Why Do I Need an SSL Certificate?

Bridget M Burns / November 24, 2018

You’ve built your website and a loyal following. Now, it’s time to protect the privacy of your site visitors. If you’re conducting online sales or collecting personal information, you should ask yourself, “Do I need an SSL certificate?”

No site is too small of a target for hackers, and without encryption, your customers’ private information is at risk of being intercepted. According to WIRED, many websites still aren’t using this basic security feature. Luckily, obtaining an SSL certificate is straightforward and inexpensive.

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL certificate is a small data file installed on a web server to provide a secure connection between that server and web browsers. Once installed, the website address will change from the standard HTTP, to HTTPs (with the added “s” standing for “secure”). The certificate uses something called public-key cryptography to encrypt data shared between browsers and the website.

Why do I need an SSL certificate?

If you accept payments online, you’ll want to secure the information transferred when those payments are submitted. If your customers are logging into your website, it’s best to use an SSL certificate for an added layer of protection.

You may also want an SSL certificate if you’re adding any sort of contact form to your website. Even if visitors only use a form to make inquiries, you’ll still need their email addresses to respond to them. Would your customers be comfortable filling out personal information on a site that is not encrypted?

How do I get an SSL certificate?

Nowadays, it’s easier and less expensive to obtain an SSL certificate than it used to be. If your site was built using WordPress.com, the good news is that you’re already encrypted, as WordPress automatically installs SSL certificates on all WordPress.com sites.

If you built your site elsewhere, a Google search will yield several options for purchasing an SSL certificate. You can also obtain a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt (the open certificate authority used by WordPress.com).

When it comes to security, the internet can be an intimidating place. With an SSL certificate, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done everything you can to protect the privacy of your site users.

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