As a business owner, it’s important to ensure our visitors are safe when they interact with our business both in person and online.  Security and privacy are at the top of our minds as we browse, shop, and conduct business online.

What is SSL?

One way to ensure your website is a safe place for your customers is to add a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to your website. A SSL certificate ensures communication between your website and your client’s computer is secure by encrypting the information passing between computers. In other words, it helps to keep information between you and your visitor secure.

Does my website need SSL?

Before now, many business owners believed their website didn’t need an SSL certificate.  You may think, “I don’t take orders online or collect sensitive information from my visitors.  I have a static website listing my business, services, hours of operation, etc. There’s nothing secret out there.”  However, most websites are built on a core content management system (CMS), like WordPress.  If you can log into your website’s administrator dashboard and update your hours, write a blog post or add an image, your website needs SSL to be secure.

Aside from the importance of SSL to protect your data and your customer’s data, an SSL certificate builds trust with your customers. You know that building trust with your customers and the community is key to a successful long-term business. Building trust at your online business is becoming even more important.

You may have noticed browsers, like Chrome, show a label in the address bar when you visit websites.

This label has three states:

Secure: Websites with a valid SSL certificate installed.
Chrome Browser Secure Address Label

Not secure: Web pages that collect passwords or credit card numbers as non-secure, meaning no SSL certificate is installed.
Chrome Browser Not Secure Address Label

Neutral: Websites that do not have a valid SSL certificate, i.e. HTTP connections
Chrome Browser Neutral Address Label

According to Google, the Chrome browser will soon be labeling more websites Not secure. If your web address is currently labeled Neutral it will likely be labeled Not Secure beginning July 8, 2018.

The Not secure label is alarming to your visitors and will likely cause a decrease in your online traffic.

How can I get an SSL certificate?

There are a variety of SSL certificates available and even a free option called a Let’s Encrypt certificate.  Some hosts make it very easy for website owners to install and manage SSL certificates. Dreamhost, with whom I’m an affiliate, and Siteground both offer Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates for free with their hosting packages.  For the majority of websites, a standard SSL certificate, like the Let’s Encrypt certificates, is a perfect solution. If you have an eCommerce store, membership website or event management website you may need a special SSL certificate. In these cases you can easily purchase this certificate and install it on your website.

Interested in getting some help installing an SSL certificate?

At Fluid Minds we have been adding SSL certificates to all our customer websites over the last year. Adding and managing these certificate is part of our Website Care PlansGet in touch with us for more information!