Making Your Website Secure With SSL (HTTPS)

The internet can be a dangerous place. With many big companies getting their website’s hacked and people’s personal details being made available to the wrong kind of people or organisations, online security is a hot topic.

For the past month or so, if you are a Chrome user you may have noticed that some websites have a “Not secure” message next to the website address.

This is because Google are getting serious on both privacy and security. They want website owners to ensure that their visitors can browse websites safely, without worrying that their information might not be safe and connection not secure.

So do you have a website and want to know how to make your website secure with the green padlock and “Secure” message to prove it? In this article we will explain how to achieve this using an SSL certificate.

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL Certificates provide secure, encrypted connections between a website and an internet browser. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is the protocol which provides the encryption. It used to be that SSL Certificates were typically installed on pages that require end-users to submit sensitive information such as credit card details or passwords, e.g. online shopping carts or login pages. But these days, it is advised to have SSL enabled on your entire website to avoid being tagged as “Not secure”.

How do I get an SSL certificate?

To get an SSL certificate you have two options; pay for one, or use a free one. Which one to choose really depends on your requirements. So let’s see what the differences are…

Free SSL Certificate

Free SSL certificates can be divided into two categories:

  1. A “Self-Signed Certificate” is one that has no need for a Certificate Authority to sign it. This means that the certificate has not been validated by a trusted third party and could essentially be useless due to the fact it can’t really be trusted. Who’s to say it’s legit?
  2. The second type of free SSL certificate you can get is signed by a Certificate Authorities (CA). This means that a trusted third party has vouched for the certificate and it is seen as more trustworthy. If you are going down this route we could strongly suggest Let’s Encrypt

As far as the level of encryption is concerned, both options provides the same level of encryption as the paid ones.

Paid SSL Certificates

A paid certificate is issued and signed by a trustworthy certificate authority (CA). You can either get it directly from the Certificate Authority’s website or you can purchase it from 3rd parties or resellers.

Benefits of Buying an SSL Certificate

So in terms of encryption, both free and paid certificates offer the same level of protection. But there are some benefits of purchasing a certificate as opposed to using a free one:

How do I Install or Use an SSL Certificate Once Purchased?

Different systems and servers have different methods of installing SSL certificates and we would strongly advise using a professional to ensure that it is installed correctly. If you are looking for some advice, or would like us to install a certificate on your website please get in touch.

Things to Consider Once Your SSL Certificate Has Been Installed

Once your certificate has been installed, you will need to make some changes to your website not only to utilise the certificate and ensure all visitors are seeing the HTTPS version of the site, but also to avoid breaking any functionality or having visitors presented with a “This page is not secure message”.

Things to consider are:

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The Web Taylor
1000 Lakeside North Harbour Portsmouth, Hampshire PO6 3EN
02392 123358