What is SSL Security and how do I get the padlock icon on my website?

What is SSL Security and why do I need it?

If you currently have a website online then you’ll likely have come across the term “SSL Security”. It’s also very likely that you know it’s something to do with security. But do you know how this works and exactly what it does? Or what the benefits are of using SSL security? We find that a lot of people have an idea but are still not clear as is the case with most acronyms for technical stuff! Today we shall explain to help you understand why an SSL certificate is so important!

SSL is also known as “Secure Sockets Layer”. This is a secure protocol which allows the transfer of data securely via the internet. In this day and age it’s crucial for your website to have an SSL certificate. This helps protect any data on your website; whether this is customer information, card payment details or passwords. This also helps ensure that your information is fully secure and isn’t intercepted by sneaky third parties.

When an SSL certificate has been successfully installed on a website, you’ll notice a green padlock icon just before the website domain name in the address bar. This is a key indicator that the website is secure and perfectly safe to use.

SSL Security

Will having an SSL Certificate improve my websites SEO?

Currently Google uses 200 ranking factors to determine website placements in the search engines. One of these factors is the “trustworthiness” of your website. By using SSL security you demonstrate to Google and (other search engines) that your website is safe. You will therefore place higher in the search results when compared to a similar site with no SSL security.

I have SSL security installed, but I’m still not seeing the padlock icon?

You may have a WordPress website and have purchased your SSL Certificate from your hosts. You have it installed and functional yet you’re still not seeing the green padlock. This issue is mostly caused by not having updated URLs/links. It can be easily rectified by installing an SSL Plugin to update your URLS. One we often rely on is called Really Simple SSL.

This WordPress plugin does what it says on the tin! When you install and activate this plugin you’ll have the option to turn on the SSL setting. Magically this will automatically convert your website links to the secure version. We would then recommend you clear your website cache and check the website homepage to verify if the padlock icon is now showing. If you’re STILL not seeing the padlock icon, then you likely have a “mixed content” issue.

Uh oh – Mixed Content Warning… What does this mean?

Mixed content refers to the fact that some of your links are fully secure whilst others are unfortunately not. There is a very easy way to determine if this is the case by going to a website we often use called https://whynopadlock.com. We’ve personally found this website an absolute lifesaver when confirming mixed content URLs as it will list all the links there are not using the correct protocol.

This means that the prefix of the domain should be ‘https://’ which is secure, not ‘http://’. Ultimately any links that you see listed that are NOT the secure version with https:// will need to be changed. Luckily this is very simple to do, such as editing button links and standard links within pages and posts and adding that ‘s’ to https://. However on some occasions these can be tricky to address.

If your website has been moved from one location to another then it’s likely that some core theme options or back-end code will be referring to the non-secure domain. If this is the case then it will require some technical know how to fix. So make sure you get in touch with us if you need some help and we’ll get that sorted for you!

The above should give you a good insight into SSL security. As well as how, and indeed why you should be using SSL on your website. If you have further questions or queries about SSL security or anything website, WordPress or hosting related then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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