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What An SSL Certificate Is And Why Your Website Needs One

28 June 2018
Liam Saunders

SSL CertificateGoogle’s impending change to how it marks websites that are served without an SSL certificate from July 2018 in its Chrome browser has brought SSL certificates to the attention of business owners.

From July, users of the Google Chrome browser will be shown a ‘not secure’ warning when visiting a website that does not have an SSL certificate and is not served over a secure (https) connection. This change has significant implications for websites. In our article we outline what an SSL certificate is and explain why you need one for your website.

What Is An SSL Certificate?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a guarantee from a trusted authority that a website is a secure place to share information or make an online purchase. In the past, SSL certificates were mostly used by online shops to prove to potential customers that a website was a secure place to use their card details. Recently, they have become more cost effective and thus widely adopted by a diverse range of businesses.

Installing an SSL certificate on your website and routing your website traffic through a https connection will provide a secure channel between a device used to access your website and the server that the website is stored on. This secure channel allows your customers to securely exchange information with you without fearing that their data can be intercepted by an unauthorised third party.

Why Do You Need An SSL Certificate For Your Website?

1) To Gain The Trust Of Potential Customers

In a post-GDPR world, potential customers are well informed about the value of their personal data and the reasonable steps that businesses should be taking to secure their data. Adding an SSL certificate is only one of these steps, but it is nevertheless an important and highly visible one.

If you install an SSL certificate on your website you are demonstrating to potential customers that you value their personal data and have taken steps to secure it. This is likely to encourage customers to complete valuable actions on your website, whether that is completing your contact form or subscribing to your email newsletter. Any security concerns that they may have are likely to be allayed by the presence of the security padlock; this will help you to gain the trust of potential customers so you can make that all-important sale.

2) To Benefit From An SEO Boost

Google has clearly stated that they have a preference for secure websites. They are eager to facilitate the adoption of https and the move towards a secure internet.

From as early as 2014, HTTPS has been a light-ranking signal for Google search. Websites that migrate to HTTPS often notice a significant boost in their Google rankings. The respected digital marketing authority Moz reported in 2017 that 50% of Google’s page one results are now delivered through HTTPS. The number of HTTPS page one results is likely to increase further, especially in light of Google’s planned change for July.

Adopting HTTPS is a relatively easy way to improve your website’s Google rankings. By not adopting HTTPS you could be preventing your website from gaining further traffic and potential customers.

3) To Protect Your Website

Websites that do not have an SSL certificate are at an increased risk of a security breach. If your website has a password protected area or uses a CMS such as WordPress, it is vulnerable to a password attack and unauthorised access.

An SSL certificate will secure pages on your website that collect login information to keep your passwords private and prevent unauthorised access.

The consequences of unauthorised access to your website can be significant and result in the loss of pages on your website and potentially the loss of your entire website. If a hacker gains access to your website they may also be able to install a virus or malware that is harmful to your website visitors.

4) To Prevent A Not Secure Warning From Appearing

If you have not secured your website with an SSL certificate and migrated to https, your visitors will soon see a warning in their web browser that your website is not secure.

In many cases this warning may result in a potential customer deciding that the risk of visiting your non-secure website is not worth taking, resulting in lost website traffic and potential sales.

Is Your Website Secure?

VIP IT can check if your business website is secure and help you install an SSL certificate on your website. We have installed a range of different SSL certificates on websites.

As SEO experts, we are able to confidently manage every stage of your migration to a secure website from installing the SSL certificate and changing your website links (to prevent content being served via a http connection and breaking your secure connection) to taking the necessary steps to inform Google that you have migrated to a secure website. Our proven SSL migration process is compliant with industry best practice and will help you to gain the best possible SEO benefit from migrating.

If you would like to find out more about our website SSL migration service or book your SSL migration with us, contact us today.

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