Should you secure your website with SSL https:// encryption?
The answer is: YES.
By default most websites are not “secure.”
In other words, the data transferred from one point to another is NOT encrypted.
Here’s the logic simplified:
- Point A – your website hosting server
- Point B – your website visitor’s browser
- Data moves from A to B back to A, back to B, back to A, back to B… over and over!
To understand basic point-to-point encryption think of it this way.
Say you had sensitive data you were transferring either to or from someone visiting your website. A good example of this is credit card information.
WITHOUT encryption, when someone submits their credit card information, it is sent just as it was entered; a number, expiration date, security code.
WITH encryption the information transmitted is “scrambled” and virtually impossible to see.
WITHOUT encryption a sophisticated hacker can hijack this credit card information in a number of ways.
Encryption at your website is created using a SSL certificate. Once in place, it securely “scrambles” the data moving from your website to a user’s browser – everything!
You have to buy and install a SSL certificate on your hosting server, by default you won’t have one. Talk to your webmaster to explore the variety of options available to you. There are some “free” options, but like most things “free” they come with a downside or limitations.
Once you have a SSL certificate in place at your website, and it is installed and configured properly, you’ll transmit point-to-point data to/from your website using encryption in the form of https:// vs. non-secure http:// (without the “s”).
Not long ago Google told webmasters and website owners that they wanted to see “secured” point-to-point website communication – from hosting server to user and back-and-forth. Their position is that it makes the Internet a better and safer place – and they are correct.
They also implied it would be a SEO ranking factor. In other words, SSL secured websites “might be” better ranked at Google when compared to non-SSL secured websites.
So the question is: Should you get a secured certificate for you website/hosting?
The answer is: YES.
You do NOT have to and for the time being it probably won’t hurt your current rankings at Google, but generally speaking, (1) it’s a good practice and does make the Internet a safer place, and (2) if Google wants something relative to “potentially” getting better rankings on their search engine results pages… I’d give it to them!
Again, talk to your webmaster. This takes a bit of doing, there is some cost involved ($100 – $500), and it is a bit more complicated than simple website hosting management stuff.
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