SSL certificates provide an easy way to secure website data. Even if you’re not selling anything, your website and your users will reap the benefits of enhanced privacy and verification.
As part of our ongoing series of posts leading up to Internet Privacy Week (Oct 18-24), let’s take a look at how SSLs help to secure your customers’ data.
What are SSL Certificates?
SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer certificates, are cryptographic protocols that provide a layer of encryption for transmitted data such as passwords, credit card information, or even email addresses. (Although most certificates employ Transport Layer Security protocols, we will use the familiar term SSL in this article). They also provide validation of the entity that runs the site, assuring you that you’re dealing with a legitimate business or organization.
You can recognize when a site uses SSL because the URL, or site address, will start with “https” rather than just “http”, as shown below:
Imagine a thief who goes around a parking lot checking door handles to find one that’s unlocked. He can help himself to everything in the unlocked car, but bypasses all of the locked cars.
SSLs work much the same way for websites. Whenever you open a website or submit information on a page, that data gets sent across a network that involves numerous different servers. Unencrypted data, like an unlocked car door, can be intercepted anywhere along the way.
SSLs offer protection for that data. By encrypting it before it gets transmitted, the information becomes worthless to anyone trying to access it. When your data reaches the company with which you’re doing business, it then gets validated and safely unencrypted.
The Trust Factor
A key reason to purchase SSL certificate for your website is to build trust with your customers.
Consumers want reassurance that their information is secure when they submit it on a website. This is especially true for e-commerce sites where visitors are asked to provide their credit card information. In a 2014 survey conducted by GlobalSign, 84% of customers said they would abandon a transaction if they felt the connection was insecure. So without an SSL certificate, you could be driving business away.
Trust is also a factor on non-commerce sites. When someone is creating an account, logging in, or even filling out a form with personal information, they like to know the site receiving that information is secure. Seeing the SSL also reassures customers that they are on a company’s official website rather than a fake ‘phishing’ site.
In addition to the indicators that browsers show on an SSL-secured site (i.e. https or the “green bar”), many SSL certificates offer trust seals that you can place on your site.
The more trust you can convey to your site visitors, the better the conversions. Adding an SSL certificate is good for your bottom line.
We all want our websites to rank higher in Google search results. Adding an SSL certificate can help with that as well.
In 2014, Google began giving ranking preference to sites that use SSL assurance. The company stated in a blog post that the influence on search rankings was small, but that it might increase the importance of SSL in its search algorithms in the future. Google has a goal of all sites being secured with SSL. So even if you have a blog or website that doesn’t involve e-commerce or login data, there’s a still a real benefit to adding SSL protection.
Types of SSLs
There are several different types of certificates that include the same essential level of encryption. SSLs with advanced features are ideal for certain websites.
If you are trying to secure a blog or other basic site in which security isn’t a top concern, consider a basic “Domain Validation” (DV) certificate. These don’t require paperwork and are easy to purchase and set up.
To secure a site with login credentials or forms that collect personal information, choose an “Organization Validation” (OV) certificate. In addition to securing your site, you can get a dynamic site seal to display to your visitors.
E-commerce sites should consider an “Extended Validation” (EV) certificate, which provides the highest level of validation. Sites with (EV) certificates show the familiar “green bar” in the browser’s address bar along with the company’s name.
Secure Your Website Today
To protect the privacy of your customers, add an SSL certificate to your website. They’re cheaper than ever and provide benefits even if your site doesn’t handle sensitive information.
SSL certificates used to costs hundreds of dollars, but today even a more advanced SSL certificate is quite affordable. You can buy an SSL certificate on Namecheap for as little as $9.00 per year.
SSLs are a great way to demonstrate your commitment to responsible and secure data transmission.
To show your support for internet privacy rights, be sure to sign the Internet Privacy Bill of Rights, part of Namecheap’s Internet Privacy Week.
Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, the longest-running blog covering the business of domain names. Domain Name Wire has covered the business of domain name investing for over ten years.