What is an SSL Certificate, and Why Do I Need It?

For your site to appear trustworthy, there are a few key areas that you need to address.

First, your website layout needs to be clean, clear and up-to-date with the current trends. Most importantly, your site should display an SSL certificate. But what is an SSL certificate, and do you need one for your website?

What Is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate isn’t a physical document that you can hang on your office wall. It is a digital certificate that enables an encrypted connection and authentication for your website.

SSL, also known as Secure Sockets Layer, works much in the same way that an envelope works when you mail a letter. Without an envelope (SSL) the mailman is free to read all about your aunt’s holiday to Tenerife–including any personal information that she’s shared. However, with an envelope, the mailman is unable to read any personal information and the contents remain private. Just as the envelope protects your privacy as your letter passes through the postal system, SSL protects your customer’s privacy as your website travels to them across the internet.

By keeping your website’s information safe and website secure, you are preventing hackers from accessing private information such as names, telephone numbers, email addresses, banking transactions etc.

Do I Need an SSL Certificate?

The short answer is yes, you do need an SSL certificate. When building a new website, you should obtain an SSL certificate as one of your first steps. It adds a vital layer of trustworthiness and much more.

Although some visitors to your site might not know what an SSL certificate does, the “https” and padlock icon that appear on sites with SSL protection will help instill confidence in your site’s security. But, it’s not just the perception of security that’s important.

The SSL certificate is an essential operating component to most websites. SSL helps keep salient information secure and private, preventing digital bad-guys from intercepting personally sensitive data as it travels through the internet. To do so, a website uses specialized encryption, which is difficult to break.

Login credentials, personal information, credit and debit card transactions, banking details, proprietary information, legal documents, contracts and medical records are all protected, making the SSL certificate imperative for most sites that are search engine friendly.

What does HTTPS mean?

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a protocol used to transfer data between a browser and a website. If you couple an HTTP protocol with an encryption protocol (TLS/SSL), it creates a more secure user experience called Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).

Most of the more common browsers like Chrome, Safari and Firefox flag non-HTTPS websites as not secure. This can deter the user from continuing using a site. HTTPS is recommended for all sites especially those using logins, email, forms or any other transfer of sensitive data.

How to Make a Website Secure with an SSL Certificate

Before deciding to purchase an SSL certificate, site owners must first identify the best certificate for their site. This can be a little daunting at first with a range of options. For example, it includes multi-domain SSL certificates, organization validated SSL certificates and domain validated SSL certificates. Each certificate has its own associated benefits and disadvantages.

If you’re not entirely sure of which type of certificate you require, be sure to reach out to the website design specialists at MediaSmack. We can help with the details of getting you a secure website.

What Do I Need to Remember About SSL?

In conclusion, there are two things you should remember about SSL certificates:

  • First, the SSL certificate helps keep the private information of website visitors and users secure from hackers and digital bad-guys. Remember this is like how an envelope secures a letter.
  • Next, all sites should have an SSL certificate. This is to disarm hackers and also to give the impression of trustworthiness and authority.

Feel free to get in touch and let us do the heavy lifting to secure your website and business by implementing SSL certificates for your website now.

Ola Alibaloye Avatar
Author Ola Alibaloye
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