What is an SSL certificate and why do I need it?

Whether you have a small or large website, you must have read about website security and data security. Thinking about website security brings up multiple questions.

  • What is an SSL certificate?
  • How do I know if my site is secure?
  • My website is small, why do I need an SSL certificate?
  • Do I need an SSL if we don’t collect any data from visitors?
  • What if my website is a personal blog?

Never fear, fatrabbit CREATIVE is here to answer these questions and more!

How do I check if my website is secure or not?

A website is secure when the browser address bar has a green padlock. Another way to check if a website is secure is to see if the website URL uses https rather than http. The “S” at the end of HTTPS stands for “Secure”. This means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.

A green padlock plus the name of the company or organization, also in green, means the website has an Extended Validation (EV) certificate which assures you that the website is under the control of the company it claims to be.

Did you know: More than 50% of the web pages is now encrypted?  


What does SSL and HTTPS stand for and what makes them secure?

SSL stands for "secure sockets layer" and is a form of security for sites that handle sensitive information such as visitor’s personal information and credit card numbers. It creates a secure connection between a visitor’s web browser and the server of the company they're interacting with.

HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. Using HTTPS, the computers agree on a "code" between them, and then they scramble the messages using that "code" so that no one in between can read them. This keeps your information safe from hackers.

How do I know if a site is not secure?

In the modern age, secure websites are preferred over non-secured sites. Both Chrome and Firefox browsers alert you when you are on a non-secure web page which may collect some form of personal information. Just because a site lacks an SSL Certificate doesn’t mean it is a bad site, but it should cause you to pause before inputting any personal information.


What are the benefits of a secure website?

  • Secure connection between the browser and the server of the website they are visiting.
  • Visitors trust when a website is secured. HTTPS site with green padlock and company or organization name increases the credibility and trust of a website and company.
  • Protects visitor information
  • Google ranks secured sites higher in search results compared to an unsecured site.

What are the different types of SSL certificates?

  • Standard – Domain Validation(DV) for blogs and personal websites
  • Organization Validation(OV) for business and non-profits
  • Extended Validation (EV) for eCommerce websites.

A DV SSL certificate is the easiest and least expensive to maintain, and is great for personal blogs and websites. An OV SSL certificate is the type that we recommend to all businesses and organizations, as it provides more protection and security than a DV SSL. An EV SSL certificate is a top-tier, special type of site certificate that requires a significantly more rigorous identity verification process than other types of certificates, which in turn, provides the highest level of assurance to your visitors.

How do I make my site secure with an SSL Certificate?

The first step to making your site secure is to purchase and install an SSL certificate on the hosting server. After you’ve completed the verification process and installation of the SSL on the server, you then need to update your website’s code to use HTTPS. That includes updating all pages to use HTTPS by default, generally by using a 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS. You’ll also need to comb each page for any links to other pages on your site and update those links to HTTPS. Next, you’ll need to update the settings in any content management system, such as WordPress or ExpressionEngine. Then, you’ll need to review any add-ons, plugins, or other third-party services for compatibility issues and ensure they all work properly. Finally, you’ll need to update your information in your Google Analytics profile to ensure you are properly tracking the website visitors.

In this day and age, every website should have an SSL certificate. With people more concerned about security and privacy than ever before, you can’t afford to not have an SSL certificate. If you would like to secure your site and ensure the best experience and peace of mind for your visitors, contact fatrabbit CREATIVE today!

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