What Is an SSL Certificate?

Does your website have an SSL certificate? You may not know what this is, why it’s important, or if it affects your website’s search rankings. If that is the case, read on. We will explain. What Is SSL? SSL, or…

Does your website have an SSL certificate? You may not know what this is, why it’s important, or if it affects your website’s search rankings. If that is the case, read on. We will explain.

What Is SSL?

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is an encryption-based internet protocol used to verify the identity of servers. In 1995, Netscape developed SSL to ensure privacy and data integrity when internet servers communicated with each other. 

Today’s internet uses TLS encryption to accomplish the same goal. If your website has HTTPS in its URL, it is using SSL/TLS encryption. Older websites still using HTTP in their URLs are more vulnerable to data breaches and other security problems. 

In order for a website to move from HTTP to the more secure HTTPS, it must have an SSL certificate. This is a data file hosted in the website’s origin server. The SSL certificate contains the website’s identity, its public key, and all related information necessary for it to identify itself to other websites for verification. This includes:

  • The domain name
  • The organization, person, or device that the certificate was issued to
  • The certificate authority and their digital signature
  • The certificate’s issue date and expiration date
  • The public key (separate from the private key which remains secret)
  • Any associated subdomains

Why Go to the Trouble of Getting an SSL Certificate?

The public and private keys that the SSL certificate uses encrypt and decrypt data. This helps to keep a website’s user data much more secure. It also verifies the website’s ownership, stops dishonest and fraudulent parties from creating copycat versions of the website, and signals to the website’s users that there is additional security at work and their data is safe. Some users deliberately avoid websites that have the less secure http:// web addresses. 

If you are not sure if your website has an SSL certificate, type your website’s address into the address bar. If you see a little padlock in front of the address, it does. Otherwise, there will be a notification that looks like this: 

Almost all websites today have a security certificate, but they are especially important for e-commerce sites. If you want to fully optimize your website, you should also know that Google factors in whether a website has an SSL certificate or not and will rank it higher if it does. 

If your website doesn’t employ a security certificate and you aren’t sure what to do, let us know. This is an easy fix. An SSL certificate is included in all of our website maintenance and managed hosting packages. Corporate Conversions can help you improve your website’s security very quickly by helping you acquire your SSL certificate. 

Tom Damitio

Tom Damitio has been working in digital marketing for the last 9 years in various areas from SEO, content marketing, Pay Per Click, and consulting. The best part of his job is learning about each business and working with them to find the best solution or marketing plan. When he is not working, Tom enjoys being outside gardening, riding his motorcycle, or reading a book.