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What an SSL Certificate Is and Why You Need One Now

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate provides secure, encrypted communications through websites. SSL certificates were traditionally installed on pages that require users to submit private information over the internet, like submitting credit card details in an online store.

Why does my site need one now?

There is a growing movement to use SSL certificates to secure all communications on websites, including contact form submissions and sign-in information. Google Chrome has already started displaying a “Not secure” warning, as in the image below, when a user tries to access a site that does not have an SSL certificate. More urgent warnings are already in the pipeline.

SSL warning

Besides avoiding this warning there positive aspect to using SSL. Securing your contact forms and sign-in forms like a WordPress sign-in page help prevent this information from landing in the wrong hands. SSL is also good for SEO, helping raise your page rank with Google.

How can I tell if my site has an SSL certificate already?

If you go to your website, there will be a lock icon before or after the URL in the address bar of your browser. SSL certificates also rewrite the http:// at the start of URLs, changing them to https://. If you are using WordPress.com to host your site, your site already has an SSL certificate.

What is involved in installing an SSL certificate?

The installation process varies depending on the web host you’re using and what SSL certificate your site needs. If you’re using a software as a service (SaaS) tool like Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix, they will be your source for an SSL certificate and will streamline the installation process for you. With standard web hosts, some install SSL certificates with automation while others require manual installation.

What does an SSL certificate cost?

Prices for SSL certificates start at free and range upwards depending on a website’s needs. Most websites that do not collect credit card information will be well-served by an SSL certificate that costs $0-60 per year.

How do I know which SSL certificate my website needs?

Different organizations and different functionalities require different types of SSL certificates. Let’s have a chat about SSL and your website and I’ll recommend the appropriate certificate for your site.


Contact us for a free consultation.