Almost all of our data is online. From bank account information to credit card numbers and addresses, our personal data is all over the web. That’s why recently, companies have begun to place such high importance on personal data security. Soon, Google will begin actively penalizing companies who do not encrypt online personal data with an SSL certificate. But what is an SSL certificate, and what can you do to make sure your site is secure?
What is an SSL certificate?
Since the creation of the internet, data has been transferred using hypertext transfer protocol, or HTTP. This worked well for a time, but as more and more information went online, it became apparent that HTTP was no longer sufficient for keeping users’ data safe. That’s when a new layer of security was added to online communications: a free SSL certificate
SSL stands for secure sockets layer. It provides a type of encryption that secures data going to and coming from an online source. If a site has an SSL certificate installed, instead of the normal HTTP, you will see an HTTPS before the URL of a site, indicating that the site is secure.
What does an SSL certificate do? Simple! It allows for secure communication between a web browser and a web server. So, if a user inputs something as simple as a password—or as sensitive as a credit card number—their communication with the website is encrypted and secured.
Why do I need an SSL certificate?
There are many reasons that you need an SSL certificate for your site—securing transactions, protecting customers, and securing/encrypting sensitive data just to name a few. But now, Google has added another to the list.
This month, Google will release the latest version of its browser, Chrome 68. Along with many new features, Chrome 68 will begin penalizing sites that do not have an SSL certificate with a ‘Not Secure’ tag next to the URL, alerting users to the insecure nature of the site. Sites with an SSL certificate installed will be tagged ‘Secure,’ and also display a green lock icon next to the URL.
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer: you’re about to input your credit card information on a site, or about to fill out a form with your address or some other form of personal data. Before you begin typing, you see a big ‘Not Secure’ next to the site URL. This would probably make you think twice about doing business with the company online.
But an SSL certificate doesn’t just protect customers’ data. It protects an admin’s data, too. If you’re logging in to the backend of an unsecured site, your information could be compromised. An SSL certificate could mean the difference between a safe website experience and a hacker’s dream.
How can you get an SSL certificate?
Before you worry about whether or not your site has an SSL certificate installed, it’s worthwhile to think about what you actually have to secure. Do you have subdomains attached to your site, or do you have multiple domains that you’ll need to secure? Your needs will help determine which kind of certificate you should install.
If you’re not using Pressable’s managed WordPress hosting, this could mean getting in contact with your current website hosting company, going through tons of different channels, paying extra fees, and more.
Or you could let us take care of it for you. We care about making your site—and your user’s data—secure, so we install SSL certificates on all of our clients’ websites with Let’s Encrypt. It’s just one of many perks you get when you host with Pressable, like 24/7 customer support and free site backups every day. So start hosting with Pressable today, and secure your site before it’s too late.
Zach has 12+ years of experience with WordPress, from creating and maintaining client sites, to providing support and developing documentation. A knack for problem-solving and providing solutions led Zach to pursue a job with Automattic providing customer support in 2015 working with WooCommerce support, and now Zach has recently joined our team here at Pressable. Outside of work, Zach enjoys spending time with his family, playing and watching sports, and working on projects around the house.