SSL? What’s that? Yes, you’re about to learn another website acronym and this one is super important.

Welcome to SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s essentially a piece of security technology that encrypts the link between a web server and the user’s browser.

Why is this super important? Think about all the times you’ve filled out a form to send personal information to a website. If that website isn’t SSL-enabled, a hacker can intercept the data you have just transmitted.

Hackers put undetected listening programs on servers hosting unsecure websites. When a user enters information into a form, the program activates, records the data, and sends it to the hacker. Hackers call this a ‘man-in-the-middle attack.’

For example, if you’re paying bills or purchasing something online using your credit card number or bank account details, you could be sending a hacker this information if the site is not secure.

Likewise, if you have a business website that collects information from users, you don’t want hackers getting hold of your data either. Hackers use any data they can intercept for nefarious purposes. It’s a very real threat, not the stuff of fiction any more.

How can you tell if a website is SSL-enabled?

It’s quite simple. Look at the website address (URL) at the top of your browser. An unsecure site begins with ‘http’ whereas a secure site begins with ‘https’. Sites with an SSL certificate (https) create an immediate secure connection when you submit information, preventing hackers from intercepting any useful information of any kind.

Some browsers compress the URL, so if you can’t see either in the address bar, tap or click the URL to see the full address. Google has released a new version of Chrome which will tell you if a site isn’t secure if you use a form. You can click the padlock icon for more information about the security certificate too.

It’s worth noting here that certificates can expire and the address will still display ‘https’. If any site is asking you for lots of personal information, using Chrome, you can check if the certificate is valid by going to View > Developer Tools. From there, navigate to Security. Chrome will tell you if the certificate is valid or expired.

SSL and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

SSL is good for SEO because websites with SSL rank better than unsecure websites in Google’s search engine. Google has said if two sites are equal for search results, if one is SSL enabled it may receive a rank boost. So, having your website SSL-enabled is now a no-brainer from that respect.

How to get an SSL certificate for your website

It generally isn’t expensive to get an SSL certificate for your website. There are different requirements for different industries, such as financial organisations, so we will provide you with more information when you talk to us. It’s well worth setting up SSL correctly, not only for security for you and your customers, but also to demonstrate you have a trustworthy website.