Overview: With security threats rising everyday in the website world, SSL certificates are widely used to secure user information and protect websites against hackers — but how important are they? Read on to find out!
As the internet continues to grow and evolve, the number of solutions for website protection has grown — and unfortunately, so has the creativity of cybercriminals. For years, platforms like Google have been working towards making the web a safer place by encouraging website owners to use HTTPS protocols. These protocols ensure a safe and encrypted data transfer from your computer to the website you’re browsing.
While browsing a random blog in your browser, do you see a small padlock icon to the left side of the URL? You may not give it a second thought, but it’s your indication that the website is secure and guarded against breaches that could result in your customer information falling into the wrong hands. That padlock is a sign that the website you’re looking at has an SSL certificate!
In this blog post, we’ll explore what SSL certificates are, how they work, and why they’re so important for your website.
What Is an SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer,” which is a protocol for establishing secure, encrypted connections between a web server and a web browser. An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that verifies the identity of a website and enables encryption of sensitive information between the server and the user’s browser.
In more technical terms: An SSL certificate is a small data file that contains a cryptographic key, the website owner’s identity, and other relevant information. When a user visits a website with an SSL certificate, their browser will initiate a “handshake” process with the server to establish a secure connection.
This involves the browser requesting the server’s SSL certificate and verifying its authenticity, before negotiating an encryption algorithm and exchanging a session key to encrypt and decrypt data sent between the two parties.
>> Related Reading: Beginner’s Guide: Get a Free SSL Certificate for Your WordPress Website
How Does an SSL Certificate Work?
An SSL certificate works by encrypting data as it travels between the server and the user’s browser. Encryption is the process of scrambling data so that it’s unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the key to unscramble it. When data is encrypted, it can only be decrypted by someone who has the matching key.
When a website has an SSL certificate, any data that is transmitted between the server and the user’s browser is encrypted using a complex algorithm. This means that if anyone intercepts the data as it travels over the internet, they won’t be able to read it without the encryption key. This is important for protecting sensitive information such as credit card numbers, login credentials, and personal data.
>> Related Reading: SSL and SSL Certificates Explained
Why Is an SSL Certificate Important?
There are several reasons why an SSL certificate is important for website owners.
Protects user data: As mentioned above, an SSL certificate encrypts data as it travels between the server and the user’s browser. This means that sensitive information such as credit card numbers and login credentials are protected from hackers and other malicious actors.
Builds trust with users: When a website has an SSL certificate, users can see that the website is secure and that their data is protected. Knowing that the website owner has taken this step can help build trust with users and encourage them to do business with the website.
Improves SEO: In 2014, Google announced that they would start giving a slight ranking boost to websites that use HTTPS (which requires an SSL certificate) over websites that still use HTTP. This means that having an SSL certificate can improve your website’s search engine rankings and help you get more traffic!
Protects against phishing attacks: Phishing is a type of cyber attack where hackers try to trick users into giving them sensitive information by posing as a legitimate website. An SSL certificate can help protect against phishing attacks by verifying the identity of the website and ensuring that any data transmitted between the user and the server is encrypted.
In today’s digital age, website security is more important than ever. An SSL certificate is a crucial tool for website owners who want to protect their users’ data and build trust with their audience. By encrypting data, verifying website identities, and protecting against cyber attacks, an SSL certificate can help keep your website secure.
If you’re a website owner, it’s important for you to ensure the security of your visitors. When your customers are sharing their personal details and credit card information with you, it’s up to you to protect them!
Do you need help setting up an SSL certificate for your website? Reach out to MyUnlimitedWP! We’ll take care of you in a timely manner — and our expertise doesn’t end at website security. We can also assist you with tech support, hosting, WordPress website maintenance, and more. We look forward to hearing from you today!