SSL Encryption – Does Your Website Need it?

A few years ago SSL encryption was only really seen on ecommerce sites as well as some blue-chip companies. Wind forward to 2018 and it seems we all need to be encrypted with an SSL certificate.

So, what is SSL?

Well firstly it stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Does that help? Probably not, but in essence what it does is establish an encrypted link between your web server and your visitor’s browser. This allows for data to be passed from your visitor, to your website securely and privately. It’s why ecommerce websites have used them for years (passing over their personal details and their credit card details). Websites with SSL certificates start with https:// as opposed to the basic http:// .

So why do we all need an SSL certificate with our websites?

The Internet as you’re probably aware is not always a friendly place. If you were using the contact us form on someone’s site, and that site wasn’t secure (so was just http:// not https://) then anyone else could snoop on the data being passed between the browser and the website. That means they could fairly easily get access to what you’ve put in the contact form. This information might be private and personal.

Google announced last year (2017) that it was going to start identifying all websites that were not secure and have a text input field on the website. So that’s any website with a contact form (even if it’s really basic), a search form or any kind of input where you type something into a text box / field.

This was going to start happening on Google’s Chrome, but most of the big browsers have all got on board stating that a website is ‘Not Secure’ if you click on to a website without SSL. Mozilla for example shows an ‘i’ for information next to the address in the address bar, which if you click, it clearly tells you the site is insecure. If you do have SSL on your website, then it rewards you with a bright green padlock next to your address. Google’s Chrome also rewards you with a padlock icon and the word ‘Secure’ next to it too.

How much is an SSL Certificate?

Well you can pay anything from a FREE certificate (yes free!), to around £300/year. The more expensive SSL Certificates are individual to you and offer more validation than what the cheaper ones offer. However, they all offer the same level of encryption – so Google will consider your site to be secure if you use the free SSL Certificate, from someone like Let’s Encrypt.

So, unless you feel you need an expensive certificate, a free SSL certificate will satisfy Google and will encrypt the data being transferred between your user’s browser and your website.

At Pink Fin we can offer the installation and setup of a free SSL certificate at a very competitive price, especially if your website is a WordPress website!

For more information, please get in touch!

 

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