What Is SSL Encryption and Why Is It Important?

With all the stories of hackers and identity theft, you know you need to be careful when it comes to protecting your private information. You want to stay safe online. But how do you know if you are safe?

You need to make sure you’re using a website you can trust.

HTTP, HTTPS, SSL and TLS are all acronyms that you may have heard but they may not mean very much to you. They are very important for your, and your customer’s, security.

You need to make sure you’re using a website you can trust. That also means that you need to make sure that your own website is considered trustworthy.


How do you know who to trust?

A while back, Google took a hard line when it came to the protection of consumer’s privacy. Makes sense. If they want you to trust them, they want the websites results they provide in their searches to be safe. What helps us, helps them.

To do this, Google changed their algorithm – how their search engine works. Basically, it now says that any site that does not have an SSL certificate is “downgraded” – less likely to show up in search results. If you happen to be in Chrome and you visit a site that does not use https, it could have a scary warning pop up. 


No one wants to visit a site that has scary warnings.


What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?

HyperText Transfer Protocol is how information is transmitted on the internet. If you want the techy description of exactly how it works, check out this article: https://www.w3schools.com/whatis/whatis_http.asp

When it comes to HTTPS, the important part is the ‘S’ at the end. The S stands for ‘Secure’ – it’s the same thing as HTTP but it’s encrypted. It protects the communication between your browser and the server of the website you are visiting from being intercepted by attackers. If they did intercept it, they couldn’t read it because it’s encrypted – they would only see random characters.



How can you tell if a website is secure?

When you see a website with HTTPS in front of its web address (or URL), that website has an SSL certificate. Also, you will see a little lock icon in the address bar of the website.

To stay safe, you should look for these 2 things of any site you’re visiting, especially if you are giving any information like your email or your credit card info.


What does this mean for you and your website?

If you have a website that collects private information such as email or credit card information, you absolutely HAVE to have an SSL to keep your customer’s data safe.

There are clear benefits to having a website that is secure because it allows you to be found on Google and other search engines. It also increases the security and peace of mind that visitors have when they come to your website.


How do you make sure your site is secure?

You need an SSL certificate. SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer.” It keeps your, and your clients, data encrypted and that means private.

Just to be a confusing, even though SSL is considered “old” technology, the term is still used interchangeably with the updated and more secure version of SSL which is TLS – “Transport Layer Security”.

Many website hosting companies provide SSL certificates for free. You can get more advanced certificates for a fee from your host or from authorized sellers.

If you are just starting, build your site the right way and make sure you have an SSL certificate before you get start.

If you already have a site and it’s showing that it’s not secure – you don’t see that little padlock in the address bar – talk to your host.


Here’s to safe surfing!