What are SSL certificates and how will they affect my website?

by | Feb 25, 2018

Since 1st October 2017, Google has made SSL certificates for websites a must. If your website address begins with http:// and not https://, you will need to make changes to avoid being penalised by Google and appearing lower in search rankings.

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and encrypts all sensitive information sent across the internet so only the intended recipient can understand it. Any computer between you and the server can see credit card numbers, usernames, passwords and other sensitive information if it is not encrypted with an SSL certificate. SSL certificates makes information unreadable to anyone except the server you are sending information to and protects you from identity thieves and hackers.

Why has Google made these changes?

Google has made these changes mainly to protect consumers and help customers find reputable businesses. Customer data can be easily compromised on an http:// website – without an SSL certificate your website is unsecure.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure and is used to transmit secure communications over a computer network, such as the internet. It ensures that your data can’t be
intercepted or tampered with and to ensure it isn’t forged.

How will these changes affect my customers?

Since 1st October 2017, Chrome browsers have warned visitors to all http:// websites that they are not secure and displays a red padlock in the Chrome browser. If your website has a SSL certificate and if it’s correctly installed, you will see a green padlock instead.

What if my website doesn’t have an SSL certificate?

Google may penalise your website and this will affect your search rankings if your website is not compliant. Without an SSL certificate, you run a massive risk of losing valuable business. Your website will show as not secure in browsers and could be perceived by customers as not a legitimate business.

How can I add an SSL certificate to my website?

You can upgrade your website and apply the SSL certificate. It can take some time to implement because it must be installed correctly across the entire site including all pages, images, forms and content. Your website then needs to be tested to ensure your SSL certificate is installed correctly and is doing its job.

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