Beginning immediately, all websites utilizing the New Marketpath CMS will receive free SSL certificates. New Marketpath CMS subscribers will receive free SSL certificate integration for their websites with Let's Encrypt, so they won’t have to worry about setting up certificates, dealing with 3rd party security providers, or third party set-up fees.
What is SSL?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private - encrypted data vs. data sent as plain text . SSL is an industry standard for security and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers. Any site that utilizes SSL will be designated HTTPS (see web browser), which is the secure version of HTTP - the “S” stands for “secure”.
Why Does to Matter?
Having your website set-up with an SSL encryption matters for three main reasons.
- Protection - Website data transfers between servers will be safer and more secure, with less chance of interception. This is especially true if you accept credit card information via your site, as sensitive data like credit card numbers and personal information will need to be encrypted. In this case, you definitely need an SSL certificate to secure the credit card data as it is transferred. In fact, SSL is required for Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance. In addition to online purchases/transactions, SSL encryption is important to protect sites that utilize password protected areas, and sites that collect client data via web forms. A few years ago, most industry experts would have said that only ecommerce websites or sites that collected personal data (social security numbers, financial information, etc.) needed SSL, but with the proliferation of cyber security problems, it is now recommended for most, if not all sites.
- Trust & Credibility - Even if your website isn’t collecting any data (not sure why you want that however), having an SSL certificate still adds value for your organization. More and more people are worried about hacked websites, infected sites, and other types of cyber security - if they don’t see your site is secure, they will be less likely to trust your site and your business. Seeing that your site is secure, will make visitors feel that their information is safe, providing credibility for you. Although having SSL encryption can’t guarantee you won’t be hacked, it definitely makes it less likely and provides some level of comfort for those using your site. And if your site isn’t secure, the opposite effect could happen. Late last year, Google announced that the 56th version of Google Chrome would visually alert users when a site is not secured with an SSL certificate.
- Better SEO Ranking - Finally, having an SSL certificate and HTTPS will also benefit your site’s search engine optimization (SEO). A few years ago, Google started using SSL and HTTPS as a ranking factor in their search algorithm, and since then they have made numerous comments, encouraging web development and web design companies to secure their sites. Although only a small percentage of websites are currently HTTPS (less than 10% as of early 2017), studies have found as many as 40% of Google’s page one results feature HTTPS secure sites.
How Do You Know if Your Site is Secure?
Simply take a look at the URL of the website. If it begins with “https” instead of “http” it means the site is secured using an SSL Certificate (the s stands for secure). You can also look for a lock symbol or combination of the lock and the word “Secure”, depending on which browser you are using - look to the left of the URL in your browser. Below are examples from Chrome, FireFox and Microsoft Edge.
You can also use various free SSL Checker Tools such as: www.sslshopper.com/ssl-checker.html to confirm your site has a secure SSL certificate and that is correctly installed.
Benefits for Marketpath CMS Clients
In addition to the benefits listed above, Marketpath CMS clients get the added benefit without having to do anything. When a client launches a website with the new Marketpath CMS they will now automatically receive a domain-validated SSL certificate. In the past, clients would have paid roughly $150/year to 3rd party providers, in addition to set-up fees of $99, but no longer!
Need Further Assistance?
If you have additional questions about SSL, or need assistance with any website, SEO, or digital marketing issue, please contact us today.