Benefits of an SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate is essential for all websites, not just those that sell products. If you own a website you need an SSL certificate for your website. It's as simple as that. Having an SSL certificate is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity.
There are a number of benefits to having an SSL certificate. They include:
- SSL protects sensitive information.
- SSL affirms your business identity and improves customer trust.
- Better search engine ranking.
- SSL helps you satisfy PCI/DSS requirements.
SSL protects sensitive information
The information that is sent on the internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server. If the information is not encrypted then any computer between you and the server can see and read all of the information, including credit cards, usernames, passwords, or sensitive contact information.
An SSL certificate encrypts the information so that it's not readable until it reaches the server that it's intended for. No one can intercept and read the information as it travels from your computer to the web servers.
This is one of the primary reasons that website owners get an SSL certificate.
SSL affirms your business identity and improves customer trust
Encrypting information so that it stays secure while it goes to the server is a primary use for an SSL certificate. Authenticating that a website is genuine is the second primary task for an SSL certificate. When an SSL certificate is ordered for your website some verification is done to ensure that the domain is owned by your business. Some certificates, like the True Business ID SSL certificate, provide even more verification. (While that is good, it can be cumbersome to order and renew and costs more.)
When you have an SSL certificate, savvy users can look at the certificate information to make sure that the business information listed on the certificate matches the website that they are using.
Some browsers, like Chrome and Firefox, will show a big red "Not secure" message in the browser address bar if you go to a web page that is not secure and it has a form on it. An example could be a contact form or a login form. This is concerning to a lot of users as it shows that the information they submit will not be securely sent to the server. Browsers are doing their part to ensure that the internet is secure and showing these "not secure" warnings is their way of doing it. An SSL certificate means that those warnings will not show on your website.
Better search engine ranking
It's been known for a number of years now that Google uses HTTPS (secure websites with an SSL certificate) as one of their ranking factors. One study by Banklino done a few years ago showed that HTTPS is a significant ranking factor. That was back in 2016. It's most likely even more important today.
The short of it is that by not having an SSL certificate, and thus having secure HTTPS pages, you are hurting your search engine rankings.
SSL helps you satisfy PCI/DSS requirements
If you are accepting payments through your website then your website must be PCI compliant. Having an SSL certificate installed on your website is one of the 12 primary requirements set by the payment card industry for PCI compliance.