Do I need a SSL certificate?

Code screen

You've probably seen them, the padlock in the address bars when you're visiting websites like Amazon or your bank - in fact they will probably have the green address bar too but what is it and does your website need one?

Credit card information

Essentially it is something that sits on your server and encrypts the communication between your computer and the web server. This is incredibly important on websites on which you're sending sensitive information including credit card information, without it a hacker could see what information you’re sending. Do you need an SSL certificate if you’re asking for credit card information? Yes.

What if I use PayPal?

But what about if you use a third-party payment gateway like PayPal? Well the answer is again yes. Well technically not but that’s if you’re just considering the technical applications of a certificate. What about consumer confidence? It’s all about trust, do you know that people are on the verge of buying and then not following through because they’re not seeing the padlock? For the sake of a few pounds isn’t it worth putting one on your site to make all of your customers feel more secure and comfortable making a purchase?

Other data

But what about if you aren't asking for credit card information. If you’re asking for any form of data from the user then you have to be aware that the information can be seen - this includes username and passwords so you have to ask yourself what damage can be done if someone gets access to that information?

SEO benefits

Underlying all of this, even if you aren’t asking for any data Google have given all website owners a reason to think about deploying SSL. They have officially announced that secure sites will receive a rankings boost.

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