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The Importance of SSL Certificates

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. Clicking through them and making a purchase will earn me a commission at no additional cost to you.

What Is An SSL Certificate?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is an encryption device that allows your site’s server to transmit and receive encrypted data from other devices. All sites served over HTTPS are using this Secure Sockets Layer. The SSL certificate allows for the generation of a public and private key pair for each new session between the server and the client.

Why Should You Get an SSL Certificate?

SSL is a big step in making your site more secure for you and your users. It means all the data sent between your server and your users’ computers is encrypted. This is absolutely required if you’re running an e-commerce site and dealing with payment details. However, as of this summer, anyone with a website should seriously consider switching to HTTPS.

As of July 2018, Google Chrome posts a message next to the URL of your site that says “Not Secure” with a message that reads, “you should not enter any sensitive information on this website such as passwords or credit cards because it could be stolen by attackers.”

Insecure Website

While users may not need to enter sensitive information on your site, it can still be a pretty big turn off. There is no other way to get around it besides installing an SSL certificate.

Conversely, if you have a valid SSL Certificate, Chrome displays a nice “Secure” message with a picture of a lock next to it.

Secure Website

It’s also good for SEO. It’s not going boost you to the top of your industry, but if Google has to choose between two sites where everything else is equal, they’ll choose the site with an SSL certificate. And when it comes to SEO, every little bit counts.

Fortunately, HostGator offers free SSL Certificates when you sign up for their hosting services. I have used HostGator for a long time and I really like their services. They have everything I need to manage my site from my customer portal. Now they’re offering free SSL certificates which, as we’ve already seen, is a big deal. Here is a list of reasons why HostGator is awesome. You can click the link below to learn more about their hosting options with free SSL certificates.

How To Set It Up

It’s actually a very simple process. Once they install the SSL certificate on their end, you just need to instruct the site to use it. If you’re using WordPress, you just need to add “define(‘FORCE_SSL_ADMIN’, true);” anywhere in your wp-config.php file. Then you need to change the site URL in the General Settings of the WordPress Dashboard to start with ‘https://’ instead of ‘http://’. Finally, navigate to Settings -> Permalinks and click the “Save” button to flush the rewrite rules.

If you’re don’t want to get into the back-end code, you can use a plugin liek WordPress HTTPS or Really Simple SSL. If you have any issues, HostGator has support available 24/7/365.

They also have a really good article on how to set it up for other platforms as well as how to switch to HTTPS with no downtime.

Once you get it all set up. You may notice mixed content errors. You can see them in the JavaScript console, and they will also yield the “Not Secure” message in the URL bar. This is what they look like in the JavaScript console:

Mixed Content Error

I have another article about how to get rid of all mixed content errors with one line of HTML code. You just need to add it in the head template of your site and it will upgrade all request to the HTTPS protocol.

HostGator’s SSL certificates are trusted by 99.9% of browsers and devices. Many hosting providers charge extra for this, so if you’re looking for web hosting or your current hosting provider wants you to pay for an SSL certificate, you should check out HostGator. To get 20% off all new HostGator hosting plans, use coupon code: SNAPPY.

HostGator Web Hosting

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7 responses to “The Importance of SSL Certificates

  1. The ratio of providing means to fix customers by ecommerce providers online concerned
    is measured immeasurable. We thought we would list some in the main benefits that include purchasing a SSL certificate and
    exactly how it will help using the protection in your website.
    Your next step is going to be determining which kind of SSL certificate will best serve the requirements and security requirements for the business.

  2. I would definitely recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress to get started. It costs enough to get up and running with hosting and a domain name. Then you can choose a theme – paid or free. Don’t try to change it too much unless you’re a developer. Just find one that you like and start blogging. Always keep SEO in mind when you’re writing.

  3. This site is built with WordPress which is not the most secure out of the box. Part of the reason for that is that it’s open source and extremely popular. That being said, there are plenty of measures you can take to beef up the security of a WordPress site. There are a huge number of factors involved in website security, many of which are controlled by your host. You might start by contacting your host and asking what they recommend to fix your particular problems. Installing an SSL certificate and redirecting all traffic to the https version of your site is great, but it’s only one small thing. You can also read blog articles like this one https://www.wordfence.com/learn/introduction-to-wordpress-security/ about how to secure a WordPress site.

  4. Hello! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share. Thank you!

    1. Yoast SEO is a great free WordPress Plugin to help with SEO. However, you should understand that just installing it will not help your site’s SEO at all. You have to go through all your site’s posts and pages and implement the suggestions that the plugin gives you.

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