SSL Certificates & HTTPS Explained

SSL Certificates and HTTPS explained.

As a freelance Magento 2 developer I get asked by my clients all the time “Why do I need an SSL certificate?”. Protecting your customers data should be a priority for any Ecommerce store owner. SSL certificates do exactly that. In this article I will explain what an SSL certificate is, why all ecommerce websites need one and how you can apply one to your website.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a secure version of the HTTP protocol which is used to send data between your web browser and the web server that you are connected to. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your web browser and the web server are encrypted. In order to use HTTPS on your Magento website you will require an SSL certificate installed on your web server.

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL certificate is a small data file that binds together a domain name, hostname or server name with an organisations details and location. You install this file onto your web server. Once installed an SSL certificate will create a secure connection between your server and your end users web browser. This connection is created via the HTTPS protocol. A secure connection is identified by the padlock that appears next to the URL in the address bar of your browser. Once a secure connection is made, all traffic between the 2 entities is completely secure and safe from any 3rd parties.

Why do I need to change my Ecommerce website to HTTPS?

All Ecommerce websites collect a lot of customer data. Customer name, email, address and credit card information are just a few examples of sensitive data that is collected. With hacking and data breaches on the rise it’s now more essential for this information to be secured. It is your responsibility as a webmaster to ensure that this is the case.

As of 24th July 2018, Google announced that they launched an update to their popular Google Chrome web browser. This update would mark any website that didn’t have an SSL certificate in place as “Not Secure”. This is represented by a red open padlock next to the URL in the address bar of the browser. If ever there was a deterrent to stop your customers entering sensitive information into your website, then this is it. 

Another reason is that your websites SEO will benefit from having an SSL certificate in place. It has become well known that Google and other search engines prefer websites that have an SSL certificate in place. This will assist you in improving your organic search rankings.

Most importantly though, it has been proven that having an SSL certificate and displaying the green padlock in the address bar of your browser on your checkout page increases conversions.

How can I install an SSL on my website?

Installing an SSL certificate is not an easy task. My advice would be to speak with your web developer or hosting company and get them to install it for you. Most hosting companies can manage this for you so long as you purchase the SSL certificate from them. 

Alternatively you could obtain a free SSL certificate by using a service such as CloudFlare or Lets Encrypt. Both offer free SSL certificates that can be utilised by a web developer.

Closing Comments

Nowadays it is more important than ever to have an SSL certificate on your Ecommerce website. Securing your customer data, improving your SEO and boosting conversion rates are just a few of the benefits this brings.

If you require assistance in setting up an SSL certificate on your website then feel free to get in touch using the form in the footer of this page. I’d be more than happy to take a look for you and we can use a free service such as CloudFlare so all you have to pay is a one off fee.