What is an SSL Certificate and Why Does Your Site Need One?

Avi

Avi · 04th May 2020·Website Security

What is an SSL Certificate and Why Does Your Site Need One?

When running a website there are a lot of things you need to do in order to protect your own data and the data of your visitors. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure you have an SSL certificate installed and active on your site. Don’t worry, it isn’t difficult at all. In fact, customers of Verpex will have an SSL certificate available free of charge If you don’t have experience with SSL certificates, make sure you take a few minutes to read more about what an SSL certificate is, and why it is important.

What is an SSL Connection?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it is used to establish a safe connection between two points. For websites, that secured connection is between your web hosting server and the browser of the visitor to the site. The connection is kept safe by encrypting the data that is passed between these two points. Since the data is encrypted, nobody can intercept the data and know what it says. This is important for a number of important reasons, such as:

· Personal Information – If someone has to enter their personal information onto your website, you are responsible for keeping it safe. This starts by encrypting this information when it is sent to you.

· Financial Information – For websites where the visitor is going to buy something, you need to make sure their credit card and other financial information can’t be intercepted by hackers.

· Browsing Habits – Many people don’t want their browsing habits to be tracked. By encrypting their data, it will be much more difficult for some bad actors to gather this data.

Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS

The easiest way to tell if a website has an active SSL certificate installed is by visiting the site and looking at the full URL. If the URL starts with “HTTPS” it is secured, if it just says “HTTP” then it does not have an active SSL certificate. The “S” in this case stands for secured. You can always connect to your own website from a personal browser to test and see which one you get. Running this type of test is also a great way to watch for problems or SSL errors. If you do get any type of error, it is relatively easy to look up what is an SSL error to begin troubleshooting. Doing this proactively will help you to protect your visitors.

Why is an SSL Certificate Important?

The main reason why it is so important to have an SSL certificate in place is for the protection of the data of your visitors. That is not, however, the only reason why someone who runs a website will want to have this type of protection in place. Some other advantages SSL certificates provide include:

· Prove Legitimacy – If a competitor or some bad actor tries to make a fake version of your website, they aren’t likely to have an SSL certificate. When visitors see that your site is secured, they can be confident that they are working with the authentic version.

· Comply with PCI Standards – The PCI compliance requirements state that a website should have an SSL certificate. For some types of websites, remaining in compliance with PCI standards is extremely important.

· Improve Brand Reputation – Privacy and security conscious visitors to a website are very careful to check to ensure a site has a SSL certificate before they browse. If your site doesn’t have one in place, you will be losing out on this type of traffic.

· Help with SEO – Google and the other search engines have stated that they rank secured websites higher than those that don’t offer the protection of an SSL certificate.

Installing an SSL Certificate

SSL certificates are certainly a complex technology, and it can be confusing for those who don’t keep up on security technologies. Fortunately, this is something every website owner can use without having to have significant knowledge of the technology behind it. Here at Verpex, we offer SSL certificates to all of our customers. They can be enabled on any website on our hosting servers with just a click. If you check your website and see that you aren’t using one, don’t hesitate to reach out to our technical support team to enable.