June 2019

Does your website need an SSL Certificate?

3 minutes

Does your website need an SSL Certificate?

Quick answer, yes! Every website should have a valid SSL Certificate. Google announced they penalise sites that don’t have a valid certificate and dropping them down SEO rankings. Making your website harder for people to find and your competitors easier to find.

What is SSL?

An SSL Certificate is proof of ownership. Once a website has a SSL Certificate installed it shows who owns the site, and then allows that site to send data securely in the form of HTTPS. HTTPS traffic is encrypted making it a lot safer to send information across the web, especially when dealing with private information such as bank details.

To see if a site you’re visiting has a SSL Certificate there should be a green padlock to the left of the address bar and the URL should start with HTTPS.

What are the effects of not having a certificate?

Ever been on a website and had the error message “Your connection is not secure”. All of us have. This doesn’t always mean that the site you’re visiting is unsecure and going to steal your information. A lot of the time this is just down to the fact the certificate has expired and they haven’t renewed it or they didn’t have one to begin with.

In the past, this wasn’t such a big deal but all of that is about to change. Many of the top technology companies in the world are pushing for every website in the public domain to communicate via HTTPS. So much so that soon Google will start to shame sites that don’t have a SSL certificate by explicitly saying the site is not secure.

This may not seem like such a huge deal, but consider this. You’re about to purchase a product online and have entered your bank details and home address or you’ve signed up to a site using the same password you have used 90% of the time. Then you see a large red  “NOT SECURE” text in your address bar, how likely are you now to type that sensitive information in to their site?

Good news though, as of January 2017 over 50% of web traffic using Firefox as a web browser uses HTTPS. https://letsencrypt.org/stats/

How do you get a SSL Certificate?

This may all sound very confusing and complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. Many hosting solutions will offer SSL Certificates as Add On’s and you can get one in a few clicks. The prices can vary depending on your hosting provider and the size of your website.

If your hosting provider doesn’t offer SSL certificates or the price seems a little steep, you can also acquire a certificate from Let’s Encrypt. They offer free, automated and open certificates. Let’s Encrypt have some big hitting sponsors including, Mozilla, Google, Cisco, Facebook and Squarespace, just to name a few. Using Let’s Encrypt does require a bit more setting up than getting your certificate through your hosting provider, but they do have extremely well documented tutorials to help you through the process. Alternatively, please get in touch with NU Creative if you would like help protecting your site with SSL.

Sam Roberts is a Digital Designer at NU Creative, specialists in digital design.

NU Creative have been supporting companies like HIREWORKS, CHaL and Gerald Edelman with their digital design projects. We are passionate about creating truly stand out digital solutions for our clients. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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