Having an SSL Certificate on your website will allow your website to use the secure HTTPS protocol.
This secure protocol will place a green padlock in your address bar which signifies the connection between your website and the users computer is secure.
So what is the padlock for?
Most people don’t know the ins and outs of what it really means, but know to look for it when entering any sensitive information into the website. It gives users peace of mind that the information they enter will be safe.
So how do you go about getting this magic padlock on your website? You need to have a secure HTTPS website, which means getting an SSL certificate.
I can already see you thinking to yourself that you have no idea what that means, but don’t worry, this blog will explain the basics and benefits of making your website secure.
What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
HTTP is traditionally the normal bog standard connection which is used on most websites. Before the “www” in a web address there is also a “http://“. It stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol”, but this isn’t important.
What is important to know is that a http connection sends and receives data in plain text, which means people with the right tools are able to gain access to this data. And when this data contains your customers personal information and credit card details, you definitely want to make sure its secure.
HTTPS is “HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure”. What is different about HTTPS is that the data sent and received is encrypted, meaning that only people with the key to decipher it can read it. A website on an HTTPS connection will have the padlock on the address bar, and the address will start with “https://“.
How do I get an HTTPS website?
To get your website set up to use HTTPS you need a web server that supports SSL encryption. If you aren’t sure about these, check with your website hosting provider or website admin.
You will also need an SSL certificate, which you have to purchase, and for which you have a few options to choose from. These all offer that extra security, but vary slightly in other ways.
Company Validated Certificate
To obtain this certificate you have to provide documentation to verify your company’s identity. This is great for users as they can be sure they are visiting your official website rather than an imposter.
Extended Validation Certificate
This certificate does everything the Company Validated Certificate does, but also adds another layer of security designed to prevent fraud. Websites using this connection will also get a green address bar which reassures visitors they are on a verified website that is completely secure. You may wish to consider using this if you are dealing with very sensitive information.
A wildcard certificate allows you to use SSL encryption on unlimited subdomains using a single certificate. This is useful if there are multiple areas of your website that need to be secured, but you don’t want to purchase multiple certificates.
HTTPS as a ranking signal for SEO
Another good reason for using an HTTPS is that Google will give you are small boost to where your site appears in search engine results.
Security is a top priority for Google and would eventually like all sites to be secure, hence the little boost.