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Improve Your Website’s Security With SSL

January 30, 2015 — Simon Kelly

Improve Your Website's Security With SSL

What is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a way of encrypting website traffic between the web browser and the server and vice versa as well as authenticating a website.

As a general rule, SSL should be used anywhere where you are communicating information that should not be public.

Why would you want SSL?

If you are transmitting sensitive information on a web site, such as credit card numbers or personal information, you need to secure it with SSL encryption. It is possible for every piece of data to be seen by others unless it is secured by an SSL certificate. Even if you are not transmitting credit card information on your site, there are some other reasons you may want to use SSL:

  • You want to secure logins and signups on your site
  • You need to comply with privacy and security requirements
  • You want users to trust your site

Benefits of using SSL

  • Improve visitor trust
  • Security. The Heartbleed bug made it possible for hackers to listen to your web traffic. Having an SSL encrypts this web traffic.
  • Reduces possibility that the site is spam because the cost would be too much for spammers. So by having SSL it increases the trust that search engines will have on your site.
  • Search Engine Ranking Boost (Google confirmed SSL is a factor in ranking your website)
  • In some cases your site will actually be faster (if using SPDY from Google)
  • Login cookies will stay valid between all pages. When switching from a HTTP page to a HTTPS page (common on ecommerce sites) the login session is no longer valid due to the URL change. This can cause the visitor to be logged out which is an annoyance that you don’t need between your customers and the checkout.

Are there any downsides to using SSL?

Yes, although the downsides are not nearly enough to outweigh the benefits of using SSL.

  • If your site is established and you change URLs you lose Facebook like counts for your posts and pages. Facebook supports 301 redirects though, so if these are set up correctly by your web developer then you wont have any issues.
  • Old versions of web browsers do not handle SSL efficiently and this can cause your site to slow down for some visitors.

How to start using SSL

To get started you need to purchase and install an SSL certificate. The best place to get this is usually from your web hosting provider as they will be able to configure and set it up for you, however, this may come at a significant cost so make sure you do your research first to get an idea of pricing before making the purchase.

Be prepared that your certificate will not be issued straight away as you will need to validate your business with the SSL provider to prove you are in fact the correct owner before the security certificate is applied.

With all these benefits of SSL and the ease of implementation, we highly recommend that all websites have an SSL certificate.

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Author

Simon Kelly

Simon started his first web agency in 2009 which he merged with the SGD team in 2023. With a strong background in digital strategy and a history of working with fast-growing Australian companies, including CyberCX, Envato and Agency Mavericks, he's passionate about using ethical digital marketing that delivers business value. Simon's experience includes coaching digital agencies, running digital marketing workshops, driving growth and excellence within the SGD team.

Read more posts by Simon Kelly

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