SSL – The website padlock what does it mean?

You know the little padlock symbol you see in your browser bar? That shows whether a website is secure.

Https_Padlock

It technically means that the website has an SSL certificate. (SSL means Secure Sockets Layer!!!). If you’re storing any personal data on your website, you absolutely must have an SSL certificate, this encrypts the transmission of data.

In October 2017, Google implemented the second part of its plan to label any sites without SSL certificate as non-secure. So even if your site only has a contact form, unless it has an SSL certificate, your visitors might get a nasty warning. That will scare some visitors to your site, which may lead to them leaving your site altogether, as well as putting doubt on the professionalism of your company.

If you can’t trust a website, who can you trust?

That’s a question Google has been asking for a couple years now, ever since they announced they’ll be taking a more hard-line stance in penalizing sites that are served over the non-secure HyperText Transfer Protocol, or as you may be more familiar with it, HTTP… You know, like the way website addresses appear in your browser, followed by the colon double backslash.

Go to any bank or e-commerce website today and you’ll very likely see a subtle change that hasn’t affected your browsing experience in the slightest but has made your data infinitely more secure. Addresses of these “safe websites” begin with HTTPS because their content is being served over a secure connection.Believe it or not, that’s what the “S” in HTTPS actually stands for, secure.

Sometimes these secure websites may ask you to enter sensitive information, like your personal details or credit card number, but that’s not always the case, yet you’ll still notice a large green padlock icon appears to the left of the address bar, and that means your connection is truly secure. In today’s world, website security is an important topic for every website, not just corporations or financial institutions.

In plain English — HTTPS connections encrypt the user’s data so that hackers can’t snoop out their private information. This type of verification also lets a user know they’re on an authentic website, and not a doppelgänger set up by some random third party who’s really just trying to scam you. Google is leading the charge on website security, going as far as to mark traditional HTTP website connections as “unsafe” in Chrome, complete with a red “X” over the padlock this time.Not only are big red X being placed over padlocks but also yellow ones, indicating that some parts of the site may be unprotected. It’s not only through Chrome, but other browsers are now starting to highlight the insecure sites using different symbols and colour combinations.

Longterm, you can see where this is going if you do not have an SSL Certificate you will be penalised in the rankings by Google, as they will only promote those sites that are safe and secure to visit. You can purchase an SSL from your hosting company from around £45 per year. Once this is set up you will need to do a number of changes on your website to make sure that it is pointing to HTTPS, not your current HTTP.

If you need any help setting this up get in touch.

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