Programming Security

7 Reasons Your Site Needs an SSL Certificate

Philip Bates 30-05-2018

Look at the top of this page. In the address bar, you’ll see “HTTPS”—that “S” signifies that we have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? Browsing the Internet can be scary when personal information is involved. Read More , meaning your connection is secure. You should see one on any site that asks for personal data, especially payment information. Actually, these days, you should see one everywhere.


SSL certificates are important, especially if you’re running your own website. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a small blog or a full e-commerce site: you need an SSL certificate. Here are some practical reasons why.

1. Protection Against Hackers

why your site needs an ssl certificate

HTTP is the text protocol which sends information between your device and the website you’re visiting. HTTPS is the secure version of this What Is HTTPS & How To Enable Secure Connections Per Default Security concerns are spreading far and wide and have reached the forefront of most everybody's mind. Terms like antivirus or firewall are no longer strange vocabulary and are not only understood, but also used by... Read More . It encrypts information between the two, so anything sent between the pair is scrambled, rendering it virtually unreadable.

This is essential if you’re inputting sensitive details like your password, or credit card info. But equally, it protects you from man-in-the-middle (MITM) What Is a Man-in-the-Middle Attack? Security Jargon Explained If you've heard of "man-in-the-middle" attacks but aren't quite sure what that means, this is the article for you. Read More attacks: this is when a third party (i.e. a hacker) is intercepting transmissions between two clients.

You might not consider this a major issue. However, without encryption, a cybercriminal can display a fake webpage. Links on this false site could download something malicious onto your computer, like malware.


Your readers will receive the messages you intend them to read if you install an SSL certificate.

2. You’re More Trustworthy to Users

why your site needs an ssl certificate

It should go without saying that readers trust a secure site more than one which can be harmful to their device. Hopefully, you always check whether a site is safe by checking the URL, particularly ecommerce pages. Some users will even employ a virtual private network (VPN) The Best VPN Services We've compiled a list of what we consider to be the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) service providers, grouped by premium, free, and torrent-friendly. Read More to make sure a good level of security is maintained.

Some years ago, relatively few people knew about SSL certificates. Now, many more recognize the need for such security. We can probably thank Google for the increase in awareness.


With a certificate, you’re sending out a message to your readers and customers, proving to them that you take them seriously. You take their privacy seriously. And by doing so, you’re instilling confidence.

Without an SSL certificate, you’re waving a red flag to your readers, which may put them off future visits.

3. Chrome Displays Your Site Properly

why your site needs an ssl certificate

While it’s not a fabric flag, it is a warning displayed by Google Chrome. Any readers trying to visit a site which doesn’t have an SSL certificate will instead see a page alerting them that the connection isn’t private.


Bear in mind that Google Chrome is the most popular mainstream browser. People like its interface and love that its largely very secure What Is the Most Secure Mainstream Browser? The battle for the best desktop browser will never be settled. But which is the most secure? All boast having superior protection -- but in 2017, which is the browser of choice for the security-... Read More . For much of its life, Chrome has loaded encrypted pages with a padlock and green “Secure” message displayed.

In 2018, Google switches its stance on the issue. Instead of viewing HTTP as the standard model for sites, Chrome will expect HTTPS as default and only show non-secure sites reluctantly, i.e. after warning users it’s not safe.

We expect other browsers to follow suit.

4. Improved Search Engine Rankings

why your site needs an ssl certificate


We’ve established that Chrome won’t like your site without SSL Google Is Making HTTPS the Chrome Default With well over half of all websites now encrypted, it's time to think of HTTPS as the default option rather than the exception. That is, at least, according to Google. Read More ; Google, as the search engine, won’t either.

Many rely on search engine optimization (SEO) to achieve a higher ranking on Google. But search for anything, and the chances are the vast majority of results on the first page will have HTTPS addresses. Ask any SEO experts, and they’ll tell you that it’s vital for sites to be on the first two pages of results. Comparatively few look beyond that.

Anything (legal) you can do to stay ahead of the competition—particularly by prioritizing security—is crucial.

