Security is always top of the list once it comes to website maintenance and user experience. With so much information on the internet, people have become careful with how it is sent and received. To address this concern, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificates come in to make sure a secure connection between a web server and browser is in place.
There are ways for your website visitor to know if an SSL Certificate is in your site. Visual indicators of security is a padlock to the left of your URL (Uniform Resource Locator), a green address bar, and a HTTPS prefix. Additionally, trust seals add an extra layer of trust.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transport Protocol Security (or Secure) and is the secure version of HTTP. Sites with this prefix include the SSL 2048-bit key and can protect a connection through authentication and encryption. The padlock and HTTPS protocol are activated once an SSL certificate is installed on a server.
Installing the SSL Certificate can protect a user’s connection by securing information in three layers:
- Encryption – ensures that a user’s activity cannot be tracked or their information stolen.
- Data integrity – prevents files from being corrupted as they’re transferred.
- Authentication – protects against attacks and builds user trust.
How did HTTPS come about?
When businesses started getting online, so did monetary transactions. People sought for a way to secure online transactions and safeguard sensitive information on the web. In 1994, Netscape put in place HTTPS for its web browser. Its basic function was to secure payment transactions, emails, and corporate information systems.
The widespread adoption of HTTPS started in the late 2000s and early 2010s. One instance that propelled HTTPS usage was when Edward Snowden leaked documents that revealed how the government was doing a massive surveillance over its citizens. It prompted Google to incentivize HTTPS adoption so web users are assured that their data does not get shared with anyone but the server where they’re on. One of Google’s incentives for HTTPS installation is better search ranking of a website.
SEO Advantages of HTTPS
Google will certainly yield SEO advantages to those who have an SSL Certificate installed on their site. But take note that having HTTPS won’t make you suddenly rank #1 for each and every keyword. However, if your website and another website tie on every other ranking signal then having HTTPS will make you rank higher. The effect is not singularly impactful, but it will certainly give your website leverage over others. The SEO advantages of integrating HTTPS into your website, as discussed in Quora, are:
1. Increased rankings.
The obvious one. Google itself confirmed that HTTPS sites have slight ranking boost. Like most ranking signals, it is very hard to isolate on its own, but this is still something to keep in mind. On the plus side, the value of switching to HTTPS is very likely to increase over time.
2. Referrer Data.
Having an SSL Certificate primarily assures security. When traffic passes to an HTTPS site, the secure referral information is preserved. This is unlike what happens when traffic passes through an HTTP site, and it is stripped away and looks as though it is “direct.”
3. Security and privacy.
HTTPS adds security for your SEO goals and website in several ways:
- Verifies that the website is the one the server it is supposed to be connecting to.
- Prevents tampering by third parties.
- Makes your site more secure for visitors.
- Encrypts all communication, including URLs, which protects things like browsing history and credit card numbers.
How to get an SSL Certificate?
The reality of SSL Certificates is that choosing the right one can be tricky. Integration of Traditional SSL certificates to your website can become rather costly especially for maturing online business. There are also free certificates going around, but they don’t guarantee absolute protection.
At Project Assistant, we only utilize the best software and tools once it comes to developing our website. We’ve found our way around SSL Certificates and found the most commendable solution. The easiest and cheapest way is with the Internet Security Research Group’s (ISRG) Let’s Encrypt project.
Let’s Encrypt provides free, automated, and open security certificate authority (CA) for everyone. It enables website owners to get security certificates within minutes. This means everyone gets a safer web experience in as short a time as possible. In record, Let’s Encrypt has issued certificates for more than 2.4 million different domains across the globe. And this feat took only 16 months to achieve.
There is a good reason for it to be successful. It took the combined forces of Akamai, Cisco, Mozilla Foundation, and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to create a reliable, easy-to-use certificate authority. ISRG now has all-out support from Google Chrome, Sucuri, Facebook, and Vultr.
Benefits of Using Let’s Encrypt
Let’s Encrypt hits all your trusted certificate concerns for free! You’ll be getting your own HTTPS in the easiest and quickest way possible with less hassle. The installation and update for your certificate is so simplified that, on a Linux, you only need to copy-paste lines of code.
SSL certificates have an expiration date, but no worries because Let’s Encrypt executes automated certificate renewals. It’s part of the software to make sure your SSL will never be invalid. Let’s Encrypt saves you the hassle of reissuing, renewing, and re-configuring SSL certificates on your domains. Best of all, it’s all automated so manual effort is mostly minimized.
The certificates it hands out are legit. Let’s Encrypt gives you domain-validated security certificates which are certified by the open certificate authority (CA). The fact that it is open source means it is transparent. You can easily check errors in the source code.
Cloudways is a cloud platform hosting company which boasts a one-stop shop for all application hosting needs while focusing on simplicity and ease-of-use. They’ve recently integrated Let’s Encrypt into their platform and listed some of the advantages of using it:
- Free of cost
- Easy to integrate
- Minimized validation email hassles
- No dedicated IP required
- Trusted by almost all the key browsers in the world
Project Assistant really hit the jackpot with Cloudways. We only want to offer the best of our services, so we’re careful and particular about what software we work with. Don’t delay your business plans just trying to look for the best tools and platforms. Leave that bit to us. Gain the upperhand by taking advantage of our direct access to the system administrator of Cloudways. Get your free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate and other hosting needs when you partner with us.