Here’s why you need an SSL certificate NOW

Google is about to change the way your visitors view your website, and if you’re not prepared, you could miss out on potential customers and risk damaging your reputation.

Starting with Chrome 62, the latest version of its Google Chrome internet browser, Google will label websites that do not have an SSL certificate as “not secure”. Designed to protect against fraud, this update will no doubt “rock the boat” and send small business owners into a frenzy.

Luckily, installing an SSL certificate doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s what to do…

What is HTTPS?

The chances are that you’re familiar with the HTTP protocol that you type before your domain name. Web browsers like Google Chrome and Safari will add the HTTP:// protocol for you, but you’ll still need to include it when linking to a web page or writing code for your website.

HTTPS is the more secure version of the HTTP protocol and stops unauthorised parties from accessing or editing information between your computer and the website.

HTTP/HTTPS explained.

If your website requires users to input information, whether it’s a name and address in a contact form or a credit card number or password in your login panel, then you need to think about HTTPS.

You can do that by purchasing and installing an SSL certificate.

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL certificates provide the secure, encrypted communications that are delivered across the HTTPS protocol. SSL, also known as Secure Sockets Layer, can be installed on a web server or a single domain and provide encryption between the web server and the user’s computer.

If you want to invest in an SSL certificate, get in touch with your web host and ask them to install one for you.

There are various options to consider, with the three most “popular” being:

  • Single Domain – A Single Domain certificate will be valid only for one domain name.
  • Multi Domain – Multi Domain certificates, also known as a Universal Communication Certificates (UCCs), secure multiple domains and host names within a domain name. This form of SSL is most commonly seen on web hosts that offer free SSL certificates as part of their service, or on websites with multiple domain names or subdomains.
  • Wildcard – If you have a website with multiple subdomains (for example, you may have a billing platform at billing.yourdomain.com), then a Wildcard SSL certificate can protect all of these subdomains and your main domain name.

A standard SSL certificate for your website can be picked up for around £10 per year, but you should also look into free SSL certificate providers like Let’s Encrypt. The non-profit certificate authority has been sponsored by names such as Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Zendesk and Shopify, and as of June 2017, has issued more than 100 million free SSLs.

What does this mean for my business?

Keeping your website in Google’s good books is important, especially if you care about your ranks on search engine results pages. We recommend that, if you haven’t already installed a certificate on your domain, you do so as soon as possible.

Long term, Google is planning on taking its “not secure” label even further, using it on all websites that don’t have an SSL certificate, even if they don’t feature contact forms, search boxes or collect user data.

Therefore, it pays to plan ahead and prepare for the future.

There are some serious benefits to installing an SSL certificate, too:

  • Trust: No business owner wants their website to be labelled as not secure, and having an SSL certificate can increase (or at least maintain) trust levels
  • Future-proofing: In the future, who knows what applications, software and plugins will require SSLs and HTTPS access to your website? Implementing an SSL now will future-proof your website and ensure you’re up-to-date
  • Take payments: The Payment Card Industry, and now Google Chrome, requires that you have an SSL certificate in order to process card payments on your website. If you run an ecommerce website and want to accept orders, you’ll need an SSL
  • Protects against phishing: Phishing emails quite often contain links that lead your customers to fake replicas of your website – having an SSL certificate can give added reassurance that your website is the “real deal”

What are you waiting for? Speak to your web host and install an SSL certificate on your website today. Have any questions or comments about SSL certificates? Leave them in the comments and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

 

Max Greene

Managing Director of Muffin Marketing. Passionate about small business search engine optimisation, social media management and content writing. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you.