| Web Development

Security is becoming more paramount than ever with the amount of data that is shared online now. With the increase in data and websites, malicious attacks have become a regular occurrence. It is vital to secure your website to protect it from potential hacks and reassure your website visitors you are taking security precautions. While there are many ways of securing a website, the easiest thing to start with is to set-up an SSL certificate on the website.

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate provides a secure connection over the internet between a browser and your website. It encrypts the connection and prevents interception of the data transmission.

How do you know if a website is SSL secure?

Most people understand a padlock in the address bar means a secure connection when browsing a website. However, many people do not realise this padlock is an indicator of the SSL connection. Along with this padlock, the "http://" prefix in the address bar changes to "https://". The 's' refers to a secure connection.

What are the benefits of an SSL certificate?

All websites should be using an SSL connection, to protect their users and the website from potential hacks. Its a simple step and does not require a large investment in time or cost, so should not be ignored.

The foremost benefit comes from the data encryption, protecting the data from interception. In the unfortunate event of a data interception, it will make it almost impossible to decrypt it into something meaningful. This benefit provides security and credibility to your website. Websites not having an SSL certificate in place are shown with a cross on the padlock in the address bar - this can provide a negative impression to a first time user of your website. Without one, many potential visitors might avoid your site. Google follows this approach. If you try to navigate to a website on the Chrome browser that is not using an SSL connection, an intimidating screen with a warning symbol is displayed. It warns you of an insecure connection.

In 2014, Google announced HTTPS (SSL connections) as a ranking signal, adding SEO benefits to the website. Google preferentially indexes HTTPS versions of websites over any HTTP versions. Consequently, this means that HTTPS pages will receive an SEO boost and be the default result for searchers.

The padlock symbol and green address bar shown by some SSL certificates are pivotal in preventing phishing websites. Phishing websites are websites that replicate another website in an attempt to steal user data. These phishing websites are convincing and trick visitors into entering their personal information. A valid SSL certificate reassures your users that you are a genuine website.

If you have an e-commerce website, then an SSL certificate can be mandatory to accept payments directly on your website. Payment Cards Industry (PCI) regulations require an SSL certificate as the bare minimum if you plan on taking payments from customers. Industry regulations aside, customers will feel more at ease when making payments on your website.

Having an SSL certificate installed on your website is the new standard, just like responsive design. When developing a new website, it is sensible to ensure an SSL certificate has been set-up.

You can be sure that having an SSL certificate on your site is valuable. It shows visitors that your website is verified and safe from hackers. It also improves your SEO rankings.

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