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What is an SSL Certificate?

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The quick and easy way to ensure the safety of your website

To be successful in business, clients need to trust you. Therefore to have a successful business website means that you need a website that can instil trust in its visitors. And the easiest way to do that is to get an SSL certificate protection for your domain. Not only will it instil trust, it will also safeguard the data of your visitors.

The SSL in SSL Certificate stands for Secure Socket Layer, a type of Internet data transmission protocol, used for encryption (from Greek, kryptos, meaning hidden or secret). SSL Certificates are quickly becoming a staple in modern day websites, as they present businesses with an excellent security option at an affordable price. The average internet user is unaware of what an SSL certificate does, but they can clearly see the green padlock in their address bar, or even better the full-on green colourisation of the bar (when dealing with an EV or Extended Validation SSL Certificate).

How does an SSL Certificate work?

The process behind the SSL Certificate encryption is not as complex as it may first appear, although that does nothing to diminish its effectiveness. When your computer first makes a connection to a website, protected by an SSL Certificate, the server generates a key for it. Your browser then receives the key and uses it to protect any and all further communication between your computer and the web server (website) by encrypting it. Only the web server (website) issuing the key can decrypt it and therefore your information is safe from the prying eyes of outsiders. In short, this means that any and all transmission between you and the server will remain private.

What is an SSL Certificate

What can an SSL Certificate do for a website?

To understand what an SSL Certificate does, one must have a basic grasp of how the Internet works. Your average website will have its address begin with HTTP. HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, meaning that all data is transmitted via plain text. Everyone, given a bit of time, desire and knowledge can see everything you transmit to a website. This encompasses Account Details, Private Data as well as Credit Card information. As you can easily tell, this is unacceptable.

Enter an SSL Certificate protected website. The SSL Certificate will make sure that all data you send and receive will be thoroughly encrypted, to the point where it would take even the strongest computer systems years to decrypt the information back into plain text and make it readable for anyone who is not meant to have access to it. The URLs of these websites begin with HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure). They also receive a special change in their address bar, depending on the type of the SSL Certificate. Standard SSL certification will give the website a padlock in the address bar, while an Extended Validation Certificate will change the colour of the address bar to green and provide extra information about the company behind it.

Why does my website need an SSL Certificate?

Most internet users are looking for the green padlock symbol in their address bar, even if they are unaware of what an SSL Certificate actually does to protect their data. Furthermore, most browsers have begun notifying users if websites are insecure. This can have a rather negative impact on a prospective customer, visiting a business website. Most e-commerce websites have already implemented an SSL Certificate as a cyber security measure. Others have done it purely for the positive impact it has on customers. Whatever the reasoning behind it, most leading online business websites have an SSL Certificate in place. What about your competitors? Did they take the step already?

Having an SSL Certificate still is not crucial for non-ecommerce websites.

This is quickly changing. Google have hinted that they will soon place an even higher value upon the safety of Internet users. This might mean another change in the way search engine result positions are determined. It can also give you the edge that needed to surpass your competitors on Google. A quick and easy step today might mean a giant leap for your business tomorrow.

Recent studies show that more than 83% of Internet users tend to only pay attention to the top five websites in search engine results. More than 72% focus most of their time and attention on the very first one. Getting higher than your competitors on Google has never been an easy or quick process. Until now.

If you wish to learn more about SSL Certificates and how they can help get more business, check out our PDF on the subject Why does my website need an SSL certificate. 

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