Why is it important to have an SSL on your website?
When you have an SSL on your website you are taking a big step towards a better internet. An SSL, or secure socket layer, is a method of transferring information in a secure way on the internet. It’s that little green padlock in the top corner that tells us we are on a secure page. It is what lets us all use the internet for online banking, and make payments online in a secure way.
A couple of years ago, it was unnecessary to have an SSL on a standard small business website. Then a few years ago, Google began to encourage every website to become secure. Other large organisations joined Google and a movement was born.
SSL is no longer limited to E-Commerce Websites. Google is driving this so that we can all enjoy websites becoming more secure.
What has changed for SSL on your website in 2018?
We now know that Google has confirmed the use of HTTPS or SSL as an SEO ranking signal for your website. This means that Google are now favouring websites that are using an SSL over ones that are not.
This is a big one for anyone doing search engine optimisation, which we all should be doing. SSL is now a standard feature of every website. An SSL is one of the many steps needed to ensure you can rank higher in the organic search results with Google. A good search engine ranking means more search traffic to your website and more leads.
Is Google ranking SSL on a website a surprise?
Not really. For years Google was pushing mobile websites and the need to support mobile devices. Then one day we had Mobilegeddon. A moment when a new Google algorithm favouring mobile sites kicked in to search results. Websites that were not mobile friendly dropped out of Google search results overnight. Websites that were mobile friendly using responsive website design. took over the search results.
When are we going to see something similar with SSL security? If I only we knew. What Google has told us is SSL is a good idea and you should have it on your website.
We agree. Install an SSL on your website as soon as possible. The advantages are:
- Your website is secure
- Users will feel more confident
- A secure website will actually be able to go faster due to new ways of delivering traffic on the internet with HTTP/2.
How does an SSL make your website faster?
The internet now has a new HTTP protocol called HTTP/2. Very original naming. HTTP/2 requires an SSL to be installed on your website. With HTTP/2 enabled your site can download faster.
Are all sites with an SSL using HTTP/2? Not always. You can get HTTP/2 enabled with most good hosting providers. Check with your hosting provider or Managed WordPress provider for more information.
HTTP2 is great because faster sites are always better. The faster a site, the more sales and leads you will get. It’s that simple.
How does HTTP/2 work?
The new method allows many files to be downloaded at once. The old method had a limit to the number loaded at one time and made the page load in chunks. Now you can get lots of files all shoved down at the same time in a very fast way. This is great for the internet and great for your website and marketing too. No one has ever complained about a website being too fast and secure!
With SSL you can accept credit card and personal data on your website. Encryption will keep this information safe. This makes a clear pathway for your business to take online payments and grow into E-Commerce.
Are an SSL and HTTP/2 expensive? No. Most people can get a free SSL from Lets Encrypt and be delivering a secure site in hours using HTTP/2.
Do you need a paid SSL?
No. A free SSL from Lets Encrypt is fine. You may need to move on from a free SSL at some point but getting started is what matters.
Does SSL ensure my website is secure and protected from hacking?
SSL is a great step forward but you should also ensure your site is up to date and your SSL correctly installed. An SSL will not stop hackers because anyone can access your website over the internet. This means a hacker can still attempt to gain access to your site. Stopping a hacker gaining access means keeping your website and hosting well maintained.
To check an SSL installation is secure on your website is pretty simple. Go to SSL Labs and run the SSL test. I’ve added a screenshot animation below to make it easy to understand.
Run this test to ensure the SSL on your website is installed correctly and up to date. If you get an error or a low grade, send the output to your hosting company or IT Department. They can sort the problems out for you and the report gives good advice on how to do that.
You will also need to make sure your website software and hosting are secure.
Keeping your website up to date
If you use WordPress or other open source software keeping it up to date is a great way to keep your site secure. Remember, all the information transmitted from your customers to your website is secure. Your website is encrypted when using an SSL, however, it could still be hacked if you don’t keep it up to date.
For every business with a website get your SSL installed ASAP. This will position your business as a great internet citizen. You will help make the internet more secure and safe for everyone.
Finally, use a good hosting service provider because a good host will be operating in a safe way.
If you need more information you can download this great guide here from stonetemple.com: The Complete Guide to SSL and SEO
It’s a comprehensive guide to SSL certificates and your website.
Want to learn more about SSL? Contact the team at MRKWP. We can assist you in understanding your requirements and make a recommendation.
Footnote: This article was originally posted in 2016 and we revisit it to update as needed.