Look at the top of this page. In the address bar, you’ll see “HTTPS”—that “S” signifies that we have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, meaning your connection is secure. You should see one on any site that asks for personal data, especially payment information. Actually, these days, you should see one everywhere.
SSL certificates are important, especially if you’re running your own website. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a small blog or a full e-commerce site: you need an SSL certificate. Here are some practical reasons why.
Here are the five key benefits of using an SSL certificate.
1. SSL Protects Data
The core function of an SSL certificate is to protect server-client communication. On installing SSL, every bit of information is encrypted. In layman’s terms, the data is locked and can only be unlocked by the intended recipient (browser or server) as no one else can have the key to open it. While dealing with sensitive data such as IDs, passwords, credit card numbers, etc., SSL helps you protect against the mischievous army of hackers and skimmers. As the data is turned into the undecipherable format by SSL, hacker’s skills prove to be an edgeless sword against the unsurpassable encryption technology of SSL certificates.
2. SSL Affirms Your Identity
The second primary task of an SSL certificate is to provide authentication to a website. Identity verification is one of the most important aspects as far as web security is concerned. There is no doubt about the fact that the internet is increasingly deceptive. In 2009, a guy traveled 400 miles to meet a girl he had met on Facebook, only to discover that he was being duped by two guys who supported a rival football club. However, not all such stories are funny. There have been cases in which people have lost thousands of dollars on fake websites. This is where SSL certificate comes into play.
When you want to install an SSL certificate, you must go through a validation process set by an independent third party called a Certificate Authority (CA). Depending on the type of certificate, the CA verifies the identity of you and your organization. Once you have proved your identity, your website gets trust indicators vouching for your integrity. When users see them, they know who they’re talking to.
Think of this as verified Twitter accounts. The only difference here is that you are required to verify your identity for the website instead of Twitter account. Such verification makes sure that no imposter creates a fake website pretending to be yours. In technical terms, this is called Phishing. Thus, SSL helps users drive to your real website, saves users from frauds and enhances your reputation.
3. Better Search Engine Ranking
In 2014, Google made changes to its algorithm in order to give the upper hand to HTTPS-enabled websites. This has been evident in various studies conducted by SEO experts around the world. One such study conducted by Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko.com shows a strong correlation between HTTPS and higher search engine rankings.
Who doesn’t want to be on Google’s first page, right?
4. SSL Helps You Satisfy PCI/DSS Requirements
If you accept online payments, you must know a thing or two about PCI/DSS requirements. To receive online payments, your website must be PCI compliant. Having an SSL certificate installed is one of the 12 primary requirements set by the payment card industry (PCI).
Therefore, SSL is essential—whether you want it or not.
5. SSL Improves Customer Trust
If it were up to us, we’d have renamed SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to TTL (Trust Transmitting Layer). Fortunately, it isn’t. But that won’t stop us from singing the praises of a TTL —err, SSL certificate. Apart from encryption and authentication, SSL certificates are vital from a customer trust point of view. The easy to identify signs inform the users that the data they send will be secured. And if you’ve installed an OV or EV SSL, they can see your organization’s details. Once they know that you’re a legitimate entity, they’re far more likely to do business with you or even revisit your site.