The Importance of SSL Certificates
Security is immensely important to a website, especially one that collects and stores valuable customer information. SSL certificates are one of the most effective ways to ensure your website is secure and show visitors that they can trust your site with personal information, like credit card numbers.
Given that SSL certificates can be crucial to have, take a moment to learn more about how they work and the advantages of such with StatCounter. Then, you can use our web tracker to monitor your website’s traffic and ensure it’s performing as expected.
To gain more insight into the types of web hosting available and how each will suit your business and website, take a look at the articles below:
How an SSL Certificate Works
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which denotes an encryption technology designed to create an encrypted connection between the server your site is hosted on and the users on your site. Therefore, SSL certificates work to keep your website secure using encryption methods, which only allow the intended receiver to translate the information as it is passed over the internet. In short, encryption is essential for virtually any website that processes private or personal information. Without it, this information would be incredibly vulnerable.
In addition to encrypting the information, SSL certificates also provide authentication. While it is incredibly difficult to crack encrypted codes, hackers are able to do this as their knowledge and abilities have become more sophisticated. Authentication ensures that the only party able to receive this information is the proper server rather than a criminal network.
While SSL certificates are meant to keep a website secure, they can also make a site more trustworthy. Visual signs, like a green lock next to the URL in the address bar, can be a signal to visitors that the site is secure and trustworthy. Website URLs will also feature the HTTPS protocol instead of HTTP. The “S” stands for secure and is another visual indicator that the website has an SSL Certificate.
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What Information SSL Certificates Protect
As we’ve alluded to, the end goal of SSL certificates is to protect sensitive information. There are many websites that deal with private information and require a method to transfer information without the risk of it being stolen. Ecommerce often deals with payment information and, in order to stay PCI Compliant, they must encrypt the information using SSL certificates. In fact, many businesses other than those with ecommerce stores require encryption to protect information, especially if they are dealing with payments, web forms, or even login credentials.
No business is too small to hack, so it’s important to protect customer information that is received. And, as mentioned previously, this information isn’t specific to credit card numbers. Websites should even protect login credentials, as a user’s account may contain emails they use on other sites. Those login credentials could be exploited throughout the internet and could put the user’s other accounts at risk. Web forms also collect a lot of personal information about customers, yet this information can be protected when encrypted with SSL certificates and can build trust for your business.
Why Security Certificates Are Important
Of course, the main point in having an SSL Certificate for your site is to protect yourself and site users from the aforementioned hackers. Simply put, they provide much-needed web security. To put things into perspective, though, imagine logging into a website in which you have an account comprised of personal information and payment info, such as an ecommerce site. Without an SSL certificate, all the information listed in your account is prone to being stolen and used.
From a business standpoint, you can see how this could turn off web users from taking any action on your website. Quite often, when users see an URL without the HTTPS, they’ll be unwilling to enter in any private information and will find what they need elsewhere. By having an SSL certificate and that “s” in HTTPS (rather than HTTP), web users will be far more inclined to use your site and even enter in information to purchase something. Clearly, if you run a website that requires any personal information from the user, you need an SSL certificate.
Of course, you have a few options in adding an SSL certificate to your website—which we’ll cover below. First, if you’d like a little more information as to how an SSL certificate can benefit your business and website, take a look below:
- As mentioned, SSL certificates encrypt sensitive information, ensuring the data is only received by the intended party. In other words, it guarantees the information won’t be sent to a malicious third party.
- Search engines like Google prefer to send users to secure sites, or those with SSL certificates, so having one can improve your search engine rankings, which will help your site acquire more traffic.
- Of course, users will also trust the site more and be more willing to use it. In turn, you could attain more traffic to your site (similar to the effects on search rankings) and more sales.
- Finally, SSL certificates are a requirement for any website accepting credit card payments, which goes for any ecommerce website. So, in having an SSL certificate, you’ll be able to accept payments and maintain compliance with Payment Card Industry requirements.
Types of SSL Certificates
There are three main types of SSL certificates, each of which provides a different level of security. These three types of SSL certificates are as follow:
- Extended Validation: With extended validation SSL certificates, you are able to validate the company’s legal existence, domain ownership, and awareness of any certificate request.
- Domain Validated: Domain validated SSL certificates, unlike extended validation, only validates the ownership of the domain and shows that the company is aware of any certification request.
- Organization Validated: Finally, there is organization validated SSL certificates. This only validates domain ownership and company information, such as location information.
How to Get an SSL Certificate
There are a number of ways you can go about getting an SSL certificate, as there are countless SSL certificate providers out there. However, some SSL certificate providers are better than others. For example, some hosting companies offer a free SSL certificate when you sign up. Additionally, the type of SSL certificate you need will play a crucial role in your decision of where to buy your SSL certificate. You should also keep cost in mind, as well as when you will need to renew your SSL certificate.
As you can see, SSL certificates can be quite crucial to your website. Given that they help site visitors feel more secure, having an SSL certificate on your website can help retain traffic and leave users more inclined to purchase something or sign up for an account. Plus, they play a fairly strong role in search engine rankings, which also affect your website’s traffic. In other words, you’ll increase your chances of ranking higher in search results by adding the extra security to your website.
Track Your Traffic with StatCounter
No matter the type of website you run, you should always monitor your traffic to ensure it’s performing well and catering to your intended audience. With StatCounter, you can rely on a range of detailed metrics to better understand how users navigate through your site, among other aspects. If you’d like some training on how to improve your website, be sure to read more of our Insights.
If you ever need assistance in utilizing our tools, you can contact StatCounter support by filling out the form below.
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