Web Jargon 101: What is a Security Certificate?

May 12, 2017 | Hosting / AWS

In this blog we explain what a Security Certificate is, the benefits of having one, and how to decide if it’s right for you.

What is a Security Certificate

Are you gathering credit card information via your website? You will definitely need a Security Certificate for that. Are you just asking for email addresses via a contact form? Then you may not need a Security Certificate for that. In this blog we explain what a Security Certificate is, the benefits of having one, and how to decide if it’s right for you.

Defining an SSL Certificate

A security certificate, better known as an SSL Certificate, is a small data file that allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. An SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins and other sensitive data (GlobalSign). The signifier for a website with an SSL Certificate is an HTTPS application protocol in your web address (rather than the standard HTTP).

SSL Certificate Benefits

Obtaining an SSL Certificate for your website is not free; it is available to purchase for a small fee. However, despite the additional cost, there are profound benefits to having an SSL Certificate.

1. Protect Sensitive Data

A Security Certificate will allow you to transfer confidential information without putting you or your customers at risk. It is a necessity for any e-commerce website.

2. Improve Search Engine Rankings

In August of 2014, Google announced that adding an SSL Certificate to your website would earn it a slight ranking benefit. While it is a small factor, it can still benefit your SEO.

3. Communicate to Users Your Site is Secure

Having that HTTPS application protocol at the beginning of your web address communicates to users that your website is secure. With cybercrime so prevalent in today’s society, users like added reassurance that their activity on your website is protected.

Deciding What’s Right for You

While switching your website to HTTPS can have its benefits, we do not recommend it for everyone. If you are not storing or transferring any sensitive information on your website, then a Security Certificate is probably not a necessity. Remember that there is a cost to purchasing the SSL Certificate. Additionally, having an SSL on your website may slow down overall load time because it adds an extra step of secure verification to the loading process. Still can’t decide what is best for you? Read our blog to learn more about the pros and cons of switching from HTTP to HTTPS.

If you want to learn more about purchasing an SSL Certificate for your website, contact Informatics today. And if you are a current client interested in moving forward with an SSL Certificate, please contact your Project Manager to get started.

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