Why Your Website Needs An SSL Certificate
From October 3rd, 2017, Google is going to start flagging up websites that don’t have an SSL certificate in place.
Initially, this is focused on Chrome only, which at the moment, is one of the most popular browser choices for users.
What this means for you and your business is, potential customers may be put off clicking through to your website from SERPs, due to visible alerts from Google.
What is an SSL Certificate?
First, it is important to know what an SSL certificate is and why you might need one.
SSL Certificates are data files that, when installed on a web server, activate the https protocol and allow secure connections from a web server to a browser.
The https protocol, (or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to.
The difference between the old HTTP and the new HTTPS is the ‘S’, which stands for ‘Secure’
This means that all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.
Do I need an SSL Certificate?
The HTTPS protocol is there to protect users whenever data is collected from a website.
In the past, websites that just collected non-financial data such as names and birth dates could get away without having an SSL certificate.
Websites that collected financial information such as bank details or credit card numbers were expected to have an SSL certificate as this information was more likely to be a target for hackers.
However, the changes in October mean that all websites that use forms to collect data will require an SSL.
If your website gathers customer data through text input (forms) and does not use a secure connection, it will be given a “Not Secure” warning in the address bar.
What should I do?
If your website collects any form of data from its users, you’ll need to get an SSL in place before October 3rd.
Getting an SSL for your website is fairly straightforward, though it will depend on your hosting provider.
If in doubt, contact your hosting company and ask how to get an SSL installed on your website.
And remember, SSL certificates are not a permanent feature and do expire.
Some will last a year, while others can run for several years.
Make sure you know when yours is about to run out and get it renewed in plenty of time.
If you are concerned about your website security or how the changes might affect your business, please get in touch with the Spiral Media team.