What is an SSL Certificate and do you need it

Running a website can be tricky and things change almost month by month. The “new” thing now is that everybody should have an SSL Certificate. So what is this cryptic little thing that makes Chrome show that all important little locket next to your web address?

Want less hassle and more value? You could let us sort things like this out for you by getting one of our website plans. 

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate are small data files. It creates a secure link between a website and the visitor’s browser. Think of it like sealing a letter before you send it in the mail. You seal it and the recipient opens it. No one can read it on its way from you to them.

You have probably also seen that website addresses have changed from http > https. A website that starts with https have a registered SSL certificate.

Why was it created?

SSL certificates are not a new thing. It was created in 1994 by Netscape. They had concerns regarding the general security on the world wide web.

The Certificate has some really good things about it. It provides you with proof that the provider is who they claim to be. It’s a badge of trust and will protect the consumer. It also helps secure information like:

  • Login credentials
  • Identifiable information like full name, address, date of birth, phone number
  • Legal documents and contract
  • Credit card transactions
  • Bank account information
  • Medical records

So do your website need it?

I theory, if you don’t collect any information like the items listed about, no you do not have to have an SSL Certificate. But there is a big BUT here. Google chrome has said they will start to premier websites that take security importantly. This means that your Search engine optimisation might suffer without one. Might is probably an understatement. Google is giving lightweight signals for HTTPS websites.

They have even started to promote this with their new search bar. If you go to a website without an SSL certificate, Chrome will brand this site as “not secure”. It does not mean that your site does not function properly, but it is scary for people to see this. And we all know it’s hard enough as it is to get potential customers to trust you. Why scream “not secure” towards them when they visit your website.

So who do you get one?

The easiest way would obviously be to get one of our hosting plans. They all provide a complimentary SSL certificate. If you are well happy with the hosting provider you have now, send them an email and ask what they can do. Some provide have it included in the hosting price, while others might charge you a monthly or yearly fee.

Here are some SSL providers if you want to have a go at it yourself:

Entrust Datacard
GeoTrust
RapidSSL

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