Security is a key factor in protecting not only your website but your website visitors. Securing your site builds customer confidence and trust in your site and your brand. One of the tools that we use to secure sites is the installation of an SSL certificate.

So what is SSL?

SSL is an acronym for “Secure Socket Layer”. It’s a web technology that encrypts data when it is being sent to and from your website and the visitor’s browser. Even if the data is intercepted, it cannot be read as it is encoded meaning your visitors private data remains private.

How do I know if a site is SSL secured?

The first sign is the web address. If the address of the site starts with https:// (‘S’ stands for secure) instead of http:// then the site is being protected by an SSL certificate.

Depending on which browser you are using, (in this case we are using Chrome) you will see a little green lock next to the website address if the site protected by SSL.

SSL Secure Green Lock

As SSL is becoming more and more widespread, the more and more of your visitors will be looking to see if your site is secure. This is how SSL builds confidence and trust.

Why should I consider installing an SSL certificate on my site?

If you are operating an ecommerce site or any other type of site that captures sensitive data like credit card details, personal or financial information, usernames, passwords, addresses, phone numbers or even email addresses, then it is strongly recommended that you validate your site’s identity with an SSL certificate so all this data is encrypted.

Do I apply SSL across my entire site?

That’s a good question. You can choose to only add SSL to certain pages, such as pages that contain forms, check out pages, login pages etc. This will secure only those pages that contain sensitive data. Those pages that are secure will display the green lock and https://, those pages not running SSL will display a grey lock or no lock at all. However, it has become best practice to secure all pages on your site with SSL. The consistency of seeing the green lock and https:// across you entire site is far more reasurring to visitors than mixed signals.

Will SSL alleviate all of my security concerns?

Unfortunately no, total website security is never that easy. Installing an SSL certificate on your site definitely protects data when it’s transferred, but it is not a “magic bullet”. Think of it this way, an SSL certificate secures data when it is being transferred but not when it is at rest. For additional site security it is important to secure the server that houses the website as well. Server security is a new topic which we’ll keep for another day.

But for now, digest the information here and we’ll investigate even further in our next post about how SSL can help with your website rankings.