Install a SSL Certificate
Install a SSL Certificate
Under Category "Advanced Technical SEO"
Beginner

Install a SSL Certificate: a must in 2019

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”,

  • If a website is using HTTP, a hacker would see: “SEO technique 1”
  • If a website is using HTTPS (SSL certificate), a hacker would see something like: “XdghyYdkbZ HggiiiI Q?”

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.

How to install a SSL Certificate

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.

Recommended SEO Tools:

  • Cyber Scanner (Free): Cyber Scanner has the ability to determine if your site certificate is valid. Potential vulnerabilities are also checked with respect to common issues which include Heartbleed, Beast, etc. Then again it helps to check the security of your site while leaving audit trails.
  • DigiCert SSL Installation Diagnostics Tool (Free+Paid): Gives you the provision of using their test website to carry out the server and hostname tests. They have a certificate installation checker which you can use at no cost including some other top quality tools for you to explore.
  • Wormly (Free):  is a trusted SSL tester where you can carry out checks that exceed 65 metrics. You will get reports immediately about the status of a wide range of web programming issues which may make your site slower. SSL
  • SSL Checker (Free):SSL Checker makes the cut for great website security checkers. You get reminders about the site certificate's expiration each time you carry out tests, and it can help to verify the proper installation of SSL certificate while running diagnostic tests to verify if it is trusted.
  • SSL Checker by SSL Shopper (Paid): your website needs this amazing tool which stands out from the rest through the provision of unique analytics for your website in areas such as the validity of your website certificate as well as functionality and authenticity.

Recommended WordPress Plugins

  • Really Simple SSL (Free): auto-detection of your settings while configuring your site for https. A lightweight login with very minimal options set to move your site in totality to SSL.
  • WP Force SSL (Free): get help with HTTP traffic redirection immediately to https. No need tampering with any codes.
  • Cloudflare Flexible SSL (Paid): very vital in activating flexible SSL directly and seamlessly on WordPress. Infinite redirect loops total prevention as you load WordPress sites using this plugin system.
  • SSL Insecure Content Fixer (Free): now you can get https content cleaned up while mixed content alerts are sent to you. The installation of this plugin can provide a solution to most of the content warnings that you receive seamlessly. Other tools can help to diagnose the remainder.
  • One Click SSL (Paid): extremely seamless and hassle-free, this SSL plugin has the ability to redirect pages that are not accessible straight to SSL while ensuring that every SSL page resource loads over SSL too.

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/)

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