Why buy an SSL certificate?

Our in-house web team really love all things digital. Here, one of our web developers, Chris Poole, talks about the importance of SSL certificates, and how they can help visitors to your site feel more secure.

What is an SSL certificate?

In the simplest terms an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a series of small certificate files installed on your web hosting. Once set up it allows your web server to encrypt the data transmitted between the user’s browser and the website hosting. This secures the information you are sending to the server such as credit card details and other personal data, ensuring it cannot be used by a potential hacker.

Developer at a computer

How to know if the site you are on is secure

You’ve probably seen it, the little green padlock in the browser address bar. That is how you know if a site is securing the data you are transmitting to it. There are varying levels of SSL, some will put your organisation’s name in the address bar. But for the most part, so long as you see the padlock, you are safe.

Chrome search bar

Why buy an SSL certificate?

There is still a common belief between many internet users that you only need an SSL certificate on your website if you are selling something. This is not true. While an SSL certificate is essential for any eCommerce site when payments are being taken, it is always a good idea to have one regardless. Here’s a few reasons why:

Provides trust between user and your business

  • It makes people feel safe when using the site and creates a sense of trust, that you are a legitimate website and the data you are giving them is safe.
  • The same should be said when sending any of your personal information. For example, when using a contact form and filling out your name, address and email, in fact, filling out a survey of any kind. I bet there are many people out there that are more likely to trust your site and fill out the contact form or survey if they saw a secure padlock in their browser. This goes back to building trust. Survey Monkey use it to secure its users’ form data. It secures the data that people have filled in so it is secured when it is sent to Survey Monkey and not intercepted and stolen.

Entering card details at computer Internet infographic

It will make Google happy

Believe it or not an SSL certificate can help your search engine ranking. Google itself has been pushing for the whole web to go secure for a long time. Google has admitted that it uses SSL as a ranking factor. While it may only be a minor ranking, it is still well worth another plus when considering whether to get an SSL.

Google’s own web browser, Chrome, is also starting to indicate when any web page is secured or not. You will start seeing it more and more. As of July 2018 Chrome will mark any page that does not use an SSL as not secure in the address bar.

Chrome's treatment of HTTP pages

Chrome is used by a staggering 57% of internet users so it is well worth following its plans.

SSL certificates certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. Providing peace of mind to potential customers should be step one when it comes to your website. If you need any help securing your site, get in touch to see how we could help you.