With an SSL Certificate, not only will readers trust you more, but search engines will too. This results in more readers, and the more popular your blog becomes, the higher it’ll rank on Google! It’s a win-win.

5. Improved Site Speed

why your site needs an ssl certificate

Your site ranking is also partially determined by site speed. The faster your website, the more people will visit, and the higher you’ll appear in search results.

So it’s a good thing that shifting to HTTPS also improves the loading speed of pages—despite what you’ve heard. It’s a myth that adding an SSL certificate slows everything down. In fact, there’s a whole site dedicated to demonstrating how much faster HTTPS is, compared to HTTP.

Except that’s not the whole truth. The margin between HTTP and HTTPS is slight, but the latter is often, in reality, a relatively-new protocol called HTTP/2. And HTTP/2 really is faster than HTTP and standard HTTPS.

You’ll benefit from increased performance, and so will your audience. Users are more likely to return if they know everything loads in quick time.

6. It Doesn’t Cost Much

Adding an SSL certificate is an intimidating task, which is why smaller websites frequently don’t do it. And why others are happy to charge huge fees for a typical technical request. You must tread carefully because there’s always someone looking to exploit others, particularly when it comes to technology.

Indeed, some web hosts make it sound overly complicated and penalize anyone who doesn’t employ the platform’s own SSL service.

But it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Prospective fees are greater the more certificates you need, yet it’s not imperative you hand over cash. Just look around for services that do this cheaply or free of charge. Compare what they offer and consider which is best for your position.

Take a look at Let’s Encrypt, for instance. Launched to the public in late 2015, the automated software is supported by big names, including Facebook, Shopify, and Mozilla. It’s probably the best-known free service of its kind, but it’s certainly not the only one.

7. Future Proofing

The security of the web is forever evolving. SSL certificates aren’t the ultimate defence Superfish Hasn't Been Caught Yet: SSL Hijacking Explained Lenovo's Superfish malware caused a stir, but the story's not over. Even if you removed the adware from your computer, the same vulnerabilty exists in other online applications. Read More against hackers, but they’re a good start. Because SSL has developed too.

Specifically, it’s being upgraded to Transport Layer Security (TLS). You’ve probably seen SSL and TLS used interchangeably, but there are differences. TLS is stronger due to more thorough verifications, newer algorithms, and better key generations. These authentications occur before any data is relayed, so happens incredibly fast.

Here’s what you should take away from this: TLS is SSL’s successor How Web Browsing Is Becoming Even More Secure We have SSL certificates to thank for our security and privacy. But recent breaches and flaws may have dented your trust in the cryptographic protocol. Fortunately, SSL is adapting, being upgraded - here's how. Read More , so it’s more secure. When many companies talk about having SSL certificates, they often mean TLS is instead employed.

As long as it’s HTTPS, pages are encrypted between endpoints. Look for TLS, but also know that many services— like Let’s Encrypt and Symantec’s Encryption Everywhere—already implement it.

Keep Your Site Secure With an SSL Certificate

Big or small, e-commerce or blog, it doesn’t matter: every site needs solid security measures.

You really shouldn’t underestimate the reach of your site, nor your responsibilities as its owner. Similarly, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of HTTPS addresses, nor encryption as a whole Don't Believe These 5 Myths About Encryption! Encryption sounds complex, but is far more straightforward than most think. Nonetheless, you might feel a little too in-the-dark to make use of encryption, so let's bust some encryption myths! Read More . It’s a vital part of the internet. If you don’t have one already, it really is time you obtained an SSL certificate.

Image Credit: Laures/Depositphotos

Related topics: Online Security, Security Certificate, SSL.

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  1. Scott Davis
    May 30, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    That's mostly a load of crap... If you take payments, use https. If you're informational, don't waste the money or time.

    • James Bruce
      May 31, 2018 at 7:11 am

      While I agree, the great Google gods do not. If Google gives a ranking bonus to those on HTTPS, it's no longer an option. But given you can use free let's encrypt certs, and most hosts have it as a simple toggle to enable, it's not exactly a huge outlay of either time or effort.