Do you really need an SSL (https://) for your website?

August 15, 2018

Everyone know that having your website safe and secure, is important; but what does this really mean?

What is SSL:

There is a lot of debate going around about SSL (i.e. Secure Websites, also known as “https”) these last few months and it’s actually an old topic that has been around since previous 2014 Google algorithm updates. SSL is usually unnecessary for anyone unless they have a shopping cart (e-commerce) site or if they send sensitive data over their website (i.e. contact form on your site that asks for SSN# or credit card info, etc..). Basically it is simply used to protect sensitive data sent from your website.

It is also important to note that SSL does very little to “secure” your web site. It does NOT prevent your web site from being “hacked” and therefore SSL-enabled web sites are not necessarily “safer”. Which is why we create backups of your website regularly, as a free service to our monthly plan clients. SSL simply only protects data in transmission (i.e. if you have a form on your site that sends you an email with sensitive data).

How Does SSL Effect SEO:

In our research, there is not a strong, 100% preference from Google toward websites with SSL and many large SEO studies collaborate this with plenty of data. Their main preference is that you have a mobile compatible site (which we always make with all of our sites). The whole point of SSL is to protect information sent via your website servers, like credit cards or SSN or sensitive personal info. Obviously none of that is related to SEO. So it makes sense that Google wouldn’t care about SSL for measuring a website ranking.

The Google Chrome SSL Update:

The big change that happened recently with Chrome (the browser), is that in the top right corner it will either say “Secure” or “Not Secure” for a website.  Before the Chrome update, it would not have the words and just have a symbol/icon for this.

If you are worried that your website visitors will be scared off, and want it to say “secure”, then you must have an SSL for your website. But, if you think no one will ever notice that small little area, then don’t worry about it (and honestly, we don’t get into the hype of an SSL and we honestly believe it is usually a waste of money).

So… you still want SSL for your site:

However, if you want to add an SSL to your site, we are happy to set it up for you. There is a yearly charge per website. This includes a basic SSL yearly certification, edits to your site code for SSL compatibility and server installation of SSL (all are required to properly set it up).  Please contact us if you wish to proceed and we can get your setup in a couple of days. Thanks!