Don’t have an SSL certificate on your website? Google will flag your site as insecure

Google announced that from July 2018 it will not support sites lacking SSL certificates. This means that users will not only get information that your site is not secure. It will also adversely affect your page’s SEO effects and its visibility in search results. See how to save your site from a disaster.

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is an Internet protocol that once installed on a server encrypts the connection between the browser (the user) and the page server (your web page). After implementing an SSL certificate, the site’s URL protocol will change from HTTP to HTTPS. How does an HTTPS make your website safer? It encrypts the data with an AES key (for example 256-bit), so it is not possible to break the algorithm and capture personal information. This increases your website’s security and hence – the trust of your users.

What threatens a website without an HTTPS certificate?

If the connection between the user’s web browser and the web server is not secured by an SSL certificate, a skilled hacker could, for example, seize and use information your users leave on your page (e.g. credit cards numbers), change your users’ data or redirect it.

The lack of SSL certificate on your page may also end in the fact that:

  • Your users will lose trust in your site (Google will flag an HTTP non-secure protocol as a Not Secure in the URL bar).
  • The position of your website will drop in the search results, and so will do the traffic on your site (in the summer of 2018, SSL certificate will become an important Google’s SEO ranking factor).
  • You will be punished for breaching the regulations of the GDPR, which come into force in May 2018 (GDPR assumes that every website that transmits/processes personal data must encrypt its connections with an SSL certificate).

When to install an SSL to avoid the risk?

Google announced that it would implement the SSL changes in July 2018. But, you should already be prepared for this change (for example, due to the GDPR), otherwise, your website and your business, are likely to incur losses.

How much does an SSL certificate cost…

There is no one answer to the question on how much does an SSL certificate cost. It depends on certificate’s type, add-ons, solutions, and its assurance level. Generally, SSL’s price varies from several to several hundred dollars a year, but there are also free certificates on the market.

…and how to implement it?

The method of installing the SSL certificate depends on the server and sometimes on the certificate and its issuer.

An example of a simple and automated installation of an SSL certificate:

  • After issuing the certificate by the certifying authority, you will receive an e-mail with the purchased certificate.
  • Download the certificate from the e-mail.
  • Log in to your server.
  • Find the Install Certificate button (usually this option is located in the Security section).
  • Follow the instructions (e.g. accept the SSL service rules) and if necessary, confirm again the action Install.
  • After installation, you should see a message confirming the process.

However, it often happens that certificate installations also require the installation of a root CA (so-called Root) and an intermediate certificate (so-called Intermediate) on the server. So, if you have problems installing the SSL certificate on your site, please use the instructions provided by the certificate providers, as well as the hosting providers. Remember that you do not always have to install the SSL certificate yourself. It may happen that a hosting company offers such a service. In this case, contact your hosting provider and ask for implementation.

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Karolina Bielawska