Do I need an SSL Certificate?

Website Security & Ranking
December 21, 2018
| Written by Cédric Bédard
Do I need an SSL Certificate

If the success of your business and the confidentiality of your clients is important, then the simple answer is yes. If you are already a website owner, you may have heard of the term "SSL certificate" through your hosting company. When I discuss website security with my clients, I find that many people are misinformed about the subject. I hear that certificates are only needed for selling items on the Web or that they are just for the big websites. Here are the main reasons for considering whether or not to add a TLS/SSL certificate to your website, so you can make an informed decision for your business.

HTTP vs HTTPS

When you visit a website, you can see at the top of your browser that some websites have a URL starting with “http” and others with “https” (e.g. https://webseco.com). The function of HTTP, or the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, is to facilitate the communication between you and the website server to which you are trying to connect. So, when you use your browser to find a website, you are requesting a transfer of certain files to your computer. HTTP tells the server that you’re looking for a website with HTML files, images and such; it specifies what you need, so the server can respond accordingly. HTTPS means Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, so it’s the same function but with a lot more security. Most browsers will add a green lock icon to alert your visitors that your website is secure and trustworthy.

HTTP vs HTTPS - SSL Certificate

SECURITY & ENCRYPTION

Your potential clients will evaluate the security of your website before sharing their personal information with you. The way you respect their confidentiality can make the difference between a lead and a lost. A TLS/SSL certificate will allow your Web server to encrypt the communication between your clients and your website. In other words, when a website has a certificate, this creates the means for protecting the information it sends and receives over the Internet. When we surf the Web, we are often asked to share a lot of personal information and even our credit card information. So to protect our identities and our accounts from theft, it’s really important to trust the websites we visit.

BUYING & SELLING ONLINE

Knowing the basics of website security is essential not only for a business owner but for all website users. We need to know that we can trust a website before sharing important information. We need to be sure that the business we are dealing with will protect us. A simple HTTP connection is extremely vulnerable to attacks because hackers can access your sensitive information while it is being transferred to the server. On the other hand, an HTTPS connection is designed to withstand such an attack. Every time I make a purchase online, I check the website URL to be sure it starts with HTTPS. If you have a business selling online without a TLS/SSL certificate, you put your customers at risk and open your business up to potential liability lawsuits.

SSL Certificate SEO

VISITORS & SEO BOOST

A certificate will not only secure your business, it will also improve your website's visibility on Google. To get an SSL certificate, you need to verify your ownership of the domain and website. It becomes a factor of trust and distinguishes it from phishing or impostor sites. Google wrote "...we're starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal ... we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web." Furthermore, you can read on Wikipedia that the most successful websites already have a certificate “… 33.2% of Alexa top 1,000,000 websites use HTTPS … 57.1% of the Internet's 137,971 most popular websites have … HTTPS, and 70% of page loads … use HTTPS.”

TO CONCLUDE

As a website visitor myself, I greatly value my privacy. I only share my personal information with businesses that protect me and respect my confidentiality. As a result, it was an easy choice for me to add a certificate for my website. So the real question is, now that you know more about TLS/SSL certificates, do you value security as much as your clients do? Please visit our Web development page to learn more about our website services. And learn more about our SEO services here. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Photo credits by Pexels

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