A SSL certificate is a digital file used to establish a secure encrypted connection between a users computer and a website. The SSL connection protects sensitive data, such as credit card information, social security numbers, passwords, etc that may be exchanged between you and the server the website is on. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP. In order for the website to communicate to your computers browser with HTTPS a SSL certificate needs to be installed on the server.
A SSL certificate is great for security, but it may also provide a bump to your website’s rankings on Google. Some websites have a SSL certificate simply to take advantage of that rankings boost.
On August 6, 2014 Google announced it would use HTTPS as a ranking signal. They said that it would be a minor signal but “But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.” Then in September of 2016 Google dropped a bombshell, beginning in January of 2017 any sites that collected passwords or credit cards not using HTTPS would be marked as non-secure in Chrome browsers. This is part “of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure.”
If you have decided to move to a HTTPS site and need some help, contact us, we love to help.