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From selling to buying to researching to learning, we turn to the Internet for nearly everything. Unfortunately, so do people with bad intentions. That’s why online security has become such a critical necessity.

For better or worse, Google is leading the way in at least one small, but crucial aspect to make the web more secure. In October, Google began showing a “NOT SECURE” warning in their browser, Chrome, when visitors go to any site that starts with HTTP and not HTTPS.

Technically, it’s just a warning, and yet, users will see it as a sign to stay away from your site. That’s not exactly a good reaction for your business.

Do you need to worry about SSL?

While the temptation here might be to panic, first ask yourself two questions:

  1. Does your website contain any forms of where sensitive information might be needed? (Think login forms, contact forms, search bars, and most importantly, shopping/checkout forms.)
  2. Does your website only work on HTTP?

If you answered yes to both of those questions, you need to install SSL to avoid the “Not Secure” warning on your website.

Okay, but what exactly is an SSL certificate?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is the standard technology for creating an encrypted link between a user’s browser and the web server of the site they’re visiting. It makes sure that all the data passed between the web server and browser stay private. Not having an SSL certificate means that your site is passing data “in the clear” – that is, it’s not encrypted.

Why is an SSL certificate so important?

1. Encryption of sensitive information 
When you visit a site and send information such as your name, password, date of birth, etc., it’s passed from computer to computer to get to the server the website actually “lives” on. With an SSL certificate is used, that information is not “in the clear” – it’s unreadable to everyone except for the server you’re sending your information to.

2. Protects you from hackers and cybercriminals
We’re not necessarily talking Anonymous here – they’re a whole other level. We’re talking those people that want to steal your (or your website visitor’s) information. Think identity thieves. These cybercriminals look for ways to capture data that’s moving between computers or servers. With an SSL certificate on your website, that becomes a much, much more difficult task for them.

3. Builds trust 
Remember earlier when I said that the “Note Secure” note was technically a warning? While that’s true, the fact is, people visiting your site want to trust you. Any signal that you or your business may not be trustworthy prevents that trust from happening. With an SSL certificate installed, a lock icon or similar signal will show up (regardless of browser). That tells your visitors that their information is safe. For you that means brand trust and quite possibly, a new customer.

"Secure" message in Chrome (v. 62)

Lock icon in Safari

So now what?

Well, chances are you need an SSL certificate. It’ll help with everything mentioned above, and as a bonus, there’s a possibility it can help with your search ranking.

Not sure which SSL certificate to choose or how to get started? Let us help you! Get in touch and I'll either point you in the right direction or get that SSL certificate installed for you.