Most site owners think securing a website with SSL encryption is necessary only if they’re selling products or services via their website and collecting credit card information. What many website owners do not realize is that SSL encryption has other very important benefits for small-to-medium business owners, accommodation websites, restaurant websites and more.

What is SSL encryption?

SSL (which stands for Secure Sockets Layer), is an encryption technology that creates a secure connection between the server hosting your website and your website visitor’s web browser. This allows for information to be protected during communication between the two (like when a contact form or credit card information is filled in), without any interception from unwanted third parties (hackers).

How do I know if a website or my website is encrypted with SSL?

It is easy to identify a website that is secured by SSL. Firstly, the address or URL of the website will start with https:// instead of http:// and a green lock should be displayed adjacent. If your website does not have an SSL certificate, it might display a ‘Not Secure’ warning. If you are still unsure, use a tool like SSL Checker.

Why you need SSL encryption on your website

SSL builds trust with your visitors

Online users are more knowledgeable about security than they used to be in the early days of the internet. They are informed of common signs to check if a website is secured. Since July 2018, Chrome will make all HTTP sites (websites without a valid SSL certificate) as ‘Not Secure’.

Having an SSL certificate installed on your website not only encrypts your visitors private information on your site, your SSL certificate also confirms you are the verified owner of your website. Your SSL certificate is a confirmed credential that you are who you say you are. This will essentially build trust with the visitor.

SSL helps your website rank higher in search results.

Everyone wants to increase their search engine rankings, but it’s easier said than done. With an ever changing list of of criteria used by Google’s algorithms, which are often not publicly disclosed, you want to make sure you’re ticking the boxes for every known ranking indicator. Since 2014, Google has confirmed having an SSL certificate and your address starting with HTTPS will increase rankings.

It’s might be available for free, but not always

There are several SSL certificates available that offer different levels of encryption and features that vary in cost. However, check if your host has Let’s Encrypt – a free, automated, and open certificate authority brought to you by the non-profit Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). All hosting packages through this website include Let’s Encrypt for free and have RapidSSL, GeoTrust, Thawte and Symantec as paid options.