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In 2014, Google announced a new ranking parameter that they wanted to implement in search engine results: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure or HTTPS for short.

Although subtle, you have probably noticed that some website addresses start with http:// and others with https://, which helps designate which website utilizes a new type of security encryptions. The “s” stands for “Secure” and is typically used on websites that ask for personal or financial information.

HTTPS websites are powered by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. In this post, we are going to explore this technology a bit further and explain the reasons to use a premium website SSL certificate.

First of all, what is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology?

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology establishes an encrypted link between you and your web server. It keeps all data transferred between the browser and the server private.

Without SSL, a hacker can place a small, undetected program on the web server. This software is activated when a website visitor types information on the website, and it will record the information and send it to the hacker.

However, when a site is secured with SSL, a secure connection is instantly formed between the browser and the web server that no third party can access.

Here are 4 solid reasons to use a premium website SSL certificate for your business website:

1. It secures your data.

Google’s new Chrome v. 62 browser now indicates when a site has a form but is not SSL-enabled.

You may have noticed a “Not Secure” prefix on some websites already. If you are like 85% of people who were part of a recent HubSpot Research panel, you will probably navigate back to safety instead of continuing with the unsecured site.

You don’t want visitors to navigate away from your site to that of a competitor, so be sure your site has a premium SSL certificate.

2. It’s SEO friendly!

Google has stated in a public forum that when two sites are equal in search results, one that has SSL enabled will be given a slight rank boost which will outweigh the other.

3. It provides additional authentication.

An SSL certificate from a trusted provider delivers additional authentication. It uses a public key infrastructure (PKI) that ensures your information is sent only to the intended server. This information is not accessible from any other device on the same server.

4. Free SSL certificates are shared.

Free SSL certificates were initially created to provide security for admin dashboards, rather than for public sites. If your site collects private data, it is better to use a premium SSL certificate.

If the server’s private SSL keys land up in the wrong hands, it will compromise all the businesses sharing the certificate, potentially exposing all the financial information collected on those sites.

So, where do you go from here?

Does My Site Have an SSL certificate?

You can use HubSpot’s free SSL checker to see whether your site uses SSL. It might also display a lock icon in the address bar. However, even if your site seems to be SSL enabled, your certificate may have expired, which means that you don’t have protection.

Navigate to View -> Developer Tools in Google Chrome, and click on the Security tab to check on the status of your SSL certificate by clicking “View Certificate”.

How Do I Get an  SSL Certificate?

First, you need to figure out the type of certificate your site needs. Most web hosts can get away with a standard SSL certificate. However, if you’re in a regulated industry – such as insurance, health, or finance – it is best to speak to IT about it. If you host content on separate domains and subdomains on multiple platforms, you may need different SSL certificates.

If you’re unsure about which SSL certificate to use, or if you need help installing it, get in touch with Unbound Web Design.