Once you’ve made your new website the best it can be, the next step is securing it. The first thing you should do? Buy an SSL certificate.
If you’ve spent time online, you’ve probably come across the term SSL before but might not have given it much thought. But the truth is, SSL is critical to every site on the Internet working as it should. Ever noticed the padlock symbol in the address bar of a site you’re visiting? That indicates the website has an SSL!
Beyond the techy stuff (which we’ll get to in the next section), major web browsers and search engines expect every site to have an SSL certificate. Browsers have even started penalizing websites that don’t have SSL. If someone tries to visit a site without SSL, the browser will send them a warning message declaring it “not secure.” As for search engines, Google has been prioritizing sites with SSL in their search engine results pages for years. So deciding not to go with an SSL gives your site an automatic loss of visitors from the get-go.
But this is all external stuff. Why is SSL good for your actual website?
How SSL works
The purpose of an SSL certificate is encryption. Once you install this digital certificate on your server, the connection to and from your site will be encrypted. But what’s encryption? It ensures that only the permitted parties can read any data sent over the encrypted connection. The most common example is someone visiting your site on a web browser.
Say you have an e-commerce store or request other sensitive information from users. If you have an SSL, users can rest assured that malicious actors won’t steal their credit card numbers or personal details. If someone does attempt to intercept it, they’ll only see scrambled, unreadable data. With SSL encryption, only the parties on each end of the connection have the keys to lock and unlock (encrypt and decrypt) data sent.
It should now be clear why SSL is important.
Having a secure website is integral to having a successful website. That means no skimping and getting an SSL as soon as possible. Beyond the benefits of encryption for both you and your users, many online tech companies from browsers and search engines now expect every site to have them. So give your site a headstart with an SSL.