Your website is a marketing tool for you business that is there, 27 hours a day, 7 days per week. It never takes a vacation, but it’s constantly there, bringing in new customers, answering questions, and priming new clients for doing business with you. There are many requirements for a business website, but one of the most important ones is an SSL certificate.

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. An SSL certificate is a digital certificate or file, that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology. This keeps the information sent over this connection secure, because it is encoded, so that nothing outside can understand it. It is only readable if you have the right code, or key, that makes it readable again.

In other words, an SSL certificate is like a secret message that is passed from a user’s computer to the server, that is very secure, so that the message cannot be intercepted, and information cannot be stolen. The certificate holds essential data that tells your browser that the connection is secure, and authenticates the website and owner.

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Why Do I need an SSL Certificate?

In the age of hackers and bots that are out there to intercept and steal your data, it’s more important than ever that a business website has an SSL certificate. Most browsers now will display a “this connection is not secure” message in the browser, and visitors can’t even view your website without accepting the conditions of being at risk. That means that even if your website is getting traffic from organic or paid searches via Google or Bing, that most people won’t even see your actual website. They’ll receive a message that your site is not secure, and they will leave and not come back.

SSL Certificates are required for online payment processing

Do you want to take payments from your customers on your website? Most payment processors, like Elavon, Authorize.net, and many others require your website to have an SSL certificate before they’ll even allow you to take payments on your website. That’s because your visitors are coming to your website and entering in their confidential information, like their name, address, credit card information, and more. It is essential that this information is encrypted, so that is isn’t intercepted by online criminals.

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How do I install an SSL Certificate on my website?

If you have a decent website hosting company, they will install an SSL certificate for you. For example, if you use A2 Hosting, they have an option for you to set up your domain with an SSL certificate at the click of a button. If not, your website designer or developer should be able to handle this for you. If you are building a WordPress website, you’ll want to start the website with an SSL certificate.

How to fix SSL certificate and mixed content issues

Mixed content is when your website file paths aren’t using https. This means that you have secure and unsecure files mixed into your web page. If this happens, you’ll see a yellow lock symbol next to your domain name in the browser. If you’re using WordPress, you can handle this with a plugin called Really Simple SSL. It redirects everything to SSL, and sets all of your files to https. This will fix the mixed content issue you typically run into with SSL certificates.

Things to remember about an SSL Certificate:

  • Your website will now start with https:// instead of http://.
  • Your website will show up with a green lock next to your domain name – this builds trust with website visitors.
  • A yellow locks symbol means you have mixed content – both https and http.
  • An SSL certificate needs to be renewed ever 3 months. A good webhost or web design company will be able to handle this for you.
  • A broken or expired SSL certificate can cause your email to stop working.

Conclusion

A secure website is a must. Having an SSL certificate installed on your website will build trust with visitors, while keeping their data secure. If you don’t know or understand how t implement this on your website, that’s okay, any web designer or developer can handle this for you. Do you have any questions about having an SSL certificate on your website? Post them in the comments section below, and we’ll try to help.

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