SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a what you say! dont worry ill explain what this means and why it will benefit your website.
SSL ensures that the traffic between your site server and the visitors browser remains encrypted and secure. This basically means that the data cannot be sniffed (captured) by a middle person and easily read. Your domain will go from HTTP:// to HTTPS://.
While installing an SSL certificate is relativity easy, ensuring that each page of your site is compliant to be given the green padlock status can be tricky and time consuming.
HTTPS is common on a lot of major eCommerce websites, for example Amazon will always shown the green padlock meaning all data transmitted is safe and secure.
HTTPS means Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure and the SSL is used to create a trusted secure connection between the browser and your server. This work by creating an authentication handshake to ensure the browser is talking to the right server. during this process the browser and server exchange and agree on the algorithm used to encrypt and decrypt the information exchanged, then create and agree on the keys for the algorithm.
Why Install an SSL Certificate?
From a visitor point of view an SSL has a sort of secure effect and visitor confidence in your site is vastly improved, even tho your site may not process transnational information or allow personal visitor data to be sent from browser to server.
If you run an eCommerce website installing an SSL is something not to consider but a must if you want to compete with other websites in your market. A study by Venafi reveled that 91% of visitors saw the SSL certificate in their browser, while 43% would abandon the site if the security lock was broken.
If you want to accept credit and debit card on your site, installing an SSL certificate is needed in order to be PCI-Compliant, tho this is not required if you only accept PayPal.
How Much Will an SSL Cost?
The cost of SSL Certificates will vary depending on the provider and what features you want from your SSL. For example you want want to only secure 1 website while you can have the option to get a wildcard SSL which will secure your subdomains as well.
Some providers offer high level SSL encryption that include business validation , higher level grade encryption, higher warranty amount such as $1.25 Million up to $1.5 million and the chance to have not just a green padlock but a green address bar
How to ensure your site is SSL Compliant
For sites with thousands of pages like an eCommerce store it can be difficult to ensure your site is secure and the green padlock remains intact. The problem is that all links on the page must be HTTPS. This includes images and any external links. For example if your site is using HTTPS and you link to an image or another website which uses HTTP then your site will no longer be secure and you wont get the green padlock
There are some great free tools to check your site for SSL errors
Scan site for none HTTPS images
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
While not a direct tool for checking SSL issues it is a website crawler that has the ability to show HTTP and HTTPS pages. To download the free version click here.
Once you install and open the software enter your URL at the top and click “Start”. The software will start to crawl your site and display the results of what it finds like below
Here you can then inspect the HTTP and HTTPS links
And you can also filter by image url results by clicking on the images tab at the top
You can now inspect the data and see if there are any images which are not using HTTPS and fix the issues.
Free WordPress Plugins
Below is a list of different free WordPress plugins that can help solve SSL issues. They will also take a lot of the stress out of installing the SSL on your site. There are many other plugins but the 3 below are the most popular by rating and active installation amount.
How To Get a FREE SSL
If you want to combine page speed with SSL encryption that is Free there is no better solution that CloudFlare. CloudFlare provide free SSL certificates. Since CloudFlare takes over your domain DNS all traffic can be routes through HTTP or HTTPS allowing your site to be secure without needing to purchase an SSL and install it your self.
This is only a basic SSL and is shared but it does offer a high level of encryption
You can choose the level of SSL encryption on your site
And force all traffic to use HTTPS
For more information on Cloudflares SSL visit these links