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If you sell anything online, transfer sensitive data, or you want your website to load faster, you need to have an SSL installed.

Security is imperative when you’re transferring sensitive information like social security numbers and credit card info. Did you know that hackers can intercept, read, and steal data transferred between your customers and your website? They can if your website isn’t protected with a security certificate.

Using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption can protect your data transfer. An SSL (also called a security certificate) is what you purchase from your hosting company to activate the already, built-in, security encryption feature in modern browsers today. SSL helps protect an entire domain name, sub-domain or multiple related sites.

How it works

With a certificate in place, it encrypts the data being passed from the user to the site owner. The 128-bit SSL certificate gives your users the highest level of possible protection whenever they use their credit card or other confidential information on your website. It would take longer than the age of the universe to crack a 128-bit key encryption. The standard lock icon and https will give your visitors assurance—knowing their information will be safe.

Masking your https

In some cases, it’s necessary to set up a “redirect” to mask https on areas of a site that contain unsecured information. For instance, if there’s content being pulled from outside of the protected domain, the user would get a warning message warning them that not everything on the web page is secure—you don’t want this—this scares your visitors away. Ask your host provider to set up a mask if you have integrated content that comes from other websites. However, if your site uses

Ask your host provider to set up a mask if you have integrated content that comes from other websites. However, if your site uses iframes, SSL will protect i-framed content, just as long as the iframe’s content is on the same server under the same protection of the certificate.

Two kinds of certificates

You hosting company will offer two certificate options. The first is the standard which gives your customers the protection they need with the indicating https and lock icons.

https

The second option gives the user an additional green highlighted indicator bar in the browser with an ownership verification tag.

https-paypal

With the first choice, if a user clicks the https on their browser, they get information detailing the security level, but no owner name. The second option gives them an owner name, the owner’s location, and a green bar.

I think both options are well worth it. I’ve seen high-level sites use both. I think the biggest concern for the user is if the information they’re sending is protected.

The second level of protection gives the user confidence knowing they’re interacting with the right company website. Some websites are fake and extra trust indicators are necessary especially for sites like PayPal.

Speed

It used to be that security certificates slightly slowed down your site, but that’s not the case anymore. It’s now the opposite. If you’re using a modern browser, https can speed up your website. I won’t get into the technical details here; it just does. Plus, Google now ranks sites with https higher.

The price for these certificates starts at free. Ask your hosting provider to install one for security and faster loading.

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Published: updated on 07/03/2017.
About Neal Chester

Neal Chester is a web designer, teacher, writer, and marketing consultant. He places emphasis on user experience and conversions. Visit his website and connect with him on Linkedin.