Whenever I come across an eCommerce site or even just an informational business website that is not SSL-enabled, I shake my head. SSL stands for Secured Sockets Layer, also known as Transport Layer Security (TLS). It is a protocol that creates a secured connection between two machines over a network. What does SSL do, and why is it a must-have for any eCommerce site? Read on to find out.
Look for the Padlock
Web browsing is probably where SSL is most commonly used, even though it’s the only application. Depending on the Internet browser used, the indicator for an SSL-enabled connection may look different, but it usually incorporates a lock icon like the ones below. When there’s a lock icon by the browser address bar, that means the connection to the site visited is secure. Some browsers such as Google Chrome even display the word “Secure” to let users know that the connection is secure. Any link that starts with “https://” also means the website runs on a secured protocol, provided that its SSL certificate is valid.
The whole point of running a website over SSL, or HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), ensures that all data transmitted between a website and its visitors are encrypted. This data may include information that is very personal, such as passwords and credit card information. The reason why encryption is needed is that Internet traffic has to be routed through many different nodes before it gets to its destination, for example, a public Wi-Fi hotspot or a data center somewhere. SSL encryption ensures that data transmitted cannot be decrypted even if eavesdroppers listen in and transmission is compromised, thus protecting the privacy and sensitive information.
A Sense of Trust
Even if your site visitors don’t understand what SSL is and does, seeing that lock or secure indicator on their screens gives them confidence in your website and, therefore, would be more willing to use your website and do business with you, especially if your website is eCommerce enabled. I personally would never buy anything on or provide any personal information to a website that does not have a valid SSL certificate.
It used to be that only eCommerce sites that take online payments need SSL. After all, why secure a connection when the data transmitted isn’t sensitive? However, security is no longer the only benefit SSL provides. Having an SSL-enabled website gives you an SEO advantage, which stands for Search Engine Optimization. The reason for that is search engines such as Google favour SSL-enabled, secured websites over ones that are not. So even if you have an informational business site that doesn’t have a web store, SSL is still important because it gives your website more exposure and is, therefore, better for your business.
How to Get SSL
SSL certificates are issued by SSL authorities, often for a fee. You’ll notice that the prices of SSL certificates vary a lot depending on the provider and certificate type. Some SSL certificates even come with insurance covering site visitors for monetary losses from online frauds if the certificate authority is at fault. Most hosting companies offer SSL as add-ons to their hosting plans. Depending on the provider, it may be very easy or difficult to install SSL on a website.
SSL is a must-have for business websites, especially e-commerce sites. SSL makes eCommerce sites secure, boosts search engine ranking, gives consumers confidence, and improves overall business. All of our hosting and maintenance plans come with free SSL, so if you don’t already have an SSL-enabled website, why not have your website hosted or even designed by us? Click on the button below for a free consultation on how we can help you grow your business.