What are SSL certificates? | K2L Marketing

What are SSL certificates?

SSL: Secure Socket Layer, an encryption protocol that protects data transferred between a server and a client.

SSL Certificate: A digital certificate that allows your website to set up an encrypted connection with an end-user.

At K2L we believe all of our clients should transition to SSL as standard, if you haven’t already. This has implications for your site’s security and its search rankings.

A quick way to see if you have a valid SSL certificate is to visit your website. If your site has a current SSL certificate, its URL should start with ‘https’ and you should see a padlock icon in the address bar of your browser.

If it does not have a valid certificate, you should see ‘http’ without the ‘s’. If your SSL certificate has expired, you may also see a warning page that says your website is not secure.

Why to have a valid SSL certificate

Websites with no SSL certificate at all can appear to be un-secure to visitors, while those with expired certificates suffer from a full-page warning in most modern browsers.

This leads to three good reasons to have a valid SSL certificate and to keep it up to date:

• To prove your website is secure (especially important if you process payments and personal information).
• To prevent security warnings and error messages when potential customers visit your website.
• To protect your search rankings, as Google now prioritises websites with an https prefix over those without.

Because this is such an important issue, K2L are working to add SSL certificates to any hosting clients’ websites who do not already have one, and will be making this a standard feature for new customers in future.

Myths about SSL certificates

We appreciate that SSL certificates are an unfamiliar subject for many customers, so here are some common myths and misconceptions about SSL.

‘You only need SSL on your homepage’

This risks a security threat on other pages of your website, once a visitor is logged in. By having SSL on every page, you protect your whole website against potential hacks.

‘SSL is only needed if you process payments’

SSL is clearly beneficial on pages where payment details are collected or processed. But it should be installed as standard across all pages to provide end-to-end protection for all data, including (but not limited to) ecommerce transactions.

‘SSL makes pages load slower’

In most cases, there is no noticeable difference to page load speeds after implementing SSL. SSL and https are now specific ranking factors on Google, so the benefits far outweigh any minor impact on performance in isolated cases.

SSL certificates for SEO

If you don’t want an SSL certificate for security, you should still implement one for SEO. If your website and a competing search result are closely matched, having an SSL certificate can be the deciding factor to earn you the higher ranking position.

Your SSL certificate must be in-date, which is why it’s a good idea to work with a reliable hosting provider like K2L, as we will take care to renew your SSL certificate before its expiry date.

Again, this ensures you continue to receive the SEO benefits of SSL, and avoids any risk of your visitors seeing an error or a security warning.

To secure your website, protect your data and preserve your traffic, contact K2L today.