Website SSL Certificate: What, Why, and How

What is an SSL certificate? I’ll explain.

During our Brand Assessment process, we perform a website assessment. We utilize HubSpot’s website grader to help uncover simple reasons why a website may be underperforming. One of HubSpot’s categories is Security, which involves an SSL Certificate. So, what is an SSL Certificate? Why might your website need one? How can you obtain one? Read on.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is a digital authorization that verifies the identity of a website. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, the protocol which encrypts the information sent to and from the server. Encryption codes the data so both parties receiving data can safely exchange information stopping hackers from intruding. The easiest way to know if your website has an SSL Certificate is to look in the browser address bar for an HTTPS prefix before the website’s address. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP.

Why is an SSL Certificate important?

If your brand’s website is collecting data from your visitors, you should invest in an SSL Certificate. If your website is collecting personal information through a contact form, making a credit card transaction through a donation or shopping cart, or has a login process with a username and password then you should invest in SSL certification. It’s vital that your website is safe and secure. This creates a positive experience for your brand.

How do I obtain an SSL Certificate?

The first thing you’ll want to do is reach out to your hosting company and web developer and lean on them through most of the process. You’ll have to purchase a certificate from one of the many vendors who sell them online. Check with your hosting company and see if they sell or have an upgrade to your package. They might handle the entire process. Below is a collection of helpful website links you can utilize to guide you through the process.

Video resources explaining how to add an SSL Certification

I like this particular video because it focuses on WordPress. If your site is a WordPress site then this will be helpful.