Put simply, a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a standard security technology that is used as a protection tool for a website’s servers and information. When installed on a website’s server, the SSL certificate activates an https protocol and creates a padlock or encryption for all information between the user and the website, such that all the information passed through that server is encrypted and protected from hackers and other individuals with malicious intents.
When you are using the SSL certificate, your visitors can carry out card transactions, transfer data, store passwords, etc. without worrying about their information being leaked and getting into the wrong hands.
A website without an SSL certificate makes use of the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) while one with an SSL certificate makes use of the HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). The difference between them both is that in the former (HTTP), information passed between the server and the browser is not secure in the sense that every Tom, Dick, and Harry who knows how these things work has access to your information. With the latter (HTTPS) however, information sent is secure and encrypted such that if a hacker tries to access your information, they would meet it in an encrypted form.
For example, if the information disseminated is “SEO technique 1”,
Why Is It Important?
It increases your visitor's security (mandatory in websites that users enters passwords or any kind of information) and also increases your SEO rankings. Put yourself in the shoes of a search engine for instance, would you rather direct your users to a website where their information can be easily stolen or one where it would be secure? Exactly! Even Google, in 2014, encouraged website owners to install a SSL certificate in order to make sure users information are kept safe and secure.
It also helps build trust. With the knowledge of HTTPS going around now, most users know that a website making use of HTTP doesn’t have the capability to secure their information and would desist from visiting such site. HTTPS is an indicator that your website can be trusted and this would draw in more traffic as users trust their information is safe with your server.
The good news is that today is not so difficult to install a certificate SSL.
A few years ago the installation was completely manual and you had to buy the certificate (whose cost was not especially cheap), having to renew it annually.
Currently, there are free alternatives that are available on most servers.
For example Siteground, one of the best hosting at present (I take this opportunity to tell you that you have an offer available from $3.95 by clicking here), you can install the SSL certificate with a simple click.
So, once installed the SSL Certificate on your server, the second step is to make sure your site is not loading mixed content, which happens when the page loads content served in https AND http (no secure).
This is very usual in CMS's like Wordpress when you install a SSL Certificate after installing your Wordpress.
Luckily solving this issue is pretty straightforward: you only need to install a plugin that forces your Wordpress website to load all the resources (images, files, etc) in https instead of unsecured http. Take a look at the suggested Wordpress plugins at the bottom of this page.
Again Siteground hosting makes this task easy: they have a tool inside its server to force secure connections without installing any plugin in your Wordpress.
Did you know? Until recently you had to pay for a ssl certificate. Now you can install a free SSL Certificate by installing a Let's Encrypt certificate. Almost every hosting has the option to install it with no charge (if yours don’t, it may be time to change :)
Expert’s suggestion: “You want your website to be secure for a number of reasons. Not only do you want to protect potentially sensitive information, but you’ll want to make sure that your visitors are comfortable browsing through your site. These reasons alone are a good reason to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. However, when you consider the effect that switching to HTTPS will have on your SEO, it becomes a no-brainer.” – Jeff Teh (https://seopressor.com/blog/http-vs-https/)