Welcome to Part 2 of our HTTPS blog series:
GETTING A SSL CERTIFICATE FOR YOUR WEBSITE
As you know from part one of our HTTPS blog series (if you missed it you could find it here) Google is making a big push toward online security and are penalising any website that isn’t HTTPS.
So what do you do if your website is HTTP? You need to get an SSL certificate for your site that turns it from HTTP to HTTPS.
What is an SSL certificate?
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that will confirm the identity of your website and make sure it encrypts any information sent to a server.
When installed on a web server, it will activate the HTTPS protocol that will then allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. (your site will then have the little padlock and protected status just before its domain.)
Once it’s clear the connection is secure, a session key is used to encrypt all transmitted data.
The search browser connects to a website that is secured with SSL (ie HTTPS). The sear browser looks for the website server to identify itself which it does by sending a copy of the SSL certificate.
In other words, your SSL certificate acts like a digital passport that confirms your website’s security for transferring data. It basically says “I’m safe and secure to use”
WHAT INFORMATION DOES AN SSL NEED?
Your SSL certificate will require the following information
- The Name of the person using the certificate (ie you)
- The certificate’s serial number and expiration date
- A copy of the certificate holder’s public key
- The digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority
WHERE CAN I BUY AN SSL CERTIFICATE
You can purchase your SSL certificate from various different places.
Hosting companies like Bluehost and Hostgator will sell SSL certificates as will some domain registrars.
The first thing you should do is contact your website hosting to see if it is something they provide and if so how much it costs.
HOW MUCH DOES AN SSL CERTIFICATE COST?
Sometimes your website hosting company will provide an SSL certificate for free to their hosting clients.
However a lot of the time there will be a cost involved in buying and setting up an SSL certificate.
That cost can also vary greatly depending on what type of SSL certificate you buy (there a few different options with different levels of security)
You can choose from the following options
- Standard Assurance (most common)
- Deluxe Assurance
- Extended Validation
- Code & driver signing
So prices can range from $3.99 up to hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars
HOW DO I SET UP MY SSL CERTIFICATE
Sometimes your hosting company will do this for you for a small fee and can be a good option to take if you are not very tech-savvy.
The first step you will have to do once you have requested your SSL certificate and chosen what level is to verify the information they require.
Then you need to install it onto your server. The steps taken on this vary depending on your server. Go-daddy have quite a good list of instructions for various servers.
I know this may seem like it’s a lot of hassle and money but It’s so important. Websites are already reporting a drop in rankings if they don’t have their SSL certificate and the changes have not even been fully rolled out yet.
In the 3rd and last part of our blog series we will look into the damage not having HTTPS can have on your website rankings.
If you missed the first part of our blog series:
What Is HTTPS And Why Your Website Needs It then just click the title link to check it out!
I would love it if you could share this blog post and help me spread the word on the importance of switching to HTTPS, don’t forget to check back for the 3rd and final instalment on our HTTPS blog series – HTTPS And Your Website’s Google Rankings.