What’s an SSL Certificate (and Why Do You Need One)?

What's an SSL

Are you looking for information on what an SSL certificate is all about?

If you want your website safe, you need to learn what SSL means.

But, it can tough to know which one is right for your website, because there are so many options out there.

In this post, we’re going to cover the power of an SSL certificate, what it means for the safety of your website, and how to get one for free.

What’s an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of your website. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer.

The certificate verifies that the website owner is who they claim to be. It also secures connections between personal devices and websites, and helps protect you and your visitors from scammers.

An SSL certificate helps secure information like:

  • Names, addresses, birth dates, or phone numbers
  • Passwords and login details
  • Payment transactions or bank account information
  • Legal documents
  • Medical records

There are different types of SSL certificates with different levels of security. For example, Organization Validation Certificates are used by larger businesses and need to be verified manually. Then there are Extended Validation Certificates that are the highest level of security SSLs available for businesses.

These can get expensive and take a long time to set up, since your business information needs to be verified manually by a real person.

Domain Validation Certificates are the most common type of SSL certificate, so we’ll be focusing on this type of SSL. They’re verified automatically, and they’re affordable for any website – you can even get one for free!

So how do you know if a website has an SSL certificate?

When you see website URL links with HTTP and others with HTTPS? That little “s” stands for “Secure Sockets Layer.”

HTTPs Nameboy

And, you know that a website is secure when you see the little lock to the left of their website URL.

Lock for SSL Certificate on URL

You can find more information on the secure connection if you click the drop-down arrow, like validation and permissions.

Connection secure SSL

By having the little lock on the browser bar, you’re guaranteeing your visitor can trust their information is safe on your website.

Let’s learn how an SSL certificate actually works.

How Does SSL Work?

Here’s how SSL works to keep your website safe.

The web browser requests a connection link. It then sends and verifies that link as a public key, which is a series of letters and numbers, to the SSL. The browser then checks the SSL certificate and encrypts the public key to send it back, only if it’s safe.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the SSL steps and how they keep your website safe.

how an SSL certificate works

Imagine trying to guess a password that was a mixture of 20 letters and numbers? That would take a very, very long time.

So, now that you know how SSLs work, let’s find out why you need one.

Why Do You Need an SSL Certificate?

Besides overall security, there are two big reasons why every website needs an SSL certificate.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you don’t have an SSL certificate, it can hurt your rankings in search results.

Google considers security to be a big ranking factor. If your site isn’t secure, they won’t want to send traffic your way.

Even if people find your site, they won’t stick around if it’s not secure.

That’s because they’ll see a warning about an unsecured connection:

Unsecure connection SSL

Google also uses a “Not Secure” warning in their Chrome browser, which is used by over half of everyone on the web.

Not Secure warning

An SSL stops this from happening and boosts your WordPress SEO so you can get more traffic.

Collecting Information

If you have contact forms on your website, then you’ll want to use an SSL certificate. This will help to keep your visitors’ personal contact details safe.

Not to mention, if you’re running a membership site, you’re collecting a ton of sensitive information about your users. You may also see an increase in sign-ups with an SSL certificate because they feel more secure visiting your website.

If you’re running an online store, you’ll want an SSL. Online shoppers are concerned about their privacy today more than ever. Your customers will only trust you with their payment information on a website that’s secure.

So, are you ready to get an SSL for your website?

How Do You Get an SSL?

You may want your website secure, but you may also be wondering how much it will cost you.

The cost of SSL certificates can be anywhere from $50 to $200 a year. Some SSL providers offer even more expensive add-on services with their certificates.

The good news is, there’s a way to get a free SSL certificate!

Bluehost is offering a free SSL certificate when you purchase their web hosting plan. Check it out here:

Bluehost Free SSL

The reason we recommend Bluehost is because they are a trusted domain registrar and officially recommended by WordPress helping over 2 million websites. They offer a free domain name and a free SSL starting at $3.95 per month.

If you choose Bluehost, you can install your SSL in two ways. You can use a WordPress plugin, like Really Simple SSL, or do it manually.

You can install and activate the Really Simple SSL plugin and it will activate your SSL. If you need more information on this, here’s how to move your site to HTTPS on WordPress.

Ready to get a free SSL for your website?

What’s the Best SSL Certificate For Your Website?

After everything you’ve learned, what’s the best SSL certificate for your website? A free one!

We hope this article helped you learn how an SSL certificate keeps your website secure for both you and your visitors. If you have subdomains, you’ll want to see: How to Get SSL Working on SubDomains.

The primary purpose of SSL is securing information between the visitor and your website, and there are benefits for SEO as well.

In our humble opinion, every website can benefit from an SSL certificate. The team at Nameboy just loves when domains are kept safe and secure.

Now go get your free SSL certificate!

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