Every business today needs a website. It is no longer an extra marketing tool, but rather it is fundamental to the way your business runs. People go online before visiting a business in person, even when they know the physical visit will be necessary regardless. This is all the more true in the time of COVID-19, which has kept everyone indoors and online more than ever before.
However, not any website will do. In order to come across as professional, there are certain aspects your website cannot neglect. This goes beyond a professional logo, domain name, and theme.
One of the most crucial features your website needs is an SSL certificate. To understand why, let’s take a quick look at what exactly an SSL certificate proves.
What is SSL?
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is an encryption protocol that secures any data that passes through your website. An SSL ensures that, as long as the data is on your server, it cannot be hacked and decrypted. This is true of your own data and the data of any customers.
An SSL certificate verifies that your website takes measures to secure your visitors’ data. It can be seen in the URL as ‘https’. The URL bar will also show a lock icon next to your URL. In a day and age where data breaches can cause major financial and reputational damage, you and your visitors should always ensure that any website you visit has an SSL certificate. This is all the more true on websites that you share your credit card information.
You should not need to seek out SSL specifically, but it should come with your hosting.
What is SSL hosting?
When choosing web hosting, you should always look for SSL hosting. What is SSL hosting? Basically, this refers to any hosting which provides SSL encryption for your website.
While it may seem like SSL should be an automatic inclusion, there are still a number of hosting providers that either do not provide SSL or does not require you to pay extra for it. These hosting providers should be avoided. After all, privacy is something we should not take for granted, and is not something that should come as an extra feature.
Websites not secured with SSL put you and your visitors in danger and lower your SEO ranking on Google and other search engines. Furthermore, some web browsers will ask users for verification before allowing them to proceed to a website without SSL encryption. If you have ever come across such a situation, chances are you reconsidered whether you actually needed to proceed. This scenario will, therefore, lose you visitors and, ultimately, leads.
When should I forego SSL?
As a website owner, no matter what website you are creating you should include SSL encryption. Most websites without SSL encryption are vulnerable to hackers for a reason. They make visitors’ data relatively easily accessible to competent hackers, who may even be in cahoots with the site.
SSL hosting should be a given in 2020. Privacy is the big security story of this century, and any website which compromises that should be avoided.