Creating a website comes with a whole heap of things you need to consider, from web hosting to web design. Whether you should purchase an SSL certificate may not be on the top of that list. However, getting your SSL certificate is absolutely something you should do before the launch of your site. Otherwise, you might find yourself in muddy security territory, with your site not functioning for many users. 

Read on to find out why.

What is an SSL certificate?

To understand the importance of SSL, it first makes sense to know what they do. Short for secure sockets layer, SSL is a type of digital certificate that encrypts your website connection when you install it on your server. This means that when anyone visits your website through their web browser, their connection will be secure. Data sent over it will be scrambled, essentially unreadable to prying eyes. It will only be readable to validated users at each end of the connection. 

There are several indications that a site is SSL-secured, one being the HTTPS address prefix in the web address bar. This is essentially the secure version of HTTP, the protocol that makes websites work. The “S” at the end stands for secure. The padlock symbol is also an indicator that many people know to look for. 

SSL has been around for a long time, and up until a few years ago it was considered a nice-to-have and not a must-have for your website. These days, things are different. 

The expectation of SSL everywhere

For a long time now, many tech industry giants have been pushing for HTTPS everywhere across the web. A web extension for this purpose has existed for ten years, but Google really got the ball rolling for the mass adoption of SSL when it made SSL an SEO ranking factor back in 2014. Now, all major web browsers have gotten on board. If you use browsers like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, you’ve likely noticed that they’ll all warn you if you try to visit a website that doesn’t have SSL. They’re not subtle warnings either; they’re usually accompanied by a big red screen and text warning you that the site isn’t secure, and asking whether or not you want to proceed. Chances are, most people don’t want to proceed.

So, if you have the expectation of people actually visiting your website, you better get used to the expectation of having SSL on your site.

Conclusion

Getting an SSL might at first seem like an extra hassle you don’t need, but these days it’s a necessity. Get one for your site today to protect you and your customers and keep web browsers happy.