. It often requires a server administrator to initiate the SSL provisioning process, or an admin can manually install an SSL using a 3rd party issuer – like GoDaddy or Network Solutions. Once the SSL certificate is installed, your hosting provider should implement a redirect so that any HTTP pages are automatically redirected to the HTTPS version. Your website developer will need to review any assets, including images, CSS and fonts that are loaded, to ensure all assets are loaded with secure URLs. Lastly, Google encourages you to add the SSL version of your website as a property within Google Webmaster Tools. Webmaster Tools helps provide basic information regarding the status of your website’s security.
My Website Isn’t Secure. What Should I Do Next?
Wondering, “Do I need an SSL certificate for my website?” The answer is yes! Your hosting provider is able to help with this. If Web Ascender hosts your website and it does not have an SSL certificate on it already, fill out the discovery call form below to get in touch with us about getting one added to your site.