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The importance of SSL and a secure site

Published on 22nd September 2017

WHAT IS SSL? - An SSL certificate secures the connection between the users browser and your website ensuring no data entered on your website in a login area, in a form, or your checkout on your site can be intercepted by the bad guys. It's useful to have SSL in place for GDPR.

This 90 second video (on the right) from GoDaddy explains SSL in simple terms. I don't recommend sing GoDaddy as we provide our own SSL certificates, it's just a good video.

Here's what the address bar looks like in Chrome (Sept 2017)

An http:// site on a standard information page

Chrome browser standard icon for non https sites

A http:// site with a secure data entry form

Chrome message for non https site if you are on a data entry page

A site with an SSL certificate and https://

Secure message in Chrome donating https is correctly installed and setup

The NOT SECURE message currently only appears on data entry pages that request passwords or ecommerce details.  In October Chrome will show a NOT SECURE message that will appear on ALL http:// pages in certain situations making your users anxious, and all pages with a form as the form is completed. Here's the Chrome announcement from April.

https:// is already an influencer in the Google ranking algorithm, see https://security.googleblog.com/2016/09/moving-towards-more-secure-web.html, and in 2018 it's influence will increase making sites using https:// more likely to get better rankings, all things being equal.

Adding an SSL certificate to your domain is now very low cost and well worth a small investment.

How much is an SSL certificate?

Until very recently they were upwards of £99 a year for the basic domain authentication version.  We are now supplying them for FREE if you are on our hosting. We make a small £20 a year charge for the management as they need to be renewed regularly.

Are there other costs involved?

The only work involved once the certificate is installed is to change all the URLs on your website to https:// then test the site. If you budget up to 3 hours work for this, but often it's just an hour (£60), it just depends on plugin compatibilities, the site structure, the sites hosting, 3rd party sites linked to, and number of links.  NOTE: if your site link to external URLs a "not secure" message will appear if a user on your site clicks on a link that is not https://

What does an SSL certificate do?

So to be clear having an SSL certificate and using https:// (the "s" is for secure) secures the link between the users browser and your website.  This ensures any data, such as forms info, checkout data, or any other data passing over the connection like passwords, cannot be intercepted and captured.  SSL does not stop people hacking your site.  A free SSL certificate indicates the connection between your browser and the website is secure, it does not verify your website as being owned by your company. For this you will need to pay for an Organizational SSL certificate and these are about £200 a year.  For most sites this is not required.

Why do I need an SSL certificate

  • Keeps data secure between servers
  • Increases your Google Rankings
  • Builds/Enhances customer trust
  • Improves conversion rates
  • Google are penalising sites that are not https:// in rankings and with NOT SECURE messages in Chrome
  • It's best practice

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL Certificates use something called public key cryptography. It's a complicated subject so if you'd like to know more click on the link. There are a few types of SSL certificate and Global Sign, an SSL provider, lists these here https://www.globalsign.com/en/ssl/compare-ssl-certificates/

For more information contact alan.tomkins@alpha-tango.co.uk

Categories: Google, Security, SEO, Web site design

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