SSL certificates have taken the web by storm. Only a few years ago, half of the Internet was unsecured. Today, the most optimistic reports claim that web encryption has surpassed the 90% mark. And while this may be the case across Google services, other studies paint a different picture. According to 101domains, less than 1 in 3 websites has an SSL certificate.
SSL encryption has gone from a specific requirement for e-commerce and financial sites, to a mandatory component for everyone. Whether you’re an emerging blogger or a massive e-store, an SSL certificate is crucial to your online project. But digital certs offer much more than just encryption and web security. In this article, we give you 10 reasons why your website needs an SSL certificate.
SSL certificates protect sensitive data and ensure web security
At its core, an SSL certificate provides unbreakable encryption to websites. Without SSL, all sensitive data travels in plain text and becomes an easy target for hackers. If a visitor enters personal details on your site over the not secure HTTP protocol, a cyber-criminal can employ a man-in-the-middle attack and intercept the visitor’s private information before it reaches your server. SSL certificates eliminate this threat by encrypting data in transit.
SSL certificates provide authentication
Certificate Authorities, the entities that sign and issue SSL certificates, perform thorough checks on the applicants. At the basic level (Domain Validation), the CA will verify and confirm domain ownership. However, if you’re an officially registered business, the CA will also authenticate your company (Business or Extended Validation). This will give your visitors peace of mind when browsing and shopping on your platform.
SSL certificates are a requirement for PCI compliance
Do you accept and process credit card payments? If yes, then you must comply with the stringent PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) guidelines where SSL certificates are an important element. PCI non-compliance may result in hefty penalties by credit card companies, legal action, and revenue loss. By the way, we’ve already written about the latest PCI DSS version and what it means in the context of SSL certificates.
SSL Certificates Improve Customer Trust
For many users, the SSL padlock is the first indicator of a trustworthy website. Sure, the padlock alone isn’t enough, especially if the certificate validates just the domain. However, when the cert authenticates a business, users can click the padlock and further inspect the SSL certificate, including the issuer (is the CA reliable?) and the subject (What company is behind the website?).
SSL Certificates enhance brand image and reputation
If there’s one thing capable of destroying your brand image in a matter of days, that’s the lack of proper web security. SSL certificates will not protect you against all the threats, but they will protect your visitors’ names, addresses, and payment details. Nowadays, when finding a website without SSL is harder than spotting a shooting star in the sky, the difference in perception between HTTP and HTTPS is huge. Keeping your site on the obsolete HTTP is plain unprofessional. On the other hand, a commercial SSL certificate from a reliable CA means high-security standards and a reputable website.
Google want’s your site to be over HTTPS
Google may want many things, and you may not agree with all its policies, but when it comes to encryption you have no other choice. SSL certificates have gone from optional to almost mandatory the moment Chrome began flagging the HTTP website as Not Secure. Of course, no one will force you to migrate over HTTPS. That decision rests on your shoulders. However, if you don’ make the switch, the consequences could be fatal for your website. And this brings us to the next reason.
SSL Certificates safeguard your traffic and maintain customers
No SSL certificate means a security warning from Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers. As soon as someone hits Enter to load your website, the browser will tell them that their connection is not private. The majority of users will close the site and move to your competition. Your traffic will plummet, and you’ll become irrelevant. If you’re starting a new website, install the SSL certificate during development, before it goes live. This way, you won’t have to worry about the dreaded SSL warnings ever again.
SSL Certificates protect against phishing attacks.
Phishing attacks are on an unprecedented rise. These scam attacks are highly effective, and worst of all, easy to carry out. In a typical phishing attack, a hacker will impersonate a well-known entity such as your favorite gaming portal, vendor, or even bank and urge you to take action. For instance, the scammer will ask you to send your passwords or payment details over a link. The site we’ll look almost identical to the authentic company, except for one big difference: it won’t have a commercial SSL certificate to validate it. Extended Validation certificates offer users a simple way to determine whether a website is genuine or fake.
SSL Certificates speed up your website
Page speed has a significant impact on SEO. Many people mistakenly believe that SSL certs slow websites down, when in fact, they provide a welcome loading time boost. There’s a relatively new development in web servers called HTTP2. It uses a single connection instead of multiple parallel connections, transfers file faster and replaces bulky text data transfer with binary data. HTTP2 increase page load but works only with an SSL certificate. If your web server supports HTTP2, use its benefits to your advantage.
Be a part of the “HTTPS Everywhere” campaign
When Google announced its intention to encrypt the entire web in 2014, many skeptics laughed off the idea. Fast forward 5 years, and it’s becoming a reality. Across Google, over 90% of websites are already encrypted. The search engine giant, through a series of clever actions, pushed websites of all types and sizes to join the HTTPS revolution. By becoming part of the new trend, you make the internet a much safer place.
SSL certificates are the new norm. They are as essential as getting a domain name and web hosting for your site. Best of all, as hopefully, this article has shown you, they bring many more benefits to your site than just sensitive data encryption. If you don’t have an SSL certificate yet, now is the time to get it. Our SSL Wizard can quickly recommend the perfect certificate for your project based on your needs and budget. Give it a try.