What is SSL & why is it important for your website?

SSL Certificates

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology which creates the encrypted connection between the web server and the browser. This encryption ensures the integrity and privacy of data being shared. It protects the data from being stolen or forged in between the server and the browser. SSL certificate is mandatory for websites where sensitive and private data are shared. It is becoming an added benefit for other websites due to the SEO benefit from having a secure website.

Importance of SSL for a website

Information encryption

SSL is primarily used for information encryption. The encrypted data can be read by the web server and the intended browser only. Information shared on the internet passes through multiple servers before reaching its final destination. For example, if you are using the internet from your mobile, it first reaches the gateway of your mobile network, then to the other proxy servers and gateways and then, eventually to the web server. When several web servers are involved in data chain, your data can be read and stolen from any of them! SSL helps to prevent this by encrypting the data. Even if your data is stolen, what thieves get is highly encrypted and useless for them.

Provides authentication

Your browser doesn’t accept every SSL certificate it comes across. It checks the authenticity of the certificate for you. Your browser should trust the organisation which issues the certificate. If it cannot trust the certificate, it simply avoids the data sharing and warns the viewer not to visit the website. As SSL certificates are issued with an expiry date, your browser also checks if the SSL certificate is up to date. If the SSL certificate is expired, the browser stops the connection and warns the user about it.

Accepting online payments

If you are running an ecommerce website / online store or any other site which involves online payment, you are obliged to use a trusted SSL certificate with at least 128-bit encryption. If your site cannot provide such encryption, you cannot accept online payments. This is known as PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance .

Protects against phishing

Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive data such as usernames and passwords, credit card information, etc. With the help of a website or web page which looks similar to the official site. Many people have fallen prey to phishing sites. You are sent official looking emails to change your password with a link to the phishing page rather than the correct page. If you click through and provide any credentials, they fall into the wrong hands instantly.

SSL helps to protect from phishing as well. SSL certificates are issued by trusted issuers only. A phisher cannot duplicate the SSL certificate, that’s why they often use the page without SSL for phishing. You should ALWAYS be aware and cautious when prompted into such action and rather than clicking the link to your bank you should type in the website address yourself. Make sure the address shows HTTPS rather than HTTP to ensure you’re protected by an SSL.

Improves customer trust

You often have to ask for email address and other sensitive information from website visitors. Many people will now check to see if your site is protected with SSL or not. If you’re using HTTP rather than HTTPS you may be preventing people from interacting. But, if your site uses SSL properly, their web browser shows the padlock and the secure badge before the address. This helps you to earn trust from your customers.

Improves your brand power

Companies issuing the SSL certificate to you provide the seal or other images which indicate that your website can be trusted for sharing of sensitive information. Some SSL issuers even provide data security guarantees as well. This can help you to improve your brand power and image if you use them properly in your website.

Better ranking in Google

Google has announced that it is going to provide a small SEO benefit for websites using SSL certificates. If two pages have similar ranking, the one with an SSL certificate is shown before in the search engine. Every little helps!

How can we help?

We can provide SSL certificates and configure your website to make full use of them, get in touch for further details.