How Secure is Secure?

Google likes it when your website uses what’s called an SSL. I’ll explain why later but first: SSL stands for Secure Socket Layers. That’s the official geek term for the technology that encrypts information while it is sent from your host server to a web browser, or mailbox, etc. Remember those secret encoder rings you would get in cereal boxes when you were little? Am I dating myself? Well, this is the super hi-tech version of that.

It does it on the fly, is mind-blowingly fast and is crazy secure.

Why Do I Want This?

SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layers” and is the official term for online encryption technology.

The most vulnerable time for information is while it is being sent from one location to another. It can be intercepted by bad guys and used for all sorts of un-fun reasons. This is why you will usually see the HTTPS:// and a green bar or at least a lock in the location bar when you’re on an e-commerce site. But you should ALWAYS see it when you are entering sensitive information, like credit cards, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.

The bad guys don’t usually want to work so hard to try and decrypt the info so they try and work around this by hacking INTO your site files somehow. Don’t worry, there are ways to help mitigate that issue as well.

But Why Would Google Care?

Maybe because they’re really nice? While that may or may not be true, it is actually in their best interest that information gets passed to and fro securely because it’s in Google’s best interest for the Internet experience as a whole to be safe. If every time you went on a website you got some profane pop-up or lots of people you knew were telling you how their credit card info was stolen, etc., you’d think twice about going online to do anything. And where do you go first when you want to find something online? Yep.

Google makes billions of dollars a year selling online ads. They are promoting all sorts of things, but if your’e not online, you’re not going to see the ads and companies will stop giving money to Goole to display them. The math is pretty compelling.

Do I need an SSL on my site?

I imagine in the next year or 2 it will be a requirement. But even now Google is ranking sites that have them higher than a compatible site that doesn’t. The questions to answer for this are similar to the ones on this CDN post: How to tell if a CDN (Content Delivery Network) is right for your website but here they are for an SSL:

  • Is your site relying on non-paid search results for traffic?
  • Are you in a highly competitive field and are looking for a competitive edge?
  • Is your site an e-commerce site?
  • Does your site require users to enter any sensitive information: passwords, etc.?

If you answered yes to any of these then you should look at getting an SSL installed. It’s tricky biz that needs coordination with your hosting company (although some hosts have figured out how to streamline it) but we’ve done it a bunch and can help if you need.

Drop us a line here and let us know you want some help. We’ll take very good care of you.