Have you ever noticed that some websites have a padlock just before the URL in the address bar on the browser and others don't? There is a reason why they are there. And if you're a website owner, and you don't have it on your website, having it should jump on top of your to do list.
Before I tell you why? Let's first understand what this padlock actually is.
It's a whole post of its own. So, here is an incredible post about why you should Check your padlock before you sign in or buy anything online.
The article is written in the website visitors' perspective but it will give you a clear and deep understanding of the padlock.
Now, for the lazy slackers like me, let me summarize it here.
The padlock indicates that the website is secure and any communications through it are encrypted. You get the padlock when you have an SSL certificate setup on your website.
An SSL Certificate is a small data file that digitally binds a cryptographic key to a website owner's details. I hope that makes sense to you. If it doesn't, visit the article I suggested above for an extended explanation.
Simply look at the address bar. If a website is secure, you will see a padlock before the URL. (So we'll use the same example used by Abbott in his article that I mentioned earlier)
And the one that doesn't have an SSL certificate installed looks like in the picture below.
As you can see, the browser openly labels the site Not Secure.
The way it shows depends on the browser you're using. On another browser, a non-secure website will show a red padlock or a padlock with a red crossing like in the picture below.
Image courtesy of Abbott Walking Carbonic
So as a website owner,
It is your duty as a site owner to safeguard the data of your web visitors. The main function of an SSL certificate is to encrypt client-server communication. So by installing an SSL certificate, you secure your visitors and customers against hackers and spammers.
Well... for now many people may not know the importance of the padlock. But for those customers who know what it means, you will get instant trust from them. Because it is so relieving to know that you're on a secure website.
Not having an SSL certificate is bad for business -because a big percentage of visitors will never make it beyond this scary Google Warning.
If you intend to get web visitors through Google, it is very important that you take the SSL certificate very seriously. As of 2018, Google made sites with SSL certificates as defaults and will only show those non-secure sites after warning their visitors as shown in the image above.
Everyone hates a slow loading website. And it has been proven that https websites load faster. This not only helps you retain visitors but it also helps rank your website higher in Google.
My explanation to this is that since secure websites are given first priority, the browsers first take time trying to find the secure version before showing the non-secure page after they've failed to locate a secure version. And by doing that, some valuable time is lost.
If you intend to sell products or services online, it is mandatory that you have an SSL certificate. So installing an SSL certificate offers you a smooth running of your eCommerce site.
Now with that said;
From experience, the best and easiest way is to host with a hosting company that offers SSL with their hosting packages. If you're in doubt, make contact with the support team of your hosting provider to find out. This is what I offer to all my clients.
Not all web hosting companies offer SSL. So if you find yourself in such a scenario, you can buy. The best most cost-effective offers I've seen are from Namecheap. The prices range from $5.88/year to $122.88/year depending on what kind of certificate you need to purchase. The advantage here is that you have a support team behind you. In case something goes wrong, they are able to help you fix it.
The last option is to set up a free SSL certificate from Let's Encrypt. The easiest way is to set it up through SSLforFREE. Let's Encrypt certificates are perfect and do the job just right. But on the flip side, they expire in approximately 90 days. So that means you'll have to do reinstalls every 90 days.
However big or small your website is, you must get the padlock on your website to get the ultimate results. Should you need help setting up an SSL certificate on your website, don't hesitate to contact me.