SSL

Why Do I Need an SSL Certificate and How Does It Work

Why You Should Always Use SSL Certificate

You may wonder, “Why do I need an SSL certificate if my website can run without it?”

Well, when dealing with online activity, security comes first — either for you as a webmaster or your visitors. SSL is the new security standard for protecting information by using advanced encryption.

In this article, we’ll learn what SSL is, what benefits it offers are and how to get an SSL certificate.
An example of an insecure website notice on google Chrome's address bar

What is an SSL Certificate and How Does It Work?

Before tackling the question of “why do I need an SSL certificate” we should cover what it is. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer — a protocol used to establish a secure connection. It ensures all the data processed during an online activity is immune.

It sets up a channel for data communication that applies encryption. Encryption is a practice for making information only readable to authorized users.

In a real-world situation, whenever a user requests data from a server, or in reverse, all the information during the process is encrypted, and cannot be decoded and read by a third party.

A website with an SSL certificate enabled will have a URL that starts with https:// instead of http://, as s stands for secure. Depending on your browser, you’ll see a padlock icon like the one on Safari:
Safari shows a padlock icon for an SSL protected site

Or, this icon when using Firefox:
Firefox shows a green padlock icon for an SSL protected website

Having this padlock icon indicates that all processes on your website, from visitor input to server replies, will use a safe connection. That means it can prevent confidential data theft and misuse.

Breaching a connection secured with SSL is almost impossible because it applies both symmetric and asymmetric encryption.

When applying asymmetric encryption, a public key is used to encrypt a message while a private key is used for decrypting it. On the other hand, asymmetric encryption uses only public keys for both procedures.

SSL certificates use those two cryptographic keys to validate data like the domain and server name, location, etc.

How does it work? First off, a server will send a copy of its asymmetric public key. Once received, the browser will generate a symmetric session key and encrypt it with the public key. After that, the server will decrypt the message using its private key. Having the same symmetric session key, the data transfer can take place.

Why is this secure? As its name suggests, a session key is only valid for one session. That being said, for another request, a new session key will be created.

Does My Website Really Need an SSL Certificate?

If your website is for private use, you may take the importance of an SSL certificate lightly. Meanwhile, for a website expecting many visitors, it is critical.

Protecting visitor data is a must — especially when dealing with citizens of the European Union. Since GDPR took effect on May 25th, 2018, those who fail to protect customer data security will be penalized for up to €20 million.

If you run an online store and collect payment from your customers, you must safeguard the data transfer process. No customer will hand over their credit card information to an unsecured site. That means no transaction can take place.

This is why most ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify are all SSL protected.
BigCommerce's website is SSL protected.

All websites that collect visitor information must have SSL certificates enabled.

To sum up, if you run a website it’s a good practice to have an active SSL certificate as it is not expensive, but it will put your visitors at ease and make you look more trustworthy and professional.

Why Do I Need an SSL Certificate

Regardless of the website you run, an SSL certificate is highly important. So, why do I need an SSL certificate? Let’s take a look at these benefits:

Better Security

If you have a website with SSL enabled, it provides a safer connection. All information during data transfer is encrypted. This prevents any malicious attacks that may take advantage of sensitive information.

Great for Branding

How to build good branding? Through trust and credibility.

When considering “why do I need an SSL certificate” you should know that it provides you a connection that looks out for your customer’s security. If you can guarantee risk-free transactions, from top to bottom, more customers will be comfortable to do business with you.

Keep in mind that a data breach would be a severe hit to your business reputation.

Improved SEO Ranking

As you know, Google declared that HTTPS is one of the ranking factors. That being said, enabling an SSL certificate on your website can impact your position on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).

A study showed that websites with SSL take up 50% of the first page results.

More Traffic and Sales

So, are you still asking, “why do I need an SSL certificate?” With one, you can generate more sales as customers will trust your website. In fact, 17% of all cart abandonment is due to a lack of a security guarantee. If you can keep the purchase process safe until checking out, it can lead to higher sales.

Apart from that, with SSL protection, you can properly maintain customer data. Securing private data during account creation is essential. This can regain as much as 34% of skeptical customers to continue with a transaction.

Getting an SSL Certificate

Now that we answered the question “why do I need an SSL certificate,” we can move on and learn how to get one for your site?

An SSL certificate should be issued by a Certified Authority (CA) — a trusted organization that manages public keys for data encryption. They ensure, either a company or a user gets a unique certificate for authentication.

There are noted Certified Authorities such as Comodo, Symantec, and GlobalSign. Some hosting providers also provide SSL certificates. The cost of an SSL certificate may vary depending on the vendor.

At Hostinger, you can get an SSL certificate for a lifetime at an affordable price. It uses 256-bit encryption to guarantee the strongest protection and is compatible with 99.9% of browsers.

What’s more, our Business Shared Hosting includes a free SSL certificate. No need to pay extra cost.
Hostinger Business Plan includes a free SSL certificate

Conclusion

We’ve covered your question: “Why do I need an SSL certificate for my website?”. It allows you to create an encrypted connection to protect your site and its visitors.

Enabling SSL is highly recommended for all sites. As long as you collect personal information from your visitors or collect payments, it’s an absolute must.

You need an SSL certificate because of these four reasons:

  • It gives your site better security.
  • It is great for branding and building trust.
  • It improves your SEO ranking.
  • It can help boost traffic and sales.

There’s no reason not to secure your website!

About the author

Domantas G.

Domantas leads the content and SEO teams forward with fresh ideas and out of the box approaches. Armed with extensive SEO and marketing knowledge, he aims to spread the word of Hostinger to every corner of the world. During his free time, Domantas likes to hone his web development skills and travel to exotic places.

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