An SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer), also called a Digital Certificate, creates a secure link between a website and a visitor’s browser. By ensuring that all data passed between the two remains private and secure, SSL encryption prevents hackers from stealing private information such as credit card numbers, names and addresses (info compliments of Network Solutions).
Once primarily used only by E-commerce sites to protect credit card information, popular web browser likes Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox are making strong pushes to flag ANY and ALL websites as not secure if they are unencrypted (i.e., it does not have an SSL certificate).
What does that mean for your site?
While an SSL is not an immediate requirement for websites that don’t collect or transmit secure data, it is our opinion that its time to get this done. The added comfort of your visitors knowing the site is secure along with avoiding the unsecure warning message makes this simple update seriously worth considering. Additionally, there is some evidence to show that Google may rank sites with an SSL certificate higher… although this may not be a real big component of their algorithm. Long story short, if you don’t have one, now may be a great time to implement and stay ahead of the curve.
How can i tell if my site has one already?
Pretty simple, in your browser address window you will likely see a “secure” lock symbol if a site is encrypted. Additionally, take note whether the address starts with https:// (meaning it is secure) or whether it is http:// (not encrypted)
What is involved to get an SSL certificate?
With the trend shifting to have all sites encrypted, it is getting cheaper and easier all the time to implement an encrypted site. What used to potentially cost hundred of dollars a year for an SSL certificate, can now be acquired for free with services like Let’s Encrypt (https://letsencrypt.org/).
Ultimately, the time and cost to implement an SSL cert into your site depends on a few factors, such as the type and age of your site and your hosting company. As an example, sites with wpengine.com (our Personify web host), it may take as little as 15-30 minutes to activate an SSL certificate. For most modern websites, there aren’t too many scenarios that would require more than a few hours to implement and test.
Additional articles for reference: