What is an SSL Certificate and Why Should I Care?
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL certificate allows visitors to your website to connect to your website using HTTPS. HTTPS is a secure protocol used to exchange data over the Internet. If your website obtains information from your website visitors, this data will be encrypted using HTTPS. This makes the data more secure than if the data was unencrypted and sent in plain text.
Why You Should Care
The Google Chrome browser is used by around 2/3 of all web users (source: NetMarketShare.com). So the majority of the users that come to your website will likely be viewing your website through a Chrome browser.
In 2018, Google began warning users of its browser if the website that they are visiting isn’t secure.
If your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate, users of the Chrome browser will be notified that your site is “not secure”. This has a major negative impact – especially for sites that may store personal health information (like dental websites).
One study conducted in the UK noted – that 64 percent of those surveyed said that they would leave a site instantly if it was “not secure”.
How to Tell if Your Website Has a Problem
There are three general status conditions: secure, not secure and mixed content. If your website is secure, you’re all set. If your website is labeled as not secure or has mixed content, you’re going to need to make some changes.
Shown below are the ways that you can see whether or not your site is secure.
If you view your website through the chrome browser and you see https (and not http) in front of your website name, and you have a padlock, then your website is secure.
Not SecureIf you see “Not secure” in your chrome address bar, your website isn’t using SSL. You need to make sure that you get a certificate and install it on your website.
This one is a bit tricky to diagnose (see the next section). If you see that your website is using https, bit you have the lowercase i with a circle around it, that means that you have a mixed content problem with your website.
While you do have an SSL certificate and are using https, your website is also pulling in information using the non-secure http protocol. Usually this happens if you have images or other web elements on your website that are being pulled from a non-secure website address.
How Can I Diagnose the SSL Problem with my Website?
The best way to figure out your status is to use the site Why No Padlock.
You can enter your site and you’ll receive the results letting you know if your site is secure or not. If your site has problems, you can take the results from whynopadlock.com and take them to your web developer or web host to take the appropriate necessary steps to secure your site.
Below you can see results when I plugged dentalmarketingclass.com into Why No Padlock?
How do I Fix the SSL Warning? Can I Fix it Myself?
In some cases, it may be possible for you to resolve the issue by yourself. It may be just as simple as going to your web host, telling them you need an SSL certificate and having them install it.
In the event that you’re having mixed content messages, you’re probably going to have to get in touch with your web developer. They likely built your website to incorporate content that isn’t using https. They’ll have to adjust the paths of the resources that your website is using in order to eliminate the error message.
Getting an SSL Certificate for Your Dental Website
Some web hosts can assist you with the set up of your SSL certificate. It is possible that you won’t need a developer.
I’ve compiled a list of popular web hosts along with a link to their SSL information pages:
These hosts provide an SSL Certificate for a Price
Provided for Free
Provided Automatically by web host
If you don’t have an SSL Certificate, it can actually hurt your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. Google has confirmed that having an SSL Certificate is considered a ranking factor. That means it can be beneficial to have a certificate.
If you have any questions about getting your SSL certificate feel free to contact me below. I’m happy to answer any questions you have.