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How to encrypt your website

Whether you’ve just created your website or you’ve made several over the years, it’s never too late to start thinking about website security. There are so many elements to website security, from firewalls to anti-virus software, but today we’re going to talk about the Secure Certificate every website needs – an SSL certificate.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate you can install on your server to encrypt the connection to your website and anyone connecting to it through their web browser. If you weren’t already aware, encryption helps keep any information sent over this connection private. The exact process of this is pretty complicated, but the short version is when a website and server connect, they go through a process known as the SSL handshake. Once both sides have validated and authenticated the other, both end up with a specific key. When data is sent from the browser, it “locks” it with its key, scrambling it so that its unreadable to anyone without that key. When the browser receives the data, it unlocks it with its own key, so that the data becomes readable again.

These steps ensure that user information is kept safe and secure.

But is an SSL certificate essential?

Yes, yes it is, for many reasons. First on the list is customer and user trust. Internet users are a savvy bunch these days. If they’re visiting a new or unfamiliar site, they’re likely to exercise caution before proceeding, particularly if it’s an e-commerce site. One of the signs of safety they’re likely to look for is the trusty padlock symbol in the address bar that all SSL-secured websites have. Not only does this show that a website is encrypted, but users can also click on the padlock to read details about the person or company that purchased the SSL, providing more peace of mind about the legitimacy of the website.

Beyond wanting customers to trust you, it’s also become an expectation from most major web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox. These web browsers require a website to have an SSL before they load it. If a website doesn’t have an SSL, any user trying to access it from one of these web browsers will hit a wall. Or, rather, a warning stating that your site might not be secure and that they should proceed with caution. Do you think many users would proceed after a warning like that? Yeah, didn’t think so.

The takeaway

Website encryption is important for everyone, from website owners to users to web browsers. While it may not seem like a big deal, SSL certificates play a vital role in making the World Wide Web a more secure place.

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