The online world is a dangerous place. Being aware of the risks and taking steps to mitigate them has never been more important, and we at UpdraftPlus are committed to helping all our customers to keep their WordPress websites safe and secure. That’s why we recommend that you have SSL.
What is SSL? SSL is at the heart of website security. It ensures that sensitive information such as credit card details, usernames and passwords are safe as they transverse global computer networks. Having an SSL certificate on your web server provides privacy, critical security and data integrity for both your website and for your users.
How does SSL work? SSL Certificates basically work by making sure that all traffic between the web server and the web browser is secure and can’t be intercepted. SSL uses something called public key cryptography, which involves two ‘keys’ (long strings of randomly-generated numbers)- one private, and the other public. A public key (known to your server) is available in the public domain and encrypts all sensitive information. With SSL, data sent by your website will be ‘locked’ with the server’s public key so that it’s encrypted and can’t be read if intercepted by a hacker or identity thief. It can only be ‘unlocked’ and decrypted by the server’s private key, i.e. its intended recipient.
Extra benefits? Aside from the obvious security benefits, SSL is invaluable for giving your customers peace of mind. Customers can tell when a web serves has an SSL certificate because the application protocol (HTTP) will change to HTTPs (where the ‘s’ denotes ‘secure’), and the address bar is either green or shows a little padlock (depending on the web browser). Seeing this provides assurance that you’re taking their security seriously- which is more important than ever these days.
What’s more, since SSL certificates are only given out to verified companies who’ve undergone robust identity checks, they reassure users and visitors that any website using it is genuine and legitimate. Demonstrating the trustworthiness of your brand improves conversion rates, motivates customers to return and increases the likelihood you’ll get recommended to someone else. SSL also has an SEO benefit: since it’s now a part of Google’s search ranking algorithm, being certified will boost your Google Ranking.
Next Steps: It’s important to purchase an SSL certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority (like GlobalSign, VeriSign and GeoTrust). Once you’ve bought one, we recommend getting a plugin like Really Simple SSL to make its installation… really simple! It “automatically detects your settings and configures your website to run over https” so that all you have to do is sit back and relax. One last thing: before you install, it’s always a good idea to back up your website, just in case.