An SSL Certificate or Secure Sockets Layer Certificate adds a layer of security to any website. A website address without an SSL certificate typically looks like http://www.yourwebsite.com. With the certificate we see an ‘s’ added to the address, as in https://www.yourwebsite.com.
What the certificate does is add a layer of encryption between the web server and the user’s browser. Usually this is needed when sending sensitive information such as credit card information or passwords. If someone were to intercept your information, they would then need a way to decipher the information.
Does My Website Need A SSL Certificate?
Needing a certificate depends on several factors. One common way to draw the line on whether or not you need a certificate is to ask are you going to be selling anything or asking anyone to login?
Many store platforms like Shopify take care of payment processing for you on their end and already have a SSL certificate. In reality a customer may never know they have left your website to go to Shopify’s payment servers. You may still want the SSL certificate to instill a sense of trust in shoppers on your website.
If you are not selling anything online or asking anyone to log in, then you probably do not need a certificate.
Below is a general rule of thumb, but remember every website is different.
- My website requires customers to log in – you need a SSl Certivficate
- My e-commerce website processes payments – you need an SSL Certificate
- You don’t want web browsers to mark your website as un-secure – you need an SSL Certificate
- My e-commerce website uses services like Paypal or Shopify to process payments – you do not need an SSL Certificate
- My website only has information about products or services – you do not need a SSL Certificate
*Update 7/1018. We highly recommend getting a SSL certificate for your website. Things have changed in the last couple of years and you can get a certificate for free from Let’s Encrypt or some hosting companies like Flywheel even provide them for free. We are working on getting on for this website.
*Update 8/29/18. We have moved to Flywheel