How do you know if a website is secure? It’s easy to tell. You can check the URL address for the cute little “S” at the end of the HTTP and the padlock icon next to it.
HTTP stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.”
HTTPS is Hyper Text Transfer Protocol with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
It’s important to pay attention to whether a site is secure or not because if it has it, the connection is safe and your personal information as well as the data you enter into the site, such as personal contact information, credit card numbers, etc. are not accessible to unauthorized users--but if it doesn’t, your session isn’t secure and your private information is vulnerable to hackers.
It’s okay to visit websites that are not secure, but be careful about entering any information about yourself on these sites. Consider using Google Chrome’s HTTPS Everywhere Extension, which automatically makes your connection with any website more secure, though it’s no substitute for an SSL connection.
You can probably see where I’m going with this. If a website you own doesn’t have an SSL Certificate, you need to giddy-up and get it. Your hosting company (Hint: we know a good one!) can help you set up the certificate on your website. You don’t necessarily need to have a dedicated IP address to use SSL Certificates, but getting it set up could be part of a hosting package upgrade. You will have to buy the SSL Certificate, which could cost around $65 per year.
The bonus of adding HTTPS encryption to your website is that Google rewards sites that have this extra layer of security with a boost in search rankings. It’s one of Google’s many SEO ranking signals.
Pro Tip: Once you have successfully upgraded your website to HTTPS, you will want to update your Webmaster Tools website address so you can get accurate information about your site.
*This post originally appeared on the nethosting.com blog.