Have you noticed that padlock icon next to your URL? Do you know what it means? 

It’s a sign that your site is safe to visit and secure for your customers to leave their details such as join your mailing list or to make transactions on. Did you know that that Google Chrome has made the decision to mark websites without an SSL as Not Secure, giving visitors to that site that their dates is as risk.  

What is an SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Don’t worry about technical jargon – you just need to know it’s about encrypting your data so it can be securely sent over the internet and third parties cannot "eavesdrop" and see your data.  Essentially it’s a way to demonstrate to your visitors that your site is safe to visit.

 

How does it work?

Your SSL certificate creates an encrypted connection between the server that is delivering your content and the browser that your visitors use to see it.

 

Do I need a SSL certificate?

Yes you do. It shows your customers you are a trusted website, serious about doing business and committed to the safety of your visitors.

Search engines, like Google, also list secure websites higher in their search results.

Regardless of whether you are collecting any data from your website visitors, such as email addresses, or taking payments you need a SSL certificate.

 

Do I have to pay for a SSL certificate free?

In theory I’d like to say a blanket "no" to this question.

But it might depend upon who your hosting company is. Some simply include it as part of their hosting package – you don’t have to do anything at all – fantastic.

In some circumstances you can install a small piece of software, a plug in, also for free.  And then there are hosting companies that charge you or make it difficult to add the free tools – not so fantastic.  We do find these are the hosting companies that catch you with cheaper very basic hosting but then sting you for any add-ons.

 

What other security should I think about?

Your website should also have protection against:

  • Malware
  • Ransomware
  • Hackers

 

And whilst you might not consider it a security matter just in case you do have any problems it essential to have regular back ups.  This provides for business continuity and simply piece of mind that your online real estate is protected.