Why your website needs an SSL certificate

With so much sensitive information travelling across the world’s computer networks every single day, SSL has become the backbone for ensuring the safety and security of our data.

In an effort to encourage all websites to move over to SSL – Google Chrome will be changing the way it handles websites without SSL certifiates .

Starting October – if you do not have an SSL certificate on your website users will start to see a “non-secure” message at the top of the screen.

Here’s everything you need to know about the current state of Google’s crackdown on HTTP and why you need to install SSL to your pages now.

What is an SSL certificate?

Standing for Secure Socket Layer, SSL certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organisation’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and https protocol and allows secure, encrypted communications from a web server to an internet browser.

Typically, SSL is used on pages that require end-users to submit sensitive information over the internet like credit card details, usernames and passwords.

On a website, a standard SSL certificate is marked with https:// in front of the website URL in the address bar, as opposed to http:// that represents a standard protocol on websites that don’t use SSL. It also gives visual cues such as a lock icon or a green bar, to make sure a visitor knows when their connection is secured.

Why do I need an SSL certificate?

Trust and security are what make people confident enough to provide private information online. SSL certificates are what make a website trusted. A website that isn’t secured by SSL risks losing potential business as customers will not want to submit their confidential information in fear of it being intercepted, compromised or stolen by cyber criminals.

But even if your website doesn’t handle sensitive information such as credit cards, having an SSL certificate provides privacy, critical security and data integrity for both your website and your user’s information. The information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you’re sending information

In addition to encryption, a proper SSL certificate provides authentication. This means users can be sure they’re sending their personal information to the right servers and not to an imposter who can use it for fraudulent purchases and activities.

Is SSL good for SEO?

Apart from showing your customers you care about their privacy and security, SSL provides others benefits like improving your SEO efforts.

With Google’s taking a strict stance to ensure that it protects the privacy of their consumers, security has become a top priority for the search engine giant. In order to encourage website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS and keep everyone safe on the web, Google now provides a slight rankings boost for pages secured with SSL.

Not only that, they also announced that if all other factors are equal, HTTPS can act as a tiebreak in the search engine results. So with HTTPS becoming a more relevant search ranking factor, getting an SSL certificate and its proper implementation is a great imperative for web developers in 2017.

Current changes

First announced back in August 2014, Google’s HTTPS Everywhere initiative was designed to stimulate the wide adoption of HTTPS and highlight the significance of website security.

In January, Google started to label some pages in HTTP as non-secure with the release of Chrome 56. This phase affected pages that transmitted sensitive information such as login and payment card data on the web.

Now, Google has decided to further improve online safety by marking all HTTP pages as ‘Non-secure’. Giving web developers until October to prepare for the next phase of its plan, the change will apply to all HTTP pages where users can input any data.

When the changes are applied, it will display ‘Not secure’ in red, which is currently only used for broken HTTPS.

Want to secure your site for your customers and maintain your SEO rankings? Get an SSL certificate today from $250 ex GST. Speak to our web design experts today to find out more.