What Is SSL and Why Does It Matter For Website Owners?

15 July 2022
What Is SSL and Why Does It Matter  For Website Owners?

Have you visited a website and noticed the words “Not secure” in the address bar? Take heed! Those words are meant to alert visitors. 

It’s no longer a secret that the internet has as many dangers as there are safe and helpful things. As a business owner, it’s essential to take all necessary steps to make your website visitors feel secure when browsing your platform.

A straightforward way to protect them is by allowing SSL to run on your website. What does SSL mean, and what makes it so important?

What Is An SSL Certificate?

It means  Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a security protocol that lets your website create encrypted links between the platform and the web browser.

It has been helping secure websites for over two decades already. Throughout this time, new and better versions of SSL have been introduced, each solving an issue of its predecessor. We use TSL or Transport Security Layer today, but people still use SSL as it’s what they’ve been used to.

It can be hard to understand SSL, especially for those without heavy coding knowledge. But here’s a brief description of how it works.

SSL prevents criminals and hacking software from reading or modifying the code processed between your website and your web visitors. This does so by encrypting the code, so it takes a lot more effort and time to get to the data.

For instance, say you’re making a transaction with a website online. Thanks to SSL, your details such as your credit card information, personal identification info, addresses, and others will be secured.

How to Check a Website’s Security

Websites that have SSL get a certificate to prove as such. Head on to any browser and go to an esteemed website like YouTube. You’ll see a padlock icon on the address bar’s right side. This confirms that SSL protects the website.

SLL Protect

What’s better is that you can get more details about the website by tapping the lock icon.

Among others, you can get details such as:

  • Certificate Authority that issued the certificate
  • The date of certification and its expiry
  • The public key
  • Associated subdomains of the website

On the other hand, web visitors are warned if the website they are about to visit doesn’t have an SSL certificate. It should look like this:

SSL Certificate

Another way to check if a website has SSL protection is to check the address again.

A website secured by an SSL certificate will have the acronym HTTPS, which means HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. A website without an SSL certificate will only have HTTP.

Why It Matters For Your Website

It is estimated that around 2,200 cyber attacks occur each day. Hackers have become more active since the start of the pandemic simply because online shopping has become the norm.

E-Commerce websites and other types of websites are rich with personal information. Aside from bank details, did you know that hackers also steal personal information that they then sell off on the black market?

People are well aware of these crucial facts. As such, they’re more inclined to browse through websites with better security. An SSL certification is a quick way of checking whether the information they share online is safe.

The warnings people get upon visiting a website without SSL certification are red flags. a big red flag. Visitors could entirely avoid your website upon seeing the warning web browsers provide.

You’re already losing sales, click-throughs, and more even before people browse your website. Of course, the most concerning repercussion is the lost trust between your brand and your web visitors.

It’s also worth noting that Google penalizes websites with poor security. This means that without an SSL certificate, your website will also suffer when it comes to SEO rankings.

You as the website owner face further risk. If the loss of valuable customers and poorer search engine rankings isn’t bad enough, think about all of your data on the website. These could be lost if your information isn’t encrypted.

How to Enable SSL

Enabling SSL on your website isn’t as simple as tapping on a few menus. The best way to contact your web host and request the certification directly.

In most cases, only dedicated web hosting companies offer SSL certifications. However, platforms like GoDaddy also provide security options on their shared hosting package.

Additionally, some web hosts provide free SSL certifications as long as you sign up for them.

Those are:

  • SiteGround
  • A2 Hosting
  • WP Engine
  • Host Gator
  • BlueHost
  • Cloudways

Keep in mind that SSL certifications do expire. When that happens, you you’re going to need to renew it.

SSL security doesn’t come cheap but if you are serious about securing your website, you have to shell out. According to estimates, the prices vary greatly but range from $60 per year to $1,000. It might seem expensive initially, however, if you consider the protection it gives, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Make Your Website Trustworthy

According to a Saleforce report, nearly a third of customers believed trustworthiness in companies mattered more than a year ago. Also 54% say that more than ever, it’s harder for a company to earn customer trust.

These insights bring home the point about an SSL certificate – it isn’t just any type of certificate. It’s a great way to show visitors that your site is trustworthy and that you take great efforts to ensure that their data is safe with you. So wear your certificate like an integrity badge of your website and be proud of it.