You’ve probably come across that tiny green padlock in your browser’s location bar followed by the website URL. It indicates that the site you are browsing is equipped with the SSL certificate.
Being a website owner, you might also be wondering “Do I need an SSL certificate for my website too?”. But wait, before you get your question answered, let us know first what is an SSL certificate and what it does exactly?
What is an SSL certificate?
Secure Sockets Layer, shortly known as “SSL” creates a secure channel between your browser and the web server so that the information you transmit will be traversed in the encrypted form.
When the website you visit does not equip with the SSL certificate (web address starts with http:// only), all the information that your browser sends to the web server and receives is in clear text that anyone could read. So it’s possible that any malicious user (hacker or intruder) can intercept the web traffic to your website and could possibly retrieve the private user information.
When you set up an SSL certificate, your website URL starts with https:// ( mind the “s” for “secure”), so all the information sent and received is encrypted. It’s vital when your site collects any sensitive data on your website like credit card information as you don’t want someone sniffing your customer’s private data like credit card numbers or personal information.
Do I really need an SSL certificate?
While not all websites require an SSL certificate, it is essential for certain types of sites. To find out if your site really needs an SSL certificate, go through these questions:
Do you run an ecommerce store?
If you run an ecommerce store, probably you’ll be accepting the payments through credit/debit cards.
In this case, an SSL certificate is indispensable to encrypt the customers’ credit card information.
Your customers submit very important information to your website, if an identity thief gets access to your customer’s credit card information it could be disastrous. So it’s your responsibility to secure the information you collect from your customers. When SSL is installed on your site, no one can intercept and misuse their credit card data.
Do you have login forms on your website?
Not all websites collect money online, some collect information. This information could be anything about related to your customers, like name, address, phone number and email address, etc.
Without an SSL certificate, these login forms can be intercepted easily. If you don’t want that information leaked, securing online forms with an SSL solutions is also a must.
Do you offer memberships on your site?
To become a member, your members are giving you their email addresses, names, and passwords, all of which they likely use on other sites. You should not take the risk of a security breach that could result in your members’ information being spread across the whole internet.
Are you serious about search engine optimization of your website?
During the last couple of years Google gives ranking advantages to websites featuring SSL protection. Those projects that don’t use SSL certificates are marked as unsecure in Google Chrome browser as well.
On the Internet, confidence is everything. No one would like to submit their sensitive information in plain text, right? Nowadays, visitors are also well aware of potential online threats and become more security conscious.
Many people would think securing a website with SSL is essential only if they’re selling products or collecting payment information. But they don’t realize that SSL encryption has other very important benefits. Such as your visitors will feel safer on your site when they see the green lock while accessing your website knowing it’s protected by a security certificate.
Also, the latest browser versions have started sending notices when you browse any website without SSL. So, it’s now important to ensure every website has an SSL certificate and is loaded via HTTPS.