What is an SSL Certificate?

Have you ever noticed how sometimes websites start with “http://” and then sometimes they start with “https://” and have a green padlock nearby? If you have, you’ve seen the end result of an SSL certificate. But what you haven’t seen is what goes on behind the scenes.

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Essentially, SSL establishes an encrypted link between your web server and your visitor’s web browser. This ensures that all data passed between the two remains private and secure.

With an unsecured HTTP connection, third-parties can snoop on any traffic passing between your reader’s browser and your web server. Obviously, this is a huge issue if you’re passing sensitive information like credit card numbers.

But now, many entities, including Google, are pushing to use secure HTTPS connections for all traffic, even things you might think are plain and simple websites.

Why Do You Need an SSL Certificate?

In the past, the only time an average webmaster needed to care about SSL was eCommerce. But that all changed in late 2014 when Google announced SSL was going to be rolled out as a ranking factor.

That’s right, sites that use SSL certificates get a boost in the SERPs. It might not be a huge boost, but I think you’ll agree that any boost in search rankings is a good one.

But now Google is going even further. Starting back in January 2017, Google began to mark “HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as non-secure.” That means your website page will be marked as non-secure if you’re not using HTTPS.

Today, in 2018, credit card or not, password or not, Google will mark your website as “not secure” if you fail to have an SSL certificate.

So, in addition to offering a benefit to your readers by securing their connection, you also have both a Google-provided motivator to use an SSL certificate for your WordPress site.

Some hosting companies offer the SSL certificate for free and others charge a yearly call. Contact Lois Reed Designs today if you want help securing your website with SSL.

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