Earlier this year we wrote to all existing web design customers about Google’s plans to push website owners into securing their website using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. We’ve had many customers take the appropriate action, and, as it’s Cyber Security Month, we are reminding those who have not yet done so, to do so. If you’re here, the chances are you probably haven’t opted for SSL just yet. You might even be asking, what is SSL, and why should I have it? I’ll do my best to explain below!
Well, what is SSL?
Secure Sockets Layer, SSL, is a type of encryption method that is used across the internet. When we apply SSL to a website, essentially what it does is it encrypts the connection between your visitor, and your website.
So when a user visits your website, that connection is encrypted, meaning that any information passing through from their device is encrypted, and decrypted when it reaches the server. Your website might collect some personal data such as names, addresses, passwords, even credit card information. If some nasty hacker or identity thief was to be ‘listening in’ on that connection, and it wasn’t encrypted, it could cause problems for you and your customers, financially and legally.
Finding out whether a website has SSL (in other words, it’s been given an SSL certificate), is quite simple: when you are on the website, take a look at the address bar in your browser. It’ll say https:// (note the ‘s’ – Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), and, depending on your browser, will have a padlock somewhere. Google Chrome has a green padlock, and will say ‘secure’.
Why should I have it?
Let me be completely honest. The internet is, by it’s own design and nature, a pretty insecure place. Encryption is incredible technology, and though it can never be claimed to be a 100% silver-bullet answer to a security concern, it’s certainly the best shot we have at securing this avenue of information transfer. That’s why, when you do your online banking, or you buy something from a big online shop, they always have SSL – the green padlock in the corner.
It would be easy to say that, as a lot of our customers are small businesses, that hackers might have ‘bigger fish to fry’. There might be some truth in that, but cyber criminals are going to take any opportunity which presents a financial gain to them.
If I’m doing some shopping on an e-commerce website, and there’s no green padlock when I come to log in, or when I come to enter my credit card information, I’m out of there. To me, that’s very concerning – my sensitive details are being transmitted without encryption. By having that padlock – an SSL certificate – you’re giving your customer a bit more assurance with their transaction or visit.
Even if your website is not an e-commerce system, or even just a static website, then consider this: Google Chrome – the browser used by over 55% of the world, has started to mark websites as ‘not secure’ if they do not have an SSL certificate. This month, any forms, including contact forms, will also show as not secure.
Search Engine presence
Developing the point just above, it’s also beneficial for your search engine optimisation (SEO). Google are moving in the direction of favouring websites with SSL – just do a Google yourself and you’ll see how many websites have https:// at the start of their web address.
How do I get an SSL certificate, and how much is it?
If you’re interested, just drop us a line through our form or give us a shout on 01543 573329, and we can get the ball rolling. There’s typically two types we offer – a standard SSL certificate, appropriate for static websites and those using our content management system (CMS), and there’s one designed for e-commerce websites. The standard just gets the job done and encrypts, where as the e-commerce SSL also offers a warranty.
The cost really isn’t much at all. The standard SSL has a low, one-off payment for installation, plus a very low yearly renewal. Our e-commerce level SSLs are a little more money, due to their warranty, and the yearly fee includes the installation. Just drop us a line and we’ll go through the pricing with you.
Customers on our Peace of Mind hosting and maintenance package, and SEO customers, receive a standard SSL certificate as part of their plan. Want to know more about our maintenance package? Scott posted on our blog a little while ago talking about how we can maintain and host your website, and the price is very reasonable indeed.
Please note: if we’re your web designers, and we host your website, we will do it for you. If we don’t host your website, I’m afraid we cannot install an SSL certificate for you – you’d need to speak to your current hosting provider.
Let us know if you want any more information, and thanks for reading!