When browsing the web, you may have noticed that some websites have https:// before their address instead of http://. The ‘s’ denotes that the connection is secure. On a secure website, data being transferred between the user’s computer and the server the website is on is encrypted. To ensure your website is secure, you will need what is known as an SSL certificate.
What does SSL and HTTPS stand for?
SSL stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’ and HTTPS for ‘HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure’. Having an SSL certificate is what changes HTTP to HTTPS. The latest version of SSL is known as TLS ‘Transport Layer Security’, but the acronym SSL is still widely used.
Why does having an SSL certificate matter?
When a user submits information by completing a form or making a purchase, data is sent from the user’s machine to the website server. Without SSL, this is unsecure. Hackers can intercept this data and steal whatever is being transferred across. That could be anything from names and addresses to credit cards and bank details. Essentially, without an SSL certificate, your users’ data is at risk.
Because of this, Google made the decision to penalise websites without an SSL certificate. Unsecure websites will appear lower down in Google Search and warnings will be displayed telling your users that the site is unsecure. Therefore, not only are you putting your users’ data in danger, you are also losing out on potential business as your competitors with SSL certificates will appear higher in search engines.
How does an SSL certificate work?
In just milliseconds, a user’s computer and the server your website is stored on completes a process known as an ‘SSL handshake’.
- User tries to access the website.
- The server the website is stored on responds and identifies itself and it sends the user’s browser a copy of its SSL certificate.
- The user’s browser now checks if it trusts the validity of the SSL certificate, if so, it lets the server know.
- Once this handshake is complete, data sent across the network is securely encrypted.
How to tell if a website is secured by SSL?
It’s simple to see if a website is secured by SSL. In the browser bar you will see a padlock next to the web address every time a website is secure.
You can get more information on the certificate by clicking the padlock.
How can I get my website secure?
There are several different kinds of SSL certificate. Get in touch with our team to discuss the appropriate certificate for your requirements.Get In Touch