What is an SSL and do you need one?

You have all seen sites with SSL certificates, you know the little green padlock on the lefthand side of a websites URL like on this website you are reading now. In this article, we will cover the basics of what is an SSL certificate and why you need one on your website NOW!

Starting at the beginning; SSL stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’ and it secures website data or information being transferred or entered between two points, basically your computer and the server (website) you are connecting to. There are a number of different versions of SSL certificates with different levels of cover depending on what you need them for. from a basic SSL that would just show a green padlock in the browser URL, to higher level SSL certificates that will have the name of the company in green along with the padlock symbol, you would find this kind of thing if you use online banking etc, and is a helpful re-assurance that you are on the correct site and not a scam site.

So whats the point of an SSL anyway!?

Well if you take any information through your website, even if it is a simple ‘contact us’ page, an SSL will encrypt the information the person is entering so that any spying eyes can’t see the information that is being entered or sent. Information on the internet can often pass through more than one server, the more servers the information passes through, the more chances of security being an issue. An SSL certificate will add random characters in amongst the information being sent, making it near impossible to read without the correct encryption key.

If you run an online store, or you take payments across the internet then you need an SSL in order to meet payment card industry compliance and make sure it’s at least 128-bit!


Google Likes SSL

Google is trying to force everyone to have SSL certificates on their website, and now this is also a ranking factor too. Since October 1st, 2017 websites without SSL certificates will be marked as unsafe by the Search gods. This could negatively affect your website’s ranking and anyone using chrome or firefox will have seen that any websites that don’t have SSL certificates will display a warning next to the URL stating that this website is not secure. But don’t think ‘I don’t have to worry about it, I use xyz browser) Chrome is now the main browser that people use, so just because you may not use chrome, most of your visitors do, and they will see the security warning against your domain name.

Having an SSL certificate on your website also builds trust with visitors to your site, and if your competition doesn’t have an SSL and you do, who do you think looks better and more professional?



Yes that word that you have heard more and more over the past few months, GDPR is here to ensure that peoples information is secure and safe, and with SSL certificates on a website encrypting information added and passed  through your website helps to ensure that the possible personal and identifiable information that people are submitting is encrypted and safe from prying eyes.


On Reflection…
Hopefully, this article has helped to explain in easy to understand term what is an SSL certificate and why you should have one on your website, even if you don’t sell anything.
If you don’t have one, get one A.S.A.P.