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Why Every WordPress Website Needs SSL

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) has been around for a while now. You will have noticed many websites now (especially eCommerce sites) have a green padlock displayed in the browser address bar. When you see this green padlock, it means that the website you are visiting is secured with SSL and that all communication between your browser and the website is encrypted, so even if someone intercepts your data in transit, they cannot access it easily.

With SSL installed, any information sent to/from your website gets encrypted making it unreadable to everyone except the intended server. This makes it nearly impossible for hackers to steal your information.

You can check the security rating of your website using the Qualys Lab Tool.

Why is SSL important?

1. Security & Trust

The main benefit of SSL is that your site has added security and man-in-the-middle attacks are much harder. In January 2017, Google started marking any pages where you enter login information, or payment information as non-secure if SSL was not installed on the website. When users see a site marked as insecure, it will very quickly erode trust and confidence and will most definitely affect your conversion rate.

The green padlock gives a sense of security and comfort to an increasingly security conscious public. Any new websites that we have developed since the middle of 2016 have SSL as default.

2. Google Ranking Signal

Google made SSL a ranking signal in 2014, but a very lightweight one at that time. This is gaining strength now though. Google’s Gary Illyes spoke at the Search Marketing Expo East conference and said:

Only 10% of the crawled and discovered URLs on the web are HTTPS URLs. Looking at all the queries done on Google, 30% of the first page of the Google search results for each of those queries have at least one HTTPS URL listed in the results.

Google hardly ever give any detail on how their search algorithms work, but they took the unusual step of saying that they give slight priority to sites that use SSL. They want every website to have SSL for better security for users and this is the way in which they can encourage websites to use SSL. They say that they are making the internet safer by “making sure that websites people access from Google are secure.”

This is a relatively ‘easy-win’ to implement compared to other SEO strategies. It won’t be enough to get you to page 1 on it’s own, but it does help gain a small boost over your competitors.

What are my options?

Implementing SSL has become a lot easier since the introduction of Let’s Encrypt, a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority. If you host with us, we can setup your Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate to automatically renew indefinitely.

There are also paid SSL certificates available and these have much more stringent checks before they are issued. They also come with insurance and have domain validation. Prices for these start at about £50 per year and goes up depending on the level of coverage that you need.

For eCommerce websites, we would recommend getting a paid SSL certificate. If you can justify the cost, it is worth getting the paid certificates, but at the very least, you should have your website secured with the free Let’s Encrypt certificate.

Getting SSL setup properly can be a bit fiddly. We can get SSL setup for you with setup prices starting from £100 + VAT (does not include price of certificate if using a paid certificate) and depends on the complexity of your website.

If you would like us to get SSL setup for your website, get in touch and we can help.

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