Do you need an SSL/TLS certificate for your website? If you're hoping to bring in more traffic, the answer is probably yes.
Typing “https” followed by “www.” has become instinctive, but have you ever stopped to consider what this abbreviation means and why it’s necessary?
The truth is, it all comes down to an SSL certificate.
What is an SSL certificate?
In brief, http stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The added “s” represents a Secure Sockets Layer which is a symbol of security.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is an authentication protocol that has since been replaced by Transport Layer Security (TLS), a more secure version of browser protection.
In other words, browsers that begin with https are protected by bi-directional encryption, meaning third-parties cannot access any of the data that is communicated between you and the person visiting your site.
This secured layer prevents anyone from accessing or stealing confidential data such as passwords, credit card numbers, and addresses. If your website is not protected by an SSL or TLS certificate, you will see that the URL is preceded by HTTP rather than HTTPS.
Chrome will typically issue a security warning if it detects that your browser is lacking an SSL/TLS certificate — which is something you’ll definitely want to consider if your goal is to bring traffic to your page.
Let’s briefly take a look at the various types of SSL/TLS certificates that exist.
Types of SSL/ TLSCertificates
Domain Validated (DV)
This certificate requires the least amount of validation and only protects the conversation between the domain web server and browser.
The certificate authority essentially proves that the owner has control over the domain.
Organization Validated (OV)
This certificate requires a moderate level of validation and is a great option for businesses or organizations, as the name suggests.
The certificate authority validates the associated company’s credibility as an operating entity.
Extended Validated (EV)
This certificate requires an extensive verification process to establish the highest level of trust for site visitors.
The certificate authority confirms various details such as the rights to the domain, existence of the associated company, and legal compliance.
If you haven’t already, you may want to consider buying an SSL certificate that corresponds to the needs of your organization.
How does an SSL/TLS certificate work?
To put things simply, the browser will attempt to connect with your server, and a blueprint of the SSL/TLS certificate will then be relayed.
After verification, the SSL/TLS certificate will send a message to the web server which opens the door for communication. After the approval, you can be sure that the data communicated on your site is both protected and encrypted.
Why have an SSL/TLS certificate?
1. Data protection
SSL/TLS certificates protect every minor detail that is communicated between a browser and a server. Data is encrypted end to end; meaning that only receivers can decrypt it. There is virtually no chance that a third party can access any of this confidential information.
2. Google search ranking
SSL/TLS certificates boost Google rankings, yielding more visibility on the search engine. This is extremely valuable for SEO purposes.
3. Stronger trust
Nowadays, the absence of a padlock before any URL is enough to turn customers away. SSL/TLS certificates have become the gold standard for security and will ultimately encourage traffic to your site.
4. Google mandates
From 2018 onwards, Google mandated the use of SSL/TLS certificates which is why they have been increasingly prevalent in recent years. Other browsers such as Chrome will warn visitors about the risk of an insecure connection, but don’t necessarily prohibit it.
5. Online payments
If your website facilitates online payments, it’s compulsory to have an SSL/TLS certificate to protect the data and credentials of users. Keep this in mind if you plan on utilizing digital channels as a source of revenue.
6. More traffic
Don’t underestimate the value of SSL/TLS authentication if your site is not yet protected. The obtainment process is relatively simple, and you don’t want to make yourself, or worse — your clients’ data vulnerable to theft.
By taking the extra step to secure your website, your visitors will thank you for keeping them safe and naturally be more willing to engage with you.
As you can see, an SSL/TLS certificate can do wonders for your business. Not only does this added layer of security help to increase traffic and establish credibility for your brand, but it also limits external threats and phishing attacks.
Investing in a certificate far outweighs the cost of the risks that you may run into if you choose otherwise.