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SSL certificate – what is it and what is it for?

An SSL certificate is often misunderstood by most people who want to set up their website or store. In this post, you will learn what an SSL certificate is and what it is for and how to use it. If you want to learn more about the usefulness of this technology and its applications – read the article.

What is an SSL certificate

Simply put, it is a network connection security that encrypts all data that we send to the server where the website is located. If you enter such a certificate on your website – your website will be safer for its users. Simple isn’t it?

Now a bit more technical. We can check if a given website has an SSL certificate after the website prefix – https: // will be responsible for the encrypted version, while http: // means that the website does not use an SSL certificate. Thanks to running the website via HTTPS, we can use encrypted connections that allow users to securely connect to the server.

The certificate can be purchased by purchasing it from the hosting operator from which we have purchased the server. The cost of the certificate ranges from PLN 100 to PLN 200 per year. Another way is to purchase a free certificate, e.g. Let’s Encrypt, which also allows you to provide basic security with the help of a certificate.

What is the SSL certificate used for

The SSL certificate affects the security of the website and several other elements. The truth is that using a free certificate will cost you nothing and will give you a lot of benefits in return. HTTPS encryption can be used for many purposes.

HTTPS and website SEO

By using the certificate in question, we will not only improve the security of the website, but also improve the search position on Google. The use of HTTPS encryption is one of the factors influencing the ranking of a website in search engines. Moreover, search engines will automatically make it difficult to reach websites not secured with the certificate.

SSL – secure internet connection

Using an encrypted HTTPS connection is not a guarantee of security on the network, but it does improve the security of users. If we run a website or an online store, we store user data – whether we like it or not. Of course, we can encrypt this data in the database, but when transferring data between the browser and the server using standard HTTP – we do not use any encryption. These data are available in plain text, i.e. passwords or sensitive data (e.g. names or addresses) are sent as text. If we use an HTTPS encrypted connection, this data will be encrypted, which will significantly increase the security of the connection.

An SSL certificate increases trust among users

When browsing the web, you will surely notice when the page has a crossed padlock next to the URL in the browser’s search bar. After entering such a website, we often receive a message from the browser that the website may be dangerous. The end result of such information is usually that the site flies, or that the site is simply not working. Nothing could be more wrong. The website exists and is doing well, and on it we can find the information we are looking for, but hardly anyone does. Users usually resign from further use of the website, because few people decide to continue exploring the website after messages about unsecured connection.

The conclusion is simple – a user who does not see the padlock next to the URL will usually opt out of visiting your site. Therefore, do not wait and take care of an SSL certificate on your website.

Does the certificate affect the speed of the website

A typical user does not pay attention to the page loading milliseconds and content loading. On the other hand, search engines such as Google pay attention to it. As a result, developers, bloggers, entrepreneurs and everyone who have anything to do with websites must also pay attention to it.

Therefore, the question arises – will I not slow down my website with an additional certificate? Not. On the contrary, using the newer version of the HTTP protocol, i.e. HTTPS – will speed up your website. Despite the encryption of the connection – the newer technology does not cause a slower page loading rate due to the use of more modern and efficient solutions than in the case of the older HTTP protocol.

I will not mention the technological advantages of the protocol, such as Multiplexing, Binary or Header Compression – because it would be a topic for a separate article. It is important that HTTP / 2 – as this protocol is specifically called – speeds up the operation and improves security, as well as several other factors in the operation of our websites.

September 22, 2021