Why does your website need an SSL certificate?

Have you ever encountered the Grey Screen of Death?

This is what happens when you visit a website using the Chrome browser that has no SSL (Security) certificate attached to it. Google’s own Chrome browser is used by roughly 78% of web traffic, making it by far the most popular browser.



So what happens when a user is presented with the Grey Screen of Death and the words “attackers might be trying to steal your information”, well what would you do?

That’s right, you’d hot foot it out of there pressing the back button as quickly as you could!

Let’s find out, what an SSL certificate is, how they work, and how you get one.


1. What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer.

SSL Certificates protect your customers’ sensitive information sent between the website being viewed and the persons browser viewing it by encrypting the data they send to you, then decrypting it once you’ve received it.

SSL Certificates protect sensitive information such as credit card information, usernames, passwords etc.

Additional benefits of having an SSL certificate attached to your website are

  • Keeps data secure between servers
  • Increases your Google Rankings
  • Builds/Enhances customer trust
  • Improves conversion rates


2. How does it work?

An SSL creates a secure tunnel through which information including usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and more can pass safely.

First, the SSL “handshake”

When a visitor enters an SSL-protected website, your SSL certificate automatically creates a secure, encrypted connection with their browser. Your site is most secure when SSL is deployed on all pages and subdomains.

The padlock icon appears

Once the connection is complete, a padlock icon and HTTPS prefix appear in the visitor’s browser bar to show them they’re safe to share personal details. If you install an EV (Extended Validation) SSL, the browser will activate the green bar and display your company name to prove you’re legit.

3. How do you tell if you have one?

Copy and paste your URL from the browser into a document. If it says http:// you don’t, if it says https:// you do!

You can also check in the browser bar, it should have a green padlock and say ‘secure’ by it’


4. What types are there?

Today there are three types of certificates that offer 3 levels of user trust

Domain Validated certificates (DV)

Organization Validated certificate (OV)

Extended Validation certificates (EV).

– DV certificate are issued after a “simple” domain control validation, where you basically prove that you have access to the server which is running your shop.

– OV & EV certificate are issued after you have passed the domain validation and you also have provided verifiable documentation of your company and that documentation must also contain your company address and phone number so that a member of the validation team can check your data and can perform a callback validation by phone.

The end result is that DV certificates can be ordered by anybody that has access to a domain name, while OV & EV certificates require a verifiable person / company to obtain the certificate.


5. What type do I need?

The majority of us are fine with just the most basic/free option.

The three types of SSL all do the same thing, but they are validated differently and show differently in the URL

DV – shows a green padlock

OV – shows a green padlock OVs are usually used by corporations, governments and other entities that want to provide an extra layer of confidence to their visitors. Suitable for larger e-commerce.

EV- shows the entire URL bar to be green, this is an immediate, visual way that viewers can know that extra steps were taken to confirm the site they’re visiting.

The thing to think about is who is going to be looking at your website and whether they need their extra assurance that your site has been extra checked.


5. How do I get one?

SSL Certificates are best bought through your website hosting. All hosts will differ in price and activation so follow their help pages. The formula will usually be buy, activate and attach to  your website.

Advanced users: if you have access to your CPanel you can get a free SSL certificate using Let’sEncrypt.



Having an SSL cert installed is now a google ranking factor, so you get that extra bit of google juice from having one

You create trust with your audience by investing the time and knowledge to implement your SSL certificate and look after their details.


Petbusinesses and Petpreneurs you are most welcome for help and advice in the Barking Tribe Facebook group!