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SSL Certificates – What are they?

If you’ve browsed the web recently, you may have noticed a little padlock in your search bar. The chances are at some point you’ve visited a website only to be presented with a scary looking message like this:

SSL Certificates – what, why and how…all related to something called a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, a little bit of information that helps keep people safe online.

If you manage a website and you haven’t got an SSL or you’re unsure what it all means, fear not. Thankfully, we’ve pulled together a simple walkthrough of the what, why and how of SSL certificates.

First things first. What is an SSL certificate? Without getting too technical an SSL is a digital certificate which is used to authenticate the identity of a website. Simply, it ensures the website isn’t a fake pretending to be something else.

An SSL also encrypts any information sent to that website, meaning that the information can only be read with the correct decryption key. Helping to prevent information being stolen or hacked in transit.

SSL Certificates – Why do I need one?

So why do you need one? An SSL makes your website more trustworthy to your visitors as they can be sure you are who you say you are. Moreover, it increases the security of information being sent to your servers.

If that wasn’t reason enough Google has been actively promoting SSL secure websites over non-secure ones since 2015. But as of July 2018 Google Chrome will start actively flagging websites without an SSL as non-secure. Bear in mind Google Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, making up over 60% of the market share as of May 2018.

As a result, any flagged website will be given a nice red warning in the visitors’ address bar. Which you can be pretty certain will put off a majority of visitors to your website. Especially if your website has any transactional or data inputs.

How do I get one?

So, if you haven’t got an SSL it’s time to act now. Getting a SSL is relatively simple. Usually, they can often be purchased for a small fee from your hosting provider. Having one will keep your visitor’s safe, keep their data secure and build trust in your brand. Regretably, without one you can expect to see a decline in visitors. Moreover, in the coming months Google will penalise those without one and you run the potential risk of exposing customer data.

Need a hand?

If you need any advice on SSL’s or would like help installing one, get in touch. We have a wealth of experience, developing and maintaining websites. Fill out our contact form below to get started.

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