SSl Certificate Basics: Most Websites Need It
With the ever-growing trend of HTTPS, SSL certificates, and a renewed focus on improved user experience, website owners are now emphasizing more and more on website security.
Cloud hosting and otherwise it doesn’t matter. If your site needs to remain secure you need an SSL certificate.
SSL certificates are the way towards having a safe and secure website.
If you do not know anything about SSL certificates, HTTPS, and website encryption, this is the perfect blog post for you.
In this article, we discuss the basics of SSL certificates, its role in improving website security, different types of SSL certificates, and how SSL affects a website’s search engine rankings.
What is an SSL certificate?
According to the definition by SSL.com:
“SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remain private.”
In simple words, when you install an SSL certificate to your website, it creates an additional layer of security, which ensures that whatever information users share on your site remains 100% safe and protected.
Also, when your website is protected by an SSL certificate, the URL changes from HTTP to HTTPS. The extra “s” represents the SSL certificate and additional layer of security.
In other words, website visitors can quickly and easily spot whether a website is secure or not — just by looking at its URL and whether or not it starts with HTTPS.
The importance of SSL certificates
As we just discussed, website visitors can quickly spot if your website is secured by SSL or not.
As concerns about online privacy and data protection continue to grow, online users are becoming more hesitant in visiting websites that do not guarantee 100% safety.
Websites without SSL certificates (HTTP websites) aren’t 100% secure. Whenever a visitor lands on such unsafe websites, Google Chrome explicitly warns users that they should not share any information, e.g., email address, credit card information, bank account info, etc.
This results in more and more people quitting the website as soon as they land on it. Moreover, it also directly impacts the site’s revenue and sales potential.
Different types of SSL certificates
Installing an SSL certificate isn’t really an option anymore — especially if you are competitors have already moved to HTTPS.
You need to provide the best user experience to your website visitors, and you cannot really do that without a safe and secure website. It means that you have to install an SSL certificate as soon as possible.
Besides, there are no disadvantages of installing an SSL certificate (except the cost that you have to bear), but there are plenty of advantages.
Once you start browsing, you will find out that there are a few different types of SSL certificates. Here is a quick rundown of the five common SSL types:
- Single domain SSL certificate
- Multi-domain SSL certificate
- Organization SSL certificate
- Wildcard SSL certificate
- Extended SSL certificate
If you have a single website or blog, the single domain SSL certificate would be the best option for you.
One important thing to note here is that the single-domain SSL certificate does not cover subdomains. If you also want subdomains covered, you should look into Wildcard SSL certificates. If you want multiple domains with multiple subdomains to be covered, a multi-domain SSL certificate would be a better option.
SSL certificates and search engine rankings
Does an SSL certificate affect and improve a website’s search engine rankings?
It does so directly and indirectly.
First, when you migrate from HTTP to HTTPS, your website gets a slight boost in the search engine rankings.
Second, an SSL certificate improves user experience, average page-on time, engagement rate, click-through rate, etc. All these factors eventually lead to improved rankings in the SERPs.
Brian Dean from Backlinko also conducted a study that showed a positive correlation between the use of HTTPS and top positions in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
As we mentioned earlier, installing an SSL certificate isn’t really an option anymore. If you truly want to become an authority in your niche, you must move to HTTPS.
Even More Reasons To Use SSL Certificates
Starting May of 2017, the Google Chrome browser will show a full-page warning whenever users are accessing an HTTPS website that’s using an SSL certificate that has not been logged in a public Certificate Transparency (CT) log.
By doing so, Chrome becomes the first browser to implement support for the Certificate Transparency Log Policy. Other browser makers have also agreed to support this mechanism in the future, albeit they have not provided more details.