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In the computer era when Internet knows more about us than our friends or relatives, protecting ourselves online is a crucial and necessary thing to do.
The SSL certificate helps with the security and protects the communication between your website and the customers as an umbrella protects you from getting soaking wet on a rainy day.
Owning an SSL certificate has become the norm and the bare minimum of responsible website managing.
Google has announced in 2018 that their browser Chrome - one of the most popular ones out there - that it will mark all HTTP websites as not secure within the Chrome browser. This happened in July 2018 and shortly after most of the other browsers followed their lead (Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, Edge, etc.).
Clearly, the goal was to educate users about the fact that websites without an SSL certificate could potentially compromise their data and lead to identity thefts, sensitive information theft and in general to bring up the attention of the webmasters to ensure the safety of both the website admins and the clients as well.
Now all of the above is great though many of you will still ask the quite relevant question:
“What is an SSL Certificate?”
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it helps your website in several aspects:
Data Protection and Encryption
The core function of an SSL certificate is to protect server-client communication. By installing an SSL certificate to your website, every bit of information transferred between the website and the client 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.
Authentication of your Website Identity
Another functionality of the SSL certificate is to affirm your website identity. 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. There have been cases in which people have lost thousands of dollars on fake websites. This is where SSL certificate comes into play.
Before installing an SSL certificate on the website, there is 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, your website and your organization. Once you have proven your identity, your website gets trust indicators vouching for your integrity and identity. When users see them, they know who they’re talking to and they are reassured that they are on the proper website which is secured and not on a phishing website looking to steal their personal or financial data.
SEO & conversion benefits
Last but not least - the SSL certificate also brings up some SEO benefits - HTTPS (SSL secured) websites might experience a ranking boost.
If you’re involved in the e-commerce business, owning an SSL certificate can improve your conversions by signalizing customers that they can safely make a purchase: study by Symantec suggests conversion rate can be increased by 18-87%. Plus, you can increase your average transaction value by 23%, which is again tightly connected to the trustworthiness.