3 min read

Secure your Website:
What is a SSL Certificate & How to Get One

When it comes to everyday life and security, we have become efficient at safeguarding our valuables. Our car has an alarm by default, our house has locks and many install extra layers of security such as sensors, cameras, or alarm systems. 

So too with your website, you should have the necessary safeguards in place to ensure that your data is secure as well as the data of those who visit your website. It may be surprising to you, but without securing your website, it can be easier for someone with malicious intent to access information you don’t want them to, than it would be for them to pick the lock of your car or front door!

You wouldn’t walk out of your house or leave your car without locking the doors, would you? The answer is obvious, so, with that in mind, this post will help you lock the doors of your website so that your information and that of your users is safe!

What is a SSL Certificate?

SSL stands for secure socket layer, and, if to put it simply this means that the communication between the user (web browser) and server (where you host your website) is encrypted. By ensuring that all data passed between the two remains private and secure, SSL encryption prevents hackers from stealing private information such as credit card numbers, names and addresses. The SSL certificate allows you to configure your http:// to https:// to show that the connection is secure.

Why should I get a SSL Certificate?

Whether or not your website collects private information, you should still consider installing one for a number of reasons. The first, is that it adds instant credibility for your users, and they’ll feel more comfortable when on your site. Additionally, back in 2014, Google confirmed that https is a ranking signal (meaning it can help your website rank higher in Google search results) and called for https to be adopted across the web.  

SSL Certificate Options

There are several different types of SSL Certificates to choose from, and it can be important to select the right one for your site, depending on whether you are collecting personal information, credit card information, or selling high value products.

The following table, from Comodo will help you understand the different features available and what the differences between each certificate is.

How do I get a SSL Certificate?

This depends on where you currently host your website. You can check your account to see if you have the ability to add a certificate to your server. There are a number of steps that you need to take in order to obtain the certificate and install it on your server, but each hosting company should have a guide on their site that will walk you through the process. If you are still having trouble, you can contact their support team who should be able to help you out further. 
 
Also take into consideration that there are many hosting companies that give you an SSL certificate for free. Depending on your needs, you can use their free one, or if they don’t offer one for free, then you can connect your site to Cloudflare’s CDN which will automatically install a SSL certificate on your domain upon successful connection to their service. You will still need to configure your website to change the http protocol to https and ensure that your URLs are redirected correctly so that only the secure version of your website is accessible. 

We can help you Secure your Website!

Is a SSL all I need?

Implementing a SSL certificate is one of the safeguards you should have in order to safeguard your users and your information. There are a few other areas you should consider safeguarding to further increase the level of security of your information. 

  1. Don’t use the default user of your CMS
  2. Disable the author archives of your administrator
  3. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication
  4. Limit login attempts
  5. Add server side security features
  6. Keep your software up to date
  7. Only use trusted and tested software

 

Use professionals to help you

You can find all the information on how and what to do online in order to safeguard your site, but many resources can be complicated and misleading. Be sure to check and double check what you are using so that you don’t fall victim to false information and end up worse off than where you started. 

If you don’t know where to start, start by talking to your hosting company and ask them for advise. However, research whatever they tell you, to make sure that it fits your specific needs. 

If you have a website developer, speak to them, asking what they recommend doing, but also think about speaking to a 3rd party consultant to get the most impartial information that will think about what is best for you and your business, and not what is the easiest to implement. 

Have any questions? Drop us a message here or leave a comment below. 




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