SSL security: Why it matters and how to add HTTPS to your website

Secure your advantage

Would your website lose visitors if it lacked SSL security? Of course. Everyone is at least aware of site security, especially if they’re about to whip out a credit card and buy something. A recent survey says 85 percent of online shoppers would avoid a website they perceive as unsecured. Most people recognize the padlock symbol in the URL bar as a sign of SSL security — but what does the padlock mean and why is it important?

What is SSL security?

If you’ve ever looked at the URL displayed at the top of a browser screen, you may notice that some websites start with “HTTP” and some with “HTTPS.” The “S” stands for “Secure” — and it comes from securing your website with an SSL certificate. Sites with HTTPS have an additional layer of protection for any sensitive data that is exchanged.

Related: HTTP vs. HTTPS — The great migration

SSL-secured websites also usually have a green padlock displayed in the URL window. That trusty padlock icon is the symbol of SSL protection.

Internet users have come to look at the padlock as a sign of trustworthiness for online vendors.

SSL is a form of data encryption, where the browser that you’re using to surf the internet establishes a secure connection with the website you’re steering toward. It takes the data shared back and forth between these two “vehicles” and scrambles it. Only the SSL-secured website can see the data because it has a key to unscramble the data.

When a browser accesses a website with SSL, an “SSL handshake” occurs. This is an instantaneous and invisible process where the SSL-encrypted website and the browser form a secure connection to share data back and forth. No one besides the user and the website can see the data passing between the two.

Activating SSL security on a website requires the site owner to purchase an SSL certificate (more on that below).

Is trust still important online?

One of the fundamental truths of commerce has always been that people buy from brands they trust. But online, with millions of phishing attacks happening daily and cybersecurity threats making the news every week, what is the easiest and most effective way to establish that a website is secure?

Having authenticated SSL security helps establish trust between buyer and seller even in the anonymity of the internet.

SSL Security Infographic

As a protocol, SSL security has become the go-to tool for protecting data. An SSL certificate allows people to transmit credit card, Social Security numbers or other sensitive data between an email server, browser and a website. SSL security protects millions of site transactions every day. But what’s the real risk of going to an HTTP site?

How can you tell if a website has SSL security? If the site has “HTTPS://” it has SSL. If it’s just “HTTP,” the site is not secure.

In July, Google Chrome began marking sites without HTTPS as “not secure.”

 

Now it’s a lot easier to discern that the site is not ensuring an encrypted data flow between the credit card you just typed in and that pair of shoes you just had to buy. Would you be less likely to buy those shoes if you had a message saying the transaction is unsecured?

SSL Security HTTPS

Why add SSL security to your site?

“The benefits of activating SSL certificates for your business or personal websites are incredible” as a tool for establishing trust online. ~ Ivailo Nikolov, writing for Forbes

Having SSL security shows your clients and visitors that you have the highest level of security and they can trust the veracity of your site. As an added bonus there is the peace of mind knowing your site is safer from a data breach. Without SSL data in transit between the customer and an eCommerce site is vulnerable to hacker attacks that steal data when it’s most vulnerable.

But there is another big reason to add SSL security: Google factors SSL into its SEO algorithms so that sites with SSL rank higher than those without. Search Engine Land says that if two sites are tied for Google ranking, having SSL security could be the tiebreaker in favor of the HTTPS site. In the hard-fought wars of top page ranking on Google, SSL matters.

How to add HTTPS to your website

Ready to add HTTP to a new or existing website? Here’s how to do it:

For a GoDaddy GoCentral website

GoDaddy GoCentral is a modular website builder that makes it simple to create your own secure website in about an hour — just choose one of the Business plans or Online Store.

For a website on GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting

GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting features one-click SSL setup in the Ultimate and Developer plans so your site will display that trustworthy green lock.

Secure your existing website with an SSL certificate

If you’ve already got a website but it is not secured with an SSL certificate, check out your options through GoDaddy. GoDaddy SSL Certificates are trusted by browsers and use the world’s strongest encryption. Plus, GoDaddy provides 24/7 security support when you need it.

What’s more, GoDaddy’s new Easy SSL Service — which supports websites on GoDaddy’s Web Hosting and WordPress Hosting — installs, configures and deploys your SSL certificate automatically.

Related: Choosing the right SSL certificate

Secure your website STAT

Whether it’s to improve SEO, protect data, build trust or even maintain leads, having an SSL certificate is a necessity for any website. GoDaddy offers SSL certificate options for all kinds of websites and website owners (even those without any technical prowess). Don’t wait to sign up for encryption protection.

Robin Walters
Robin Walters is a seasoned but not too salty full stack marketing nerd. She likes long walks on the beach with her five dogs, but she’s landlocked in the Midwest. By day, Robin is an IT recruiter for a software firm. At night and on weekends she writes a crap load of copy. Robin lives on a farm with her partner of 25 years. It’s a good life and she’s happy to still be in it.