http vs https
You’ve likely noticed that almost every website you visit starts with one of two acronyms: HTTP or HTTPS, but you might not know what they mean.
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. This protocol acts as a guide or convention for how computers communicate with each other and transfer information. HTTP websites are vulnerable to attacks, hacks and malware.
HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure or HTTPS is more secure than HTTP. The transfer of hypertext is encrypted making it more protected and secure. Many web browsers such as Chrome and Internet Explorer signal HTTPS with a padlock icon.
What does an SSL certificate do?
An SSL certificate authenticates a website and encrypts the information transferred between the website and its server. By encrypting this information, the SSL certificate scrambles the data into a format that can only be read by authorised users. Essentially, an SSL certificate “locks” the information sent between your web browser and server so that it can only be read using a “key”. SSL encrypted websites have URLs that begin with HTTPS.
Why do I need an SSL certificate?
There are three main reasons to use an SSL certificate for your website:
- better security
- increased sales and
- improved Google rankings
An SSL certificate protects the information passed between your website and its server from hackers and identity thieves. Without an SSL certificate, your website and business will be more vulnerable to attacks and malware. If you store information such as usernames, passwords or credit card numbers, you should be using an SSL certificate or another form of encryption.
In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS websites rank higher than HTTP websites in Google search. This is because HTTPS websites are considered more trustworthy. Adding an SSL certificate to your website can improve your Google rank and make your business look more credible.
If you are selling products on your website, an SSL certificate is crucial. Customers will be more likely to use your services or frequent your site if they know you are protecting their information. If a customer arrives at an HTTP website, their browser may let them know the site is not secure, which will encourage them to make a purchase elsewhere. An SSL certificate is also required for websites to accept credit card payments in accordance with Payment Card Industry standards.
Site Not Secure without SSL Certificate
Beginning in July 2018, Google and Firefox began marking your site as "not secure" if it doesn't have an SSL certificate. Businesses will start to lose customers if that happens, as people will be scared away from the site.
What Type of Certificates
Choosing the right SSL certificate for your website depends on the type of website you have. Ecommerce sites and businesses storing sensitive information require high levels of protection and extended validation certificates while small sites and personal blogs can use basic SSL certificates.
At Fern Web we can help you choose the right certificate for your needs.