Recently there has been a lot of talk about SSL, security certificates, and how these affect your Google ranking. But if everything appears to be going fine, then why would a website need HTTPS?

What do all these words mean?

An SSL certificate (or security certificate) is an add-on you can purchase for your website. It’s what changes your website address from HTTP to HTTPS, which lets visitors know that your website can be trusted.

Specifically, its job is to encrypt information that is sent between your customer’s computer and your web hosting server. When information is sent across the internet, it makes stops along the way, and there is a risk it could be read by a third-party. An SSL certificate prevents this, and it’s what makes it possible to safely use our credit cards to make purchases online.

Does a website need HTTPS even if you don’t sell anything?

Yes! Here are some advantages to having an SSL certificate:

1. It shows your website visitors that you care about their privacy. (Even if there’s no sale taking place.)

2. It matters if you have a contact form. (People are protective of all their information these days. Especially phone number and email address.)

3. You’ll be penalised in your Google search ranking. Even if you “don’t care” about SEO in your strategy, you’d be surprised about who is coming to you. Even if you haven’t invested in this, people will be finding you this way. It will help you in the long run.

What’s the difference between a purchased SSL Certificate, or the free Let’s Encrypt certificate?

The free Let’s Encrypt security certificate is quite a blessing. For those web hosts that have it, it’s quite easy to set up, and it provides sufficient protection to not have you de-ranked by Google.

However if you are running an e-commerce business, you are better off purchasing an SSL certificate. This is because Let’s Encrypt doesn’t offer any kind of warranty in case something goes wrong and your customer loses money.

How do you get an SSL Certificate?

Talk to your web host. A good web host should be able to guide you on the best product for your situation.

Online business in Australia: If you are not happy with your web host, or looking to start somewhere new, I recommend VentraIP to Australian businesses.

If you are based in the United States, I would take a look at Siteground.

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