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Why Your WordPress Website Needs an SSL Security Certificate

Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox began setting up notifications for websites without security certificates in 2016.

Finding out if a website was “secure” used to require clicking the little “i” info button on the browser address bar as shown below in the image on the left. With the latest release of Chrome (Version 68) the address bar now says “Not Secure” as shown below in the image on the right.

Why is an SSL Certificate Critical for Your Website?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser. This encrypted link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remains private. A website with an SSL Certificate has the prefix of “https” rather than the non-secure “http”.

All websites should use SSL security even if they don’t include private content, sign-in pages, or credit card details.

1. Improve Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you’re concerned about how well your site comes up in Google and Bing searches, adding an SSL Certificate can improve your rankings. Google recently announced that they would start ranking sites with HTTPS support higher than sites that use the non-secure HTTP.

2. Protect Your Content

Recently Comcast received complaints when people learned they were injecting pop-up ads into their customers browsers to encourage their customers to upgrade their modems.

Comcast injected lines of JavaScript code into pages that their customers were browsing, so that when the browser rendered the web page, the JavaScript generated a pop-up.

If one of your website visitors was trying to view your non-secure web page on Comcast while this was happening, your web page could have shown up under the Comcast ad. So the visitor would have had to close the pop-up and might have thought you were selling Comcast modems.

This is known as a “man-in-the-middle” injection where someone inserts their own code on a web page you’re viewing. If your website has an SSL Certificate this can’t happen on your domain.

3. Protect Your Users

When your site is served unencrypted there’s nothing stopping a malicious attacker from getting between your website and your website visitor.

An SSL certificate doesn’t just protect users from internet service providers like Comcast injecting ads as mentioned above. It also offers protection from more malicious man-in-the-middle attacks. For instance a Facebook Like button could suddenly open up a phishing form to steal your users Facebook credentials. When your site is served unencrypted there’s nothing stopping a malicious attacker from getting between your website and your website visitor.

4. Increased Customer Confidence

Now that Google Chrome has started marking websites that don’t have an SSL certificate as “Not Secure” it’s almost an imperative that all business websites get an SSL certificate installed. After all, who wants to see the words Not Secure next to their website address in the browser bar. That’s a bad signal to new prospects and clients alike.

Before and After Your SSL Certificate is Installed

As long as the green lock icon displays in your address bar you can be sure that you are connected to the authorized server for the domain.

If your website doesn’t have an SSL Security Certificate your website visitors will see a Not Secure warning on the latest version of Google Chrome starting July 24, 2018. Mozilla Firefox has stated that they will be displaying a similar warning on a soon to come browser release.

Here’s an example of the full warning your website visitors would receive if they click on the Not Secure words in the Chrome browser address bar.

The Chrome browser has 60% market share as of July 2018, so there’s a good chance that a Not Secure warning would be seen by a large percentage of visitors.

Search Engine Ranking and SSL Certificates

In most cases websites can make the switch to SSL Security with no detrimental effects on their rankings and traffic – and very often it boosts their rankings. However, the change to SSL must be handled correctly. Redirects have to be set up to let Google and Bing know about the update, and Google Search Console should have some settings updated.

Your website search rankings will definitely benefit from a switch to SSL.

In August of 2014, Google announced that a secure website would be a positive ranking signal in its algorithm. This caused a spike in the number of websites that installed SSL security certificates. In the long run your website search rankings will definitely benefit from a switch to SSL. In the very short term there might be a slight dip in rankings while Google and Bing update the changed URL’s.

What Does it Cost to Upgrade to SSL?

Obtaining the certificate, installing it on the server, and updating all of your website URL’s to “https”, and then testing takes from one to five hours depending on the type of website and the number of pages.

A simple HTML based website without a content management system can be done very quickly. A WordPress website takes more time and a higher level of skill to assure a smooth transition.

We offer an SSL Security Upgrade Service that can take care of all the details. Call 706-338-1464 to get a quote.

Learn more about the different types of SSL Certificates and the reason for price variations »

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