Before I explain why having an SSL certificate is important. I’d like to explain what SSL is. SSL stands for secure socket layer. Yes sounds very technical right? And quite boring! Well, it doesn’t have to be!
1. SSL explained
SSL or a security certificate gets installed on your web host. It encrypts the data between the server and the browser. Adding additional protection for the visitor to your website. As well as the website owner!
2. SSL increases trust
Website’s that have SSL installed are trusted more. For example, if you went to a website with “not secure” in the browser would you continue? See image below.
Having SSL stops this message from showing! Therefore makes the website safe for users to visit.
Check out this article from Seach Engine Land.
3. SSL helps to keep your data safe from hackers
It can help by keeping your data encrypted. Encrypted means; it turns sensitive data into a bunch of numbers and letters. Making it near impossible for someone to decode.
In turn, this may prevent hackers from getting hold of your personal data!!
4. How to get SSL
If you are not a web developer, then it’s better not to try to do this yourself. You will need to ask your hosting company to install this for you. The hosting company is whoever you pay to host your website each year or each month. Give them a call and ask them for the most suitable SSL for your website.
5. Not sure who your host is?
Use this tool to check. https://www.whoishostingthis.com/
6. What type of SSL should you purchase?
This will depend on what type of website you have. If you have a shop where you collect credit card details. Then you would definitely need a more advanced SSL. If you have an information website. Then the cheapest SSL may do! Contact your web host to discuss this with them.
There is even a free SSL called Let’s Encrypt. So just ask your web host if this is available.
7. The steps to install SSL for WordPress
- Purchase SSL from your web host.
- Ask the web host to install it for you. They should notify you when it’s done!
- Log in to WordPress.
- Go to the Settings panel.
- Go to the Site Address (URL) and WordPress Adress (URL)
- Add the “s” to the end of “http”. For example; “https”
- Then click update.
- WordPress will log you out.
- Log back into WordPress.
- Go to Plugins.
- Search and install a plugin called Really Simple SSL.
- Click the activate button.
- And you are done!
What this plugin does
It makes sure all the URLs in your site are “https” instead of “http”. This will prevent any security errors from showing in the browser.
8. Is SSL necessary?
Yes. It most definitely is now! Google has become very strict with security and data protection! To the point where it is now a ranking factor. What does this mean? Google has over 200 signals it takes into consideration when ranking a page. SSL is now one of these signals.
Your site won’t be penalised for not having SSL. But it may not rank as well without it.
To sum up
If your site does not have SSL installed. Quickly go to your host and order one. Then, as discussed above, install the Really Simple SSL plugin. This will ensure your site doesn’t look unsafe to potential visitors and customers. And will prevent your site from dropping in Google.