Are SSL certificates necessary for websites !
Trust is the bedrock of all relationships. If it is between two people or even among business entities that want to work together.
Especially in this age when you don’t even have to ‘meet’ the vendors you associate with, trust is everything. In transactional relationships, forging trust is so important that without it there is no question of the association at all.
If you are a website owner, how do you make your customers feel secure?
Do they see random flash-based animation floating around on your Home page? Expect them to scamper for safety by clicking the ‘X’ icon on their browser.
A business that has a website should get an SSL certificate- consider it as the first thing to establish trust with your visitors. Its presence is verified by a simple icon that is displayed on their browser.
What is SSL?
Abbreviated as Secure Socket Layers, it is a security protocol that informs the visitor that the site they are on is secure. There are transactions which happen between the visitor and the website and if this data is sent in plain text, a third party can intercept and steal it. SSL ensures that the data sent is encrypted making it impossible to be stolen as it cannot be read.
6 Benefits of installing SSL on your website
SSL is considered the backbone of securing the Internet and protecting sensitive information getting into the wrong hands. What if it goes into the wrong hands? Information that we send from one computer to another gets passed from the computer to different servers.
If the information is not encrypted, during this process, any computer can access sensitive details that include credit card information, username, passwords, email addresses, etc.
SSL provides authentication
Apart from providing encryption, SSL certificates are also a mark of authentication. The presence of an SSL certificate is an indication that the visitors are sending information on a credible site and not to a fraudster who is trying to steal information. Getting an SSL certificate from a trusted SSL provider will give you authenticity. It is no more an option; it is a must these days.
SSL providers will give the certificate only to a verified company after they take them through a set of verification steps to ensure authenticity.
Encrypts your data
Having an SSL certificate protects you against losing sensitive information such as login details, password, credit card details, account details, etc. Like we mentioned earlier, Internet functions as a chain of computers where each of the participating computers can have access to data that is passed and if it is not encrypted, then it is highly likely that a scammer can get hold of it. When you have SSL certificate, it is an indication that your website and any data that passes from your computer is encrypted. When data is encrypted, only the website visitor and web server can decrypt it.
Meets GDPR requirements
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has increased the security for customers for any website that collects data of people in the European Union. Although there is no direct mention of SSL as a necessity, if you read the GDPR requirements, it gives you a perspective where you will realize you are better off with having an SSL certificate, or else you could face huge fines.
SSL provides security
No website visitor wants to know that there are ‘chances’ that their data could be compromised. They do not even want to leave it to chance. Having an SSL certificate is almost a basic requirement nowadays as a measure of security. Also, most regular folks who use the Internet know the difference between a website that has an SSL certificate and one that does not. The lock icon with the word ‘Secure’ written against it is an indication of a website with SSL certificate and visitors are more than happy to know that you care about their data.
Meets PCI compliance standards
If your website processes payments using credit card details, you most certainly need an SSL certificate. In fact, if you don’t have an SSL certificate for your website, you will not even be allowed to process credit card payments. SSL certificate inserts an industry-standard 180- bits of encryption making your business open for instant payments.
As shocking as it might be to get to know that having an SSL certificate helps with your SEO, it is true. While SEO is a combination of great content, design and using the right keywords, the presence of an SSL certificate adds a little bit of zing to it. In 2014, Google announced publicly that having an SSL certificate installed for your business website will affect your search rankings. This move has made it almost mandatory to have an SSL certificate if you have a website that exists on the web.
It’s mandatory in 2019
Here’s the ultimate persuasive technique that we are going to use on you readers as it makes it a no-brainer to get on the SSL bandwagon.
Google has started flagging websites that don’t have SSL certificates.
Does it convince you enough? If you think your website is safe from being flagged because you are a doctor, lawyer or anyone whose business revolves in the offline world, then you couldn’t be more wrong. An unverified website will make you look shady even if you are a highly acclaimed expert in your area.
How to get a free SSL certificate for your website?
Paid SSL certificates can be quite expensive based on your specific needs and the type of your business. If you are just starting your company or if it is for a blog, then you would obviously want to go as lean as possible. Thankfully, there are several places where you can get your SSL certificate for free.
Please find below some of these places which provides free SSL certificates:
- Cloud Flare
- Let’s Encrypt
- CAcert Free Certificate Authority
- SSL For Free
WatchGuard’s 2018 Internet Security Report says that nearly 21% of the Alexa top 100,000 websites still don’t use HTTPS. Link: https://www.watchguard.com/wgrd-resource- center/security-report-q3-2018 That’s a terrible number even if you think “Come on, 79% adoption is a great achievement”. No, it is not, when you realize compare that you are risking anyone who is visiting your website by not getting an SSL certificate. The SSL adoption numbers are only going to get higher as the need for it is getting recognized by all credible businesses.
If you still ask if SSL is necessary for your website, it is akin to asking if the Pope is Catholic!