6 Apr, 2017

SSL Certificates & Why You Need One

Over 6 months ago the web started buzzing with the news that Google intended to step up their war on the unencrypted web, and sure enough when they released their latest version of Chrome in January this year, a new warning started to appear for unencrypted login sites. 
That’s basically any website with a login area that uses the HTTP protocol. And as with most digital trends, other browsers were quick to follow suite. So how do you stop browsers from marking your site as unsecure? Well, you get an SSL certificate…

What Is An SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is like a digital passport. When a browser like Chrome attempts to connect to a website (web server) secured with SSL, the browser will request that the web server identifies itself. To do this, the web server passes the browser a copy of its SSL certificate.

The browser will then assess that SSL certificate to determine if it trusts it or not. If it does, it will send a message to the web server accepting the SSL certificate and the web server will send back a digitally signed acknowledgement to start an SSL encrypted session. Encrypted data is then shared between the browser and the web server.

So what an SSL does, is essentially provide the authentication needed to start secure sessions between a browser and a website using the secure sockets layer, which is where the abbreviation SSL comes from. Its purpose is to protect the confidentiality, privacy and integrity of that communication between a website and a browser.

Why You Need An SSL Certificate

Having an SSL certificate has a number of benefits but most importantly for the context of this blog, is that an SSL provides the HTTPS protocol, which will prevent browsers from flagging your website as unsecure.

Marking unencrypted login sites as unsecure is just the start though. Google has also announced longer term plans to warn Chrome users away from all sites served over unencrypted HTTP, starting with users browsing in incognito mode but eventually rolling the warnings out to all users.

The way the warning is delivered will become more aggressive too, moving away from the relatively subdued warnings we’re seeing at the moment to a more dramatic, and more importantly harder to ignore, red triangle warning symbol.

That means getting an SSL and making the move to HTTPs is going to become even more important over the course of 2017 if you want to avoid alienating your users and losing traffic thanks to that rather alarming triangle.

Even taking Chrome out of the equation though, as concerns about online security in general increase, then having an SSL is going to be a wise move when it comes to futureproofing your website and reassuring your users that they can interact with your website safely and securely.

And at least for now, it may even help you stand out from the competition. Speak to one of our digital experts today about getting an SSL certificate in place for your website.