Have you ever wondered why some web addresses start with “https:” and others start with “http:”? If you’ve ever bought something online, or made a donation on a nonprofit’s website, you’ve probably noticed that extra “S” in the URL — and maybe even a green icon in the shape of a padlock.

That one extra “S” makes a big difference. It says your connection to the website is encrypted and hackers can’t hijack your data. SSL — that stands for Secured Socket Layers — is one kind of encryption, and an SSL certificate is essential for protecting your website.

SSL encryption - Fervor

SSL is simple to implement and it can make all the difference in securing your site. First, let’s define encryption. Ever seen the movie A Christmas Story? Then you’re familiar with a decoder ring — you know, the one that ultimately reveals the encrypted “drink your Ovaltine” message to Ralphie. (Just go with us on this.)

SSL is the foundation of our secure Internet and, kinda like Ralphie’s decoder, protects sensitive information and messages as they travel across the world’s computer networks. It provides critical security, privacy and data integrity for everyone who uses your site. Web security is something you can’t afford to ignore, and your site should be encrypted with SSL. Here are five reasons why.

1. SSL encryption decreases the risk of getting hacked.

Virtually any site can be the target of a hack, from small blogs to large and robust ecommerce sites. When your website gets hacked, vulnerable information is compromised — and recovering from a website hack is no easy feat. Sites that are SSL encrypted have a lower risk of getting hacked, and confidential information is better protected.

2. SSL impacts SEO.

Yeah, that’s a lot of acronyms, and no, we’re not apologizing. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization — basically, making sure your site gets found by Google. We’re starting to see the impact, and secure websites are given greater priority on search results than non-secure websites. It’s a small impact now, but it’s only getting greater over time. So if you want to be found online, SSL is the way to go.

3. SSL offers stronger analytics data.

When your site does not use SSL, sites that do use encryption and link to your site show  as direct traffic in analytics — the same if the visitor typed your website address in directly. This means your ability to accurately see where your site visitors come from is hindered. When you do use SSL, you are able to see all of the sites that are linking to yours and sending you visitors. This gives you deeper insights on where visitors to your site are coming from. The more you know about your audience, the better you can serve them, and SSL offers a more detailed analytics picture.

4. SSL makes your site more credible.

Web browsers give visual cues (like a green bar or a lock icon) so visitors know when their connection is secure. SSL lends greater legitimacy to your site, and if you sell anything or collect donations on your site, this is even more critical. Pro tip: In 2017, browsers will begin to display red warning signs on non-secure sites, which could make your site appear less trustworthy.

5. SSL offers authentication.

In addition to encryption, SSL certificates also provide authentication — meaning visitors to your site can be sure their information will arrive at the right server and not an imposter trying to steal information. So when you get an SSL certificate installed on your site, your visitors can feel confident sharing personal details securely.

SSL encryption is indispensable — and we at Fervor can help. In fact, we believe it’s so important that we’ll include it in every new site we build — and we’ll also include a basic SSL certificate with every site we host, new or old. Not sure if your site is SSL encrypted? It’s simple to implement, and the benefits of securing your site today will pay off down the road. Contact us today to get started.

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