Now that you know about keeping your site safe and secure from hackers, let’s discuss what is SSL encryption? What’s it for, and why do you need it installed on your blog or website? I’ll be straight up with you. I had some vague idea about it, and I have it, but I didn’t really have a full understanding of it and I’ve been blogging for 15 years! So don’t feel bad if you didn’t know what is SSL – I think lots of folks don’t understand it.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about What is SSL and Were Afraid to Ask!
Secure socket layer or SSL encryption is a type of website security that protects customer names, phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers and other sensitive data. It’s very important if you deal with anything related to customer data (even names and Emails) or if you want your customer to feel as if you treat communication with them as important. It’s also becoming important for SEO now that Google is using it for ranking purposes.
SSL Encryption is Usually FREE
This is a big bonus. When I first started my lifestyle site, I had to PAY for an SSL certificate and then had to pay someone to install it for me. I’m trying to remember how much it was, but it was at least $100 and I think $75-$100 to install it and it took like a WEEK. But when I switched to Siteground, it was FREE and took me all of 10 minutes to install by myself. I think most hosts now provide it for free and if they don’t, you should ask some questions… Or maybe just SWITCH to Siteground and use my code https://www.siteground.com/go/helpfornewbloggers – please and thank you!
Check out my post on why Siteground is my boyfriend! I seriously use them for all four of my sites!
SSL Improves Your SEO Ranking
If Google says you to have something, you should pay attention. That means they’ve determined that they’re going to rank your site better if you have SSL encryption installed. Even if you don’t deal with that much or any customer data because your site is for informational purposes, it will still improve your site’s search engine results.
If Google says you to have something, you should pay ATTENTION!
What Exactly Is the Difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
In case you don’t know, HTTP stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.” It’s simply the protocol that’s used which allows you to communicate with other websites. The acronym HTTPS stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.” This means that an SSL certificate has been installed.
Sites that use the “HTTPS” acronym are encrypted. When accessing or transferring information by “HTTPS”, the only parties which can access the information are the client and the end server. So you can see how this improves your website security.
The two most common types of encryption layers are TSL (Transport Layer Security) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This technology is referred to as a sort of digital trust to make consumers feel safer when exchanging their personal information. In order to use this type of encryption layer, a server must have a public key certificate which is verified by a third party. Your host should be able to provide this.
SSL Helps Consumers Feel Safe
When your site is secure and they know it’s secure, they’re going to be much more likely to make a purchase on your site than if you didn’t have it. Customers are becoming savvier, so it’s important that you upgrade your site to have an SSL Certificate. Every once in a while I will hop onto someone’s site and get a scary red flag warning. You DO NOT WANT THIS to happen. No sane person will go to a site with this warning and SSL will usually prevent you from having a scary warning.
SSL encrypts so that only those who are supposed to get the information can read it. It specifically encodes private information so that other people can’t access and get that information and use it criminally.
Your SSL Encryption Ensures Credit Card Compliance
You can’t take credit cards via authorize.net unless you have your own SSL. You can use PayPal and Stripe without it, but as you get more business you’ll likely want to have your own authorize.net account so that you can give your customers more options. When you get an SSL, it gives a layer of authentication. Customers can view the documents to validate that you are who you say you are. This gives them reassurance, especially if they are buying something.
It’s Going to Be a Government Requirement Soon
There are many rumors about the potential for this to be a rule for any website that collects any sort of user data and asks for payment for anything. You might as well set it up now or with any new sites you build to ensure that it works well.
Protects Against Phishing
What phishers do for a living (yes, they actually make money at this) is they find a way to trick customers into going to a fake site where they get the users’ information and use it illegally. Sometimes they trick users with pretending shipping info or other ways to get the information, and you can protect them with this simple addition. They can also clone your website and install their own credit card insert, creating a huge headache for you. That would totally suck, wouldn’t it?
Will Improve Your Brand Image
One thing is for sure; having SLL certificates can make your site look a step above sites without it. SSL means you’re legit, and are planning on running a business like a pro. This is especially true if you can get a site seal that shows you have trusted security on your website. I know I sometimes get onto someone’s site and I don’t see the HTTPS or the “lock” icon and I honestly think they are less than professional. Same thing if you have a Yahoo or AOL Email address – it just screams amateur!
How to Know Which Sites You Can Trust
The internet is a big place and for every trustworthy site out there, there’s ten more that aren’t so trustworthy. When making purchases or giving up personal information it’s always a good idea to look out for the “HTTPS” and the lock symbol. If it doesn’t have that acronym in the web address you probably shouldn’t be providing any personal information to that site.
It’s also worth taking a few minutes to research the reputation of the websites you’re using. If the site is a company or brand you’re unfamiliar with, look them up to make sure that they’re safe – because in the end a few extra minutes of research could save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Just remember, when using the internet be sure to keep your eye out for two key things: the “HTTPS” and some sort of certificate such as TSL or SSL. There are a lot of people out there on the internet with bad intentions but by taking a few minutes to read this, you’ve taken a big step in the right direction especially as you now know the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. Always remember to educate yourself so that you can protect yourself, and keep your eyes open and follow your gut, it’s amazing how often it is right.