What Is an SSL Certificate and Do You Need One?
SSL certificates are quickly becoming the fabric of the new web. It helps ensure that the web has a base level of privacy and integrity while ensuring that information is transferred from point A to point B securely. It’s one of the core tenants of security for any modern website. First things first, what is SSL, exactly? “SSL” is short for Secure Sockets Layer. In simpler terms, it’s how small businesses communicate with customers that they can browse, buy products or services, and share information safely online. Without getting overly technical, adding an SSL creates a safe connection for those kinds of activities. Think of an SSL certificate as a giant windshield for when you drive on the information super-highway. You wouldn’t head out on your local freeway, especially at night in a rural area, without something between you and all the bugs. You likely couldn’t see, and besides, you’ve already had your protein for breakfast. In much the same way, an SSL certificate protects your site, and its visitors, from many digital bugs, worms and other nasty web creatures. Before quickly dismissing your site as “too small to be a target,” bear in mind that most interceptions are done electronically without a human deciding who is attacked. Do you plan to accept major credit cards online? Some web hosting companies, including GoDaddy, have terms of service requiring websites to be secured with an SSL before accepting credit cards. Besides, would you really want to put your customers at risk of having their credit card information stolen while shopping on your site? It’s not exactly a great way to attract repeat business. There are other reasons, however, to add an SSL. A major reason you might want to add an SSL certificate to your website is if any of your pages are password protected. This includes WordPress or Joomla! or other database-driven sites with a login page for the administrator. Membership sites with multiple logins also create more opportunities for black-hat hackers to attack. Remember, anything that needs to be secure online needs to operate under the safety net of an SSL certificate. The web is filled with bots lurking around seeking poorly protected password pages to provide them access to your website. You don’t want to log on only to find your pages have been defaced or deleted. Not everyone collects money online. Some websites collect information. These could be leads for potential home buyers. Or questionnaires about your client’s employment history. Or anything. If you are collecting even the most basic information such as name, address, phone number and email address, chances are your clients would not want that information leaked. Without an SSL certificate, some types of form mail can be intercepted. Some code is more reliable than others. Do you want to take chances that yours is susceptible to hacking? Probably not. The Journey is what everyday entrepreneurs, like you, need to follow in the pursuit of online success. Our experienced GoDaddy Guides are here to take you through all the steps, both big and small, that you encounter every day.
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