There has been a lot of chatter about SSL’s recently, at least in my world, so I thought I’d write a quick post about it. This article will discuss SSL certificates–what they are, where to get them, and if you even need one.

What is the purpose of an SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates are traditionally used for e-commerce sites that take payments through their site for purchased goods. Information collected is usually in the form of financial information such as credit card information, customer addresses and phone numbers. SSL stands for secure socket layer. While this may sound like a highly technical term, all it really means is that if you have an SSL certificate on your site, any financial information is encrypted and will only be seen by the intended recipient. The SSL certificate puts random characters in the original data being transmitted and the only people can can decrypt that information are the people/website owner with the encryption key. The idea is to provide safe passage for all the information being transmitted from your visitor to you via your website.

Where Do I Get An SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates are issued to people and companies that have proven their identities by going through several identity checks. Most hosting companies provide SSL certificates as an added service for people who want their sites to be extra secure. This is an add-on feature that is charged as an extra fee to your monthly or yearly subscription with your hosting company.

How Much Do SSL Certificates Cost?

SSL Certificates can be very expensive depending on where you purchase them. Like I said, this is an add-on feature sold separately. The cost of an SSL Certificate for a single site starts around $80-$100 per year in addition to your hosting costs. But you can get them for free too.

How Is An SSL Certificate Installed?

Once you have purchased your SSL certificate, you will find tutorials through your hosting company on how to install it. It usually requires downloading files and installing them on your server. Your server is the server space on your hosting account. You can see how I did it by simply clicking one button.

Here’s how it worked for me. See that red arrow in the image? All I had to do was click the SitePlus+ link.

do you need an SSL certificate for your site

When Ii did that, it brought me to this screen below. All I had to do was click the On button and wait a minute or so.

Then I checked my site to make sure I had the little green lock in my address bar.

And that is really how easy it was for me! No applications. No waiting for confirmation of information.

Does Having an SSL Certificate on My Site Prevent Hacking?

Ok, so this is important. To answer the question—NO. That’s because there are many different ways your site can get hacked. SSL certificates are designed to protect financial and personal customer information transmitted over the internet on your site. Your site can still get hacked but the information the hackers get will be useless.

Do I Really Need an SSL Certificate for My Site?

This is a question that can only be answered by you. From a search prospective, sites with SSL certificates are considered more trustworthy because they have that lovely little green lock in the address bar. You see this on any secure site especially shopping sites. You know yourself that if you see a little green lock in the address bar for any site you visit, you know that the information you provide to that site will be secure. So what if you don’t have an e-commerce type site? Do you need an SSL certificate for your site? Just because you don’t have an e-commerce site doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from an SSL certificate especially if it can give your audience more peace of mind when they visit your site.

Will An SSL Certificate Help My Rankings?

Google is now taking this into consideration when ranking sites and giving secured sites, sites with SSL certificates, better rankings because they are considered trustworthy. More and more sites are adding SSL certificates for this very reason.

Rankings tend to improve for sites with SSL Certificates

Having an SSL certificate on your site can really help your rankings as well as put your audience at ease. Your visitors will know when they visit your site that your site and the information is secured. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll get right back to you.