What is an SSL certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is the standard technology for establishing an encrypted link between your browser and a web server. An SSL certificate is normally available from your hosting company.
Although browser security has been around for a long time in 2018 Google announced that it would start to enforce browser encryption on their Chrome browser and any website without SSL enabled would get a Not Secure message in the browser next to their URL and in Google search results.
If someone was to see a Not Secure message they may be more inclined to stop using the site due to fear the site or their PC may be compromised.
Adding an SSL certificate to your website will remove this warning message, adding an additional security layer and create customer trust.
1. Improve Google Results
As well as marking websites as “Not Secure” Google also ranks websites with a valid SSL certificate higher that those without, so this is extremely important if your competitors have already secured their websites. Anyone who has spent time and money on their websites optimization knows how important it is being on the first page of Google results.
2. Protect Against Hackers
Websites are constantly under attack from hackers attempting to obtain sensitive data or take control of your site to manipulate the content.
While ensuring your hosting company implements good security practices is important, having an SSL certificate will add an additional layer of security.
3. Create Customer Trust
Viewing website security warnings will damage your customers confidence if they are using your website without SSL, in particular if you are processing credit card transactions.
Websites without an SSL certificate could result in a decrease in sales and traffic as customers loose confidence.
4. Hiding Error Messages
Since Google and the other popular browsers such as Firefox, Safari and Edge have implemented SSL checking, visitors to a site that don’t have an SSL certificate installed will instead see a page alerting them that the connection isn’t private and secure, nobody wants to see this.
5. SSL Protects Your Data
An SSL certificate is used to protect the information being passed between a website and your browser. Once an SSL certificate is installed every bit of this information is encrypted (e.g. locked). So items like passwords, credit card numbers and so on are protected from potential hackers. SSL is also necessary for PCI and GDPR compliance if you are processing credit cards and personal data.
So to summarize the above points, we would strongly recommend every website owner whether its a personal or eCommerce website to get an SSL certificate installed. They are an inexpensive addon to your website and will only benefit your online presence.
It would be safe to assume that it wont be long before Google and others block any website completely from loading if an SSL certificate is not detected.