Do I need an SSL certificate for my website?

June 6, 2018 | Guide
In days gone by, when the question was asked “Do I need an SSL Certificate?”, our answer used to be “that depends.” But just like technology changes, so has our answer. YES. You do need an SSL certificate.

 

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. An SSL certificate ensures that the data being transferred between your website’s server and your viewer’s internet browser is secure. What does this mean? It means that, for instance, if a customer is making a purchase on your website, and is inputting sensitive data, like a credit card number, a phone number, or even their birth date, the information being transferred is secure. This even applies to logging in. Let’s say you are logging into an account on a website. If the website has an SSL certificate, then your username and password is secure as it’s being ferried from your browser to the site’s server.

Do I have an SSL in place?

If you are unsure of whether you have an SSL in place, you can easily check the answer by going to your website. If you have an SSL certificate, your website address will be at HTTPS rather than HTTP.

 

Katy Dwyer Design’s Website Address before SSL:
http://katydwyerdesign.com

 

Katy Dwyer Design’s Website After SSL:
https://katydwyerdesign.com

 

But I don’t ask for sensitive info on my website. Do I need an SSL?

Yes! The reason is two-fold:

  1. GOOGLE CARES. Google has placed more weight on whether or not you have an SSL certificate, meaning not having one is bad for your Google ranking.
  2. WEBSITE BROWSERS ARE WARNING YOUR CUSTOMERS. Have you used a website browser recently and been warned that a site is not secure? Browsers have started looking for forms on pages, and when it sees them, they are increasing the warning severity they display to visitors if the site doesn’t have SSL. And whether you are selling something, asking for personal information, or simply including a contact form, it’s likely that if your potential customer comes to your site and is told it’s not secure, they won’t stick around!

 

So if I have an SSL certificate, then my website is totally protected against hackers, right? WRONG.

An SSL certificate only prevents what are called man-in-the-middle attacks. They prevent hackers from essentially stealing data or info in transit between your website server and user browsers. But there are many other ways hackers gain access to websites that an SSL certificate won’t guard against. Using poor passwords, forgetting to run website platform and plugin updates, and other vulnerabilities can leave you wide open to attack even if you DO have an SSL certificate in place.

Wondering if your website is secure? Katy Dwyer Design has yearly maintenance packages specifically for website security and continuity that you may be interested in, and we can also help you get an SSL certificate in place ASAP! Contact us today!