Why does my website need an SSL certificate
What is an SSL Certificate
Simply put, an SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates a website's identity and enables an encrypted connection between the browser and the website server.
While the video below was made in 2013, it explains the concepts involved very simply
HTTP, HTTPS and SSL
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and is the protocol that is used for viewing web pages.
This was the original way that information was transmitted from one computer to another via a web browser, and transferred all data as text files, what you typed was what got transferred. It was not necessary to type in the http part of the web address, it was automatically added when you typed it in, for example typing www.itseeze-camberley.co.uk would automatically be changed to http://www.itseeze-camberley.co.uk.
As all information typed into a computer browser was transferred as plain text, it was venerable to hackers - especially for personally sensitive data such as passwords, user names, and credit card details.
HTTPS stands for Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol and is HTTP with a security feature that encrypts the data being sent over HTTP
Web browsers now automatically add https to any domain url entered into the browser bar on the presumption that the resulting website will be hosted on a secure server, and all data transferred will be communicated securely.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a protocol that uses public key encryption to secure data.
The computer browser asks the websites server to identify itself. The server then sends the browser a copy of its SSL Certificate which identifies the website and after both browser and server have acknowledged each other secure encrypted data transfer can begin.
What happens now if you do not have an SSL certificate?
Since 2017, Google have been putting warnings on sites that transferred credit card information over insecure http connections. By July 2018, all websites that did not utilize an SSL certificate were flagged with "Not secure" in the browser bar, and by January 2020, websites that used images or other data served from insecure sources had those resources blocked on their website, even if the principle website had an SSL applied.
Today's browsers automatically add https before the domain url typed, on the presumption that the user wished to transfer all data securely. When a website does not have an SSL certificate, the browser presents a series of warning messages:
The first message appears in the browser window on first visit, telling you that the connection is not private. Most people will abandon browsing at this point, resulting in lost site visits, contact and revenue for the website owner.
This warning can be over ridden by clicking advanced ... at your peril !
if you over ride the warnings then the protocol will revert to http and you will see the following warning in the url bar
If you add an https before the domain url, the resultant content is not shown and the window displayed is just grey, so no content can be seen. The warning message also turns red, and clicking it makes a pop up window appear with a more detailed warning message.
All in all, not a very pleasant user experience and loss of potential customers.
Added to that is the fact that Google is using https as a ranking signal, and there is even more reason to make sure that your website is protected by an SSL.
So why have an SSL ?
Really really bad user experience without one
Loss of trust and loss of business without one
Ranking penalty is your website doesn't have one.
But the good news is ...
Every Itseeze website is automatically assigned an SSL so you don't have to worry about it.
Web design, content generation and SEO from Itseeze Camberley
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