An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a security technology that encrypts data packets shared between a web server and a browser. An SSL certificate ensures that all data that passes from a web server to a browser remains private and safe from interception by cybercriminals. Therefore, as you build your website through Squarespace web design, there’s a need to learn about SSL certificates, how they help your site, and what it means to go without one.
Keep reading to find out whether your website needs an SSL certificate and what you can do to get it!
HTTP Vs. HTTPS
By default, all websites run on HTTP, which is the standard protocol for transferring webpage data across the web. Unfortunately, this protocol is vulnerable to packet sniffing, a technique that cybercriminals use to steal data as it’s being transmitted from a web server to a browser. Through the use of software and hardware tools, criminals steal data packets as they’re being transferred, and access the data in the said packets. This data could be anything, from passwords to names and credit card information.
Now, when you have an SSL certificate, your website runs on HTTPS instead of HTTP. HTTPS is a secure extension of the standard protocol HTTP. It instructs web servers to encrypt data packets before they are transmitted to the webserver. The data can only be decrypted using a unique key that’s only found in your webserver. Even with their sophisticated software, cybercriminals have no way fo accessing the encrypted data, and this keeps it safe from unauthorized parties.
Does Your Website Need an SSL Certificate?
Absolutely yes! Every website that transmits text input should have an SSL certificate. This is not mandatory, and your website will still run without it. But what will you be missing out on? Below are some of the benefits of installing SSL and using the HTTPS protocol on your website!
Encrypts Sensitive User Data
Data encryption is the most crucial feature of an SSL certificate. It has high data encryption levels of up to 256-bit to protect user information. It assures you that there will be no packet stealing as users transmit data to your webserver. This is particularly important if you ask users for sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card info, and personal names.
Before you accept any payments on your website, you need SSL encryption. This not only secures your site but also improves shipping experience as users are guaranteed that their information won’t land in the hands of cybercriminals. With no packets to steal, cybercriminals have no way to execute man-in-the-middle attacks, and this reduces cases of website hacking.
In addition to encrypting data, an SSL certificate also provides authentication. When you feed sensitive information such as your credit card data, the SSL authenticates it to assure you that the data is secure and you’re sending it to the right server, and not to a criminal trying to steal it.
Before SSL providers issue the certificate, they conduct some identity checks to verify the authenticity of the company. Therefore, as a user transacts with you, they are assured of safety. If you run an e-commerce business, using SSL builds trust with your clients and helps bring more business your way!
Affirms Your Site Identity
When someone searches your site, they get visual cues as to whether you are secure or not. A website that runs on HTTP has a warning sign before the URL, and this warns users that the page isn’t safe. Therefore, they should be careful when providing personal information. On the other hand, sites running on HTTPS have a green bar or lock icon showing users that the webpage is safe.
These two protocols can make a difference in your business. Most people today know enough about cybercrime to stay away from insecure sites. An SSL certificate gives you the mark of security and affirms your site identity. Users have no qualms about visiting your website or inputting personal data, and this helps build their trust for your business.
Increases Web Traffic
In August 2014, Google, in partnership with major browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, and Opera, introduced the HTTPS Everywhere initiative. This initiative was meant to make browsing more secure for users by indicating unsecure sites that run on the HTTP protocol. HTTPS Everywhere is an extension that users can add to their browsers.
When web users try to visit an HTTP site, a prompt appears asking whether they would like to proceed to an insecure webpage. By outlining the dangers of visiting unsecured sites, this extension scares people away from HTTP sites, and this can hurt your web traffic. Therefore, if you’re looking to increase your traffic, it’s prudent to install an SSL certificate.
Boosts Your SEO
SSL encryption is one of the parameters that Google and other search engines use to rank websites. Therefore, if your site runs on HTTP, the chances are that you won’t rank on the first page of Google. As you work with a Squarespace web design expert to boost your site’s SEO, remember to get an SSL certificate as well. All your efforts to rank top will be futile if your website doesn’t run on the HTTPS protocol!
Ready to Install an SSL Certificate on Your Site?
Installing an SSL certificate is a crucial step in building a website. Talk to your web designer if you need help choosing and installing SSL on your site.