Why Your Website Needs an SSL Certificate Right Now
BY Anthony Ahn
Your Website May Be Marked as Insecure and Rank Lower on Search Engines
What is an insecure website?
Last year, Google Chrome, one of the world’s leading web browsers, began marking all web sites without a Secure Socket Layers (SSL) certificate as “Not Secure.” These “insecure” websites use the antiquated http:// instead of the new standard https://. This has been a popular topic of conversation among web developers with headlines ranging from the benign “A milestone for Chrome security: marking HTTP as ‘not secure,’” to the sensational “Beware the looming Google Chrome HTTPS certificate apocalypse!” But don’t let these articles scare you.
Simply put, SSL protocol encrypts data sent from your browser before it is sent to your website’s server. Once received, it is then decrypted and processed, keeping information secure during the most vulnerable step of the transmission process. Think of it as a secret handshake between your web server and the certificate issuing authority.
With the overwhelming popularity of Chrome and many other browsers following Chrome’s lead, you can expect to see more insecure websites in the coming months.
Why should I get an SSL certificate?
- Perception – You should get an SSL certificate for the principal reason that most web users will be scared off by the “Not Secure” designation . It’s not hard to imagine what this could do for your website traffic.
- SEO – Websites not using an SSL certificate will rank lower in a Google search than those using one. Not only is Google leading the way towards universal adoption of https, they are also lowering the Google search ranking of websites not using this protocol, setting the standard for all search engines.
- Nefarious people – Aside from sounding frightening, a “Not Secure” site means that the data sent between users and the website’s server is not encrypted. This means that anyone motivated enough can see the information sent (through a form, for example) through the amalgam of servers and cables that make up the internet.
- Responsibility – If you do have a submission form on your website, it is simply safe practice to encrypt this data before it makes its way to your web servers. Compromised user data can lead to a loss of trust from the userbase you’ve worked hard to garner.
How do I know if I need an SSL certificate?
Look for the green lock in the browser URL bar when you go to your website. If you don’t see one, you need an SSL certificate.
How do I get an SSL certificate?
Web hosting companies (Host Gator, GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc.) all do things a bit differently. The best way to find out is to contact your web host and ask.
If you are getting your domain name and web hosting through the same company, they should take care of installing the certificate with all the correct information.
If you get your domain name and hosting from different companies, this process is significantly more complicated, and will likely involve you acting as the liaison between the hosting company, the domain registrar, and the certificate issuing authority. (Read: Lots of hours on the phone with tech support. )
After your certificate is installed, you will still need to change from http:// to https://, which can be done on most modern CMS installations.
The easiest option is to give us a call! Our developers deal with the minutia of purchasing and installing SSL certificates all the time and can save you the headache of coordinating with your various companies.
Once complete, you will see the shiny new lock icon in your browser, telling the world that your website is secure!
Final Thought: Get an SSL Certificate Now
More and more, we are see websites blocked by browsers or drop in search result ranking due to their “Not Secure” status. Don’t let this designation deter potential customers from doing business with you!
Luckily, you have a friend in Clark Concepts! We have been configuring SSL on websites for years across many types of installations. We can even get on the phone with your host and deal with all the nitty gritty. Contact us to get started.