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What is an SSL Certificate?

Last updated on by Freeola Support

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Once you have a website, and you've sorted all the tricky aspects of design, then you will want to drive visitors to your site and keep them coming back. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will play a large part in customers finding you, but you will also want to make sure that visitors feel secure when they visit your site (especially if you have an online store).

This is where an SSL certificate can help you out; an SSL certificate creates a secure connection and encrypts any data that is transferred, by changing the protocol from HTTP to HTTPS. It's even more important now that nearly all currently available web browsers flag HTTP pages as "not secure" and will display a warning to site visitors.

An example of an address bar on a site using HTTPS can be seen below.HTTPS Padlock

So let's cut through all the jargon and review what this all means moving forward.

What is HTTP & HTTPS?

HyperText Transfer Protocol is the protocol that defines how data is transferred between a user's computer and the site that they are visiting. The "S" in HTTPS stands for Secure and means that the data transferred is encrypted and the integrity of the data is protected.

HTTPS encrypts the data to such a high level, that even if a hacker were able to intercept the data transfer, they would not be able to decipher the original content. This ensures a secure exchange of data between the user and the intended recipient (the website).

How Do I Change To HTTPS?

You can change over to HTTPS by securing your site with an SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. When a visitor comes to a site secured with SSL, the web server will automatically send the visitor's browser a copy of the certificate. Once this is verified, a unique encryption key is sent and a secure and encrypted session begins. The encryption key ensures that only the visitor and website can see the data in its original form.

Here at Freeola, we now offer a range of SSL certificates; you can secure your site for a small annual charge. Visit our SSL Certificates page to read more about certificate and verification types.

For a detailed guide on how to change, check out our guide Changing from HTTP to HTTPS (Secured Site).

What Does Google's Announcement Mean?

Google have long indicated that having an SSL certificate has a positive effect on site ranking. With the announcement that they will begin to flag HTTP sites as 'not secure', switching to HTTPS is more important than ever. It could prompt visitors to think twice before entering your site. There are so many terrible stories floating around regarding online fraud and theft, that it doesn't take much to warn people off of a site.

With Chrome being the most popular internet browser by quite some margin (over 60% of all internet users chose Chrome as their default as of August 2023 according to one study), it's a fair assumption that it will be the browser of choice for many of your visitors. So you can guarantee that without a HTTPS site, some visitors will get the 'not secure' warning and could scare potential visitors away and negatively effect your business

Why Have Google Decided To Do This?

The idea is to nudge as many legitimate sites as possible over to using HTTPS as standard. When a site implements an SSL certificate, steps are taken to ensure that the site belongs to a verified source. It is essentially a bid to make the internet a safer place and to ensure that questionable sites and hackers will find it harder to operate.

Can I Buy An SSL Certificate? Will It Work On My Site?

Our SSL certificates are compatible with all our hosting services (including RQS and InstantPro). Our certificates are also compatible with most other hosting services, however you will have to confirm with your hosting provider whether they are happy to accept a certificate that was purchased from a 3rd party.

Customers using our VIP Hosting or SSD Hosting services are also entitled to a free SSL certificate for their primary domain name during the subscription period.

To find out more, or to purchase an SSL certificate, check out our Secure SSL Certificates page.

If you feel like you need some help, here at Freeola we offer a number of affordable web design packages - whether it's just a little assistance that you need or a whole site design. You can check out our web design packages or get in touch with our web design team.

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