You’ve registered the perfect domain name for your website. Your product list is coming together and your website looks great. Then, bam. A new contact from the local chamber of commerce asks you over breakfast finger foods if your website will be secured with an SSL certificate.
You remember hearing that Google’s Chrome browser will display a “Not Secure” warning next to the website in the address bar if the site is not secured by an SSL certificate. But wait, what is SSL? Does my website really need an SSL certificate? Do I need to know how SSL works?
Not to worry. Because you’ve read this, you can skip choking on a sausage link or asking someone to pass the muffins to buy time to do a quick web search before answering.
Here’s what you need to know about SSL certificates for your website.
Related: Tools to Secure a Website
What is SSL?
First things first — what is SSL, exactly? “SSL” is short for Secure Sockets Layer. In simpler terms, it’s how website owners communicate with customers that they can browse, buy products or services, and share information safely with you online.
Without getting overly technical, adding an SSL creates a safe connection for those kinds of activities.
Think of an SSL certificate as a giant windshield for when you drive on the information super-highway.
You wouldn’t head out on your local freeway — especially at night in a rural area — without something between you and all the bugs. In much the same way, an SSL certificate protects your site — and its visitors — from many digital bugs, worms and other nasty web creatures.
Before quickly dismissing your site as “too small to be a target,” bear in mind that most interceptions are done electronically without a human deciding who is attacked.
No site is too small to get hacked.
A web creepy crawly doesn’t care how big you are or what you do for a living. They have one goal, and that is to find vulnerabilities. Once discovered, its dirty work begins.
What does an SSL certificate do?
If you’re ever wondered how SSL works, look no further.
An SSL certificate works to create an encrypted connection between your visitor’s browser and the server.
A secure session is established via a “handshake” process, one that involves a back-and-forth between the web browser and the web server, and it occurs behind the scenes — all without interrupting the shopping or browsing experience.
An SSL works to protect valuable information passed between the two parties.