Internet security is a concern for most website owners. The Internet is littered with scam artists trying to steal confidential information. Even businesses such as Equifax aren’t safe from data breaches. If your website accepts credit card payments, email address, physical addresses, phone numbers, names, and passwords of your visitors, then take steps to protect that information.
An SSL Certificate is one way to increase website security. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. You can tell if a website has this protection if the address is “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP.” This is a protocol which builds a secure connection between a client and a server. Information sent this way is encrypted and remains private as it travels between the browser and the web server.
Benefits of Installing an SSL Certificate on Your Website
1. Protect Sensitive Information
An SSL certificate reduces the chances of anyone stealing information from your website. That means if a visitor enters credit card information, then those numbers will remain encrypted until the data reaches your server. Without SSL, a thief can possibly intercept the information and read the data. But with SSL, even if a thief intercepts the data they will be unable to read the encrypted information.
2. Visitors Feel Secure with Your Website
One of your goals as a website owner is to make your visitors secure. You want them to trust that your website is safe. When a person makes a purchase, they realize the risks associated with entering their payment information. If a person applies for a credit card, they know there’s a chance someone will steal their social security number. An SSL certificate puts your visitors at ease and makes them feel secure.
3. Encourages Repeat Visits
Loyalty is one result of making your visitors feel secure. When a person has a good experience on a website, then they are likely to return. One reason websites like Amazon are so popular is because people trust them. If your website visitors know you’re taking steps to provide security, then they are likely to visit you again. This can also translate into them recommending your website to others via social media.
4. Protects Your Reputation
A data breach could ruin your reputation. It’s difficult for a business to regain trust after it’s lost. The same is true for anyone who has gained the trust of their website visitors. Your website could be a free membership website that doesn’t collect payment information. But still, if the data you do collect is stolen, then it reflects badly on your website. This is why an SSL certificate can be beneficial for any website, not just those that collect credit card or social security numbers.
5. Improves Your Website Rank
Google gives a minor boost to websites protected by SSL. This doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly land on page one of the search engine. And it doesn’t erase the need for SEO and good content. But Google determined that websites with SSL are generally relevant websites that provide useful information.
How to Use an SSL Certificate
SSL certificates require you to have your own dedicated IP address. Most website hosting plans put you on a shared IP with several other websites. Having a dedicated IP means the traffic goes to your website and nowhere else.
After you have a dedicated IP address, you need to obtain a certificate from a provider. The certificate then needs activation and installation. You also have to configure your website as HTTPS instead of HTTP. As you can imagine, implementing SSL can be a little tricky.
It will be easier if you are good with following technical directions or have IT experience. If this doesn’t apply to you, then you need an experienced installer. Check with your website hosting provider to see if they offer SSL certificates and installation.