Meaning of SSL Certificate
Secure Socket Layer certificates, commonly abbreviated as SSL certificates, were originally developed by Netscape in 1994. Ever since, SSL certificates have gained popularity, becoming the accepted standard for website security.
The primary purpose of SSL certificates is to provide web traffic security between communications on the internet. By security, I mean all security elements, such as data confidentiality and privacy, data integrity, and proper authentication. To achieve all these security elements, the secure socket layer must apply cryptography technology and use digital signatures.
The cryptography technology enables the SSL certificate to safeguard sensitive data and information. The certificate combines with the HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) to bring the HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) to life, securely transferring all communications between web servers and web visitors’ browsers.
To ensure that data exchanged is not altered or tampered with, each communication transferred between two ends on the internet will have a digital signature attached to it. The digital signature carries the public key information. With the decryption key, intruders will not be able to read and decipher the message. SSL certificates remain a significant part of every website owner’s security. The following are just some of the few instances when the SSL certificate becomes essential:
- They are essential in securing online transactions involving credit cards, debit cards and other data related attacks, including data theft, MiTM.
- They play a significant role in securing login credentials and other hosting control panel activities like parallels.
- They secure login details, such as passwords and usernames, and all sensitive data that users fill.
- They secure Outlook Web Access, Exchange services like mail, OWA, Autodiscover, SMTP, IMAP, POP.
- SSL plays a significant role in the security of cloud-based computing systems.
- They will help to secure the communications between the email clients and the email servers.
At this point, it is clear that you need an SSL certificate for your website for the sake of your website’s security. However, it is essential to note that an SSL certificate gives more than security. It has an array of benefits to the users. Let us now have a look at some of the benefits of having an SSL certificate.
Reasons Why Your Website Needs an SSL Certificate
The following are the reasons why you must have an SSL certificate on your website.
· Increase the Security of your Website
Websites carry a lot of sensitive data that needs protection. User data such as credit card numbers, debit card numbers, social security numbers, health records, financial information, among others, should be protected from cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Hackers are looking to get access to these sensitive data and use them for their malicious purposes.
There is no perfect way of protecting users’ data other than having an SSL certificate. Usually, information your users share with you will pass through several computers before it reaches your servers. As data travels between two points on the internet, hackers can easily lay their traps to try and access the data. Without proper security tools and measures, the information will be vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The SSL certificates will encrypt all sensitive data as it travels between your servers and users’ browsers. Encryption turns the data into indecipherable gibberish. It will be useless for intruders to try and access such communication because they will not understand it. SSL certificates deliver data to the right recipient without any faults or alterations. If you want to survive data breaches and cyberattacks such as man-in-the-middle attacks, you must start thinking about acquiring and installing an SSL certificate on your website. Luckily for you, many cheap SSL certificate options will offer the utmost encryption for your website.
· Safety for All Subdomains
When I talk of a website, I don’t just mean the home page. SSL certificates should provide security to all your website segments, including your primary domain and subdomains. A special kind of SSL certificate called the wildcard SSL certificate is better placed to provide the required encryption levels to your primary domain and an unlimited number of subdomains.
With the wildcard SSL certificate, you do not have to purchase different SSL certificates for every subdomain. A single wildcard will secure all your first-level subdomains. If you decide to include more subdomains within your main domain in the future, you can be sure to have the wildcard SSL certificate to cover your new subdomains automatically. Wildcard SSL certificate has, therefore, made security a cost-effective and straightforward task. It is, without doubt, the most cost-effective and cheap SSL certificate option that you can ever think of.
In addition, it will save you time, money, and all the hassle involved in managing multiple SSL certificates.
· SSL Certificate for Increasing Customer Trust and Credibility
SSL certificates play a significant role in enhancing trust and proving the credibility of a business.
Apart from just encrypting sensitive data and information on the internet, the SSL certificates are of great essence from a customers’ perspective. Nowadays, web visitors understand the threat landscape. They will not be willing to put their data into jeopardy by dealing with unsafe websites. A Google’s Transparency Report reveals that most web visitors now prefer HTTPS over HTTP websites. Web visitors want to confirm that a site is secure before going ahead to transact or browse through the website.
To confirm if a website is genuine, website visitors will look at the URL of the website. A website with URLs starting with HTTP is insecure, while HTTPS websites are secure. Additionally, the secure website will have a padlock icon. Users can click on the padlock icon to learn more about your business and establish a genuine business.
Before certificate authorities issue SSL certificates, they will first take you through a comprehensive validation process. The certificate authority will validate your identity before they can issue the SSL certificate. Once you prove your identity, your website will receive trust indicators to vouch for your integrity. Such verification ensures that no imposter creates a fake website that pretends to be your website.
The SSL certificate will assure your visitors that the data they share with you will remain secure. Once your web visitors know that you are a legitimate and valid entity, they will be more than willing and ready to do business with you. If you want to win your customer trust, increase your leads and conversion rates, then you must install an SSL certificate today.
· Role of SSL Certificate in Search Engine Optimization
In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS websites would receive an upper hand in search engine results pages. It meant that websites with an SSL certificate would rank higher than those websites without an SSL certificate. It is the wish of every website owner to be visible on search engine results pages.
The SSL acts as a tiebreaker in a situation where two or more websites have tied in all the other ranking factors. Previous studies prove a positive correlation between the presence of an SSL certificate and high ranking in search engine result pages. If you want to appear top of your competitors and reign the first search engine results pages, then you should make the HTTP to HTTPS migration as soon as today. All you need to hit the peak of search engine pages is an SSL certificate.
· SSL Certificate Improves Website Speeds
Page speeds are critical in SEO and user experience. Website owners must ensure that they improve their page speeds. One of the most significant benefits of the Secure Socket Layer is that it works with HTTP/2, whose focus is to increase website performance. By installing an SSL certificate on your website, the website will use HTTP/2, which will lead to improved loading speeds.
· User Experience Becomes Better on HTTPS Websites
How safe would your users feel if their browsers warned them that their connection is not secure? “Your connection is not secure” is the error message your web visitors receive if your website does not have an SSL certificate.
Such a message will discourage your users from browsing through your website. Users will not have the confidence they so much require browsing comfortably through your site and share their sensitive details, all because they fear being victims of data breaches and cyber threats.
User experience is an important factor that determines the success of your business. To increase user experience, you need to ensure that your users are confident in your website; therefore, you should have the SSL certificate.
Data breaches are increasing. Attackers are targeting websites, and it is time for website ownersto rise to the occasion and put in place security measures to protect their websites from cyber-attacks. As you design a defense strategy for your website, always start with an SSL certificate. They secure your website and bring many benefits such as improving search engine ranks, increasing customer trust, enhancing your web speeds, and affirming your legitimacy. This article has explained what SSL certificates are and six reasons why you need to install an SSL certificate.