The Google Chrome browser displays a 'Not Secure' warning next to a website in the address bar if the site is not secured and does not have an SSL certificate. But what is SSL and does your site even need it?
What Is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This is a safe way small businesses use to communicate with their customers so that they can browse, buy products and services and safely share information with them online as well. Think of SSL as something that protects both your site and its visitors from many digital bugs, issues and those with malicious intent. SSL ensures that sensitive information especially can be communicated between the visitor's browser and the web server safely.
What Does An SSL Certificate Do?
But how does it work? Well, an SSL certificate is something that works to create an encrypted connection between your visitor's browser and the website's server. Something called a 'handshake' process establishes a secure session between the browser and the web server and all this happens without any of it interrupting or interfering with the browsing experience. So, in short, the SSL certificate works to protect the information being passed between the two points.
Does Your Site Really Need One?
So does your website really need an SSL certificate? The first thing to understand in this respect is that no site is too small to be hacked or tampered with. Secondly, Google will mark your website as not being secure if it is not protected with an SSL certificate. However, apart from both these reasons, an SSL certificate is especially important if you accept payments or collect data. An SSL certificate will help your site:
Accept Payments Securely
If you want to ensure the safety and security of your customer's payment information, then an SSL certificate is an absolute must.
Secure Web Forms
Forms are a great way to collect information. Without an SSL certificate this type of information can be easily intercepted. An SSL certificate will help you secure your online forms.
Protect Password Pages
Your website might have a few or all of its pages as password protected and an SSL certificate is a must if you want to protect your pages from being defaced or deleted altogether.