SSL Certificates – What You Need To Know

By matthewsimpso
In Guides
Jan 11th, 2014
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An SSL Certificate: Does My Website Need It?

If you have your website hosted somewhere, whether it’s Godaddy, Hostgator, or one of the major players, chances are you have been offered the chance to add SSL encryption to your website. These certificates are usually priced at around $70 per year (although there are godaddy ssl certificate coupons to help you save money).

What’s worse is that you are usually warned that website visitors will get warnings not to visit your site from their internet browser. But is that true? If it were, then it should be absolutely required for every website to have a certificate. And yet, a vast majority of websites don’t have them.

What is an SSL Certificate?

The ‘SSL’ in ‘SSL Certificates’ stands for ‘secure socket layer‘. It essentially adds a layer of encryption to your website, so that visitors to your website know that you are not gathering information or adding a virus to your computer by visiting the website.

This all sounds good. And most major websites have some kind of SSL Encryption. You can tell by looking at the address bar. Instead of ‘http:’ at the beginning of a website’s url, there will be a ‘https:’. Google, Facebook, Twitter, all the major websites have it.

But if my website is small, do I still need it?

Here are instances when you absolutely should get SSL:

  • You have an ecommerce site that processes transactions.
  • You have a lot of website traffic.
  • You have a lot of interactive objects on your site (i.e. games, widgets, calculators).

What is SSL certificate?

An Example of an SSL Encrypted Site


If you handle transactions, you absolutely need it. That’s a no-brainer. If you have a website with lots of traffic, it’s probably a good idea to get an SSL. Why?
High traffic websites can be targets for malicious code. Someone may try to hack into your website and add code that will infect all of the visitors to your website. The SSL won’t make your website more secure from hacking attempts (other tools will help), but it will keep your visitors safe.

When you don’t need to get SSL Encryption:

  • You have a small, text-based blog with not a lot of traffic.
  • Your website is based on a larger host, like Tumblr, or WordPress.com. (they have their own security).

Well, the honest truth is that most websites don’t have them. Our website personally doesn’t need it.

Bottom Line:

It definitely won’t hurt your website or its reputation to get SSL Encryption. It’s an added expense, but it does help you build trust with your website visitors.

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