What is SSL?
SSL stands for secure sockets layer and is a level of encryption that establishes a secure connection between a web server and a browser. The purpose of SSL is to make sure that any communication back and forth, such as from your computer to your bank, and your bank back to your computer, is secure.
The big deal about SSL right now is that Google recently announced that with the release of its Chrome v62 browser in a few months, sites that have text input fields- such as contact forms, search bars, and email signup forms will be marked as “NOT SECURE” in the address bar if they are not using SSL by then.
This is a big deal because Google is accelerating the request for SSL installation to make the web more secure. I first heard about the need for SSL months ago; with the explanation that it would be good to put in place, though not mandatory. Now Google has sped up the timeline, announcing that sites need to be secure by October 2017.
They are sending out warnings to web owners as a follow up to secure their sites. This has many website owners searching the question, What is SSL?
How Do You Secure Your Site?
SSL security is achieved by the proper installation and configuration of an SSL certificate, which is obtainable from your webhost, or through third party vendors. In plain English, (more or less), what happens is that you get a certificate from your server which authenticates the server. You apply for an SSL certificate for that certain server, and then are given back a certificate to paste into your server console. This is how you get this done if you are doing this yourself, or are purchasing a third party certificate.
Perhaps an easier way to get this done would be to contact your webhosting company and to ask them about adding an SSL to your site. There may be a separate fee for the purchase of the SSL, so you’ll need to pay that. Most good hosting companies will install your SSL certificate for you.
SSL certificates do expire, so you will have to have yours re-installed when it expires.
What About Free SSL’s?
When it was first suggested that SSL be added to your server, it was fine to use the free SSL’s that are signed by your own server. This has changed, and it’s now recommended to actually pay for an SSL certificate rather than using a free one.
When you have an SSL certificate properly installed, your web visitors will see a green padlock and SECURE in their web browser address window.
This is a good idea to look for whenever you enter your information into an online site. I’ve gotten into the habit of checking for the green padlock and SECURE notation before entering my credit card details in any online site.
Also make sure to check the web address of the site to make sure you are at the legitimate site- Paypal.com, not Paypall.com, for instance. It can be easy to make a mistake.
What You Should Do Next?
The first thing to do is to check if your website has been SSL converted. Navigate to your website in the Chrome browser, and look in the address bar. If you see a green padlock, and SECURE, that’s a good first start. If you don’t see the green padlock, and/or it says NOT SECURE, you need to get an SSL certificate installed.
If you have the green padlock, you just want to confirm with your webhosting company that your SSL is a valid SSL and not self-signed.
What If You Don’t Have Anyone To Install Your SSL?
My company is offering a done-for-you SSL conversion package. To learn more, contact me.