Why SSL certificates are important

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(Updated 14 June 2018)

In 2017, Google's Chrome update marked websites without an SSL certificate with a warning 'Not Secure'.

If your site doesn't have an SSL certificate, it seems like a matter of time before Firefox throws up an error message along the lines of:

 Firefox message on website connections to sites that do not have an SSL certificate or if the certificate is not strong enough and can't be validated. The message states 'the owner of this site has configured their website improperly. To protect your information from being stolen, Firefox has not connected to this website'.

According to Hubspot, 82% of visitors will turn away from visiting a site or would leave a site on learning that it is not secure.

SSL certificates matter

SSL (secure locket layer) certificates are important for all websites for the following reasons:

  • SSL certificates provide a secure connection between your site server and your visitors’ web browser. For ecommerce customers and general site visitors, an SSL certificate provides trust: important information like passwords, personal and credit card details are secure and protected by encryption when a site has an SSL certificate.

  • SEO (search engine optimisation). According to SearchEngineLand, Google’s ranking boost on search engine result pages for sites with an SSL certificate may serve as a tie breaker between two sites: if your website is equal to a competitor’s website in terms of speed, title tags, up-to-date and fresh content, but your competitor’s website has an SSL certificate and yours doesn't, Google will likely rank your competitor’s site higher than your site.

  • An SSL certificate is a digital public document that verifies that a legitimate company owns the website which is being accessed.

How do you know if a site has an SSL certificate?

In you browser's URL window, in front of the web address, you’ll see a green padlock,  with protocol notated as HTTPS if the site has an SSL certificate.

Websites without an SSL certificate do not have secure green padlock icon, with the protocol indicated as HTTP.

How do you organise an SSL certificate for your site?

Your website hosting company will likely offer SSL certificates for either a monthly or annual fee. Squarespace sites all come with SSL certificates built into their annual fee. 

For further information, see this great article by Andrea Zanin.

All websites developed by Site Content come with SSL certificates.