I was going to start this blog article off with something like: “In the early days of the internet…”, but I quickly realised that made me sound ancient!

How about…

Unless you want your website to be banned by Google, you really need to implement site-wide security on your website.

What’s that you say?

When you look at your website URL (the address bar at the top of the page), you need to see a padlock symbol to show that you have SSL enabled on your site.

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and was the early attempt to encrypt the data between the server and the person browsing your webpage. It stopped people from intercepting traffic and stealing your credit-card data, so it’s a good thing.

Truth be told though, it has been replaced by a newer, more secure protocol known as Transport Layer Security (TLS). Even though TLS has replaced SSL, the old name has stuck so, when you’re looking to purchase or install website security certificates, the common term is still SSL.

What are your options when it comes to SSL Certificates?

Certificate were issued by a few specialist companies who controlled their distribution. Most of these companies had different versions of certificates that gave:

  • Different levels of protection
  • The ability to protect multiple subdomains (www.yoursite.com, mail.yoursite.com, etc.yoursite.com)
  • Different levels of encryption (1024-bit, 2048-bit, 4096-bit)

The problem was that they were expensive and needed someone with server access to install the certificate.

As the web continued to bloom and more and more companies were offering online sales portals, the need for cheaper SSL certificates became a critical factor.

Luckily, this need was recognised by some major industry players (Cisco, Facebook, IBM, SiteGround and dozens more), who got together to create a free SSL certificate infrastructure. This consortium is called “Let’s Encrypt”. These days, it’s easy to add SSL to your site and many hosting providers offer this as a “click to install” feature.

Encryption is seen as critical to the safety of the internet. Depending on when you read this blog post, Google is either about to, or has implemented measures to penalise sites without SSL enabled. In other words, your site will disappear from internet searches and become invisible!

To keep your website online and avoid penalty, get SSL installed and configured. It will keep your visitors (and Google) happy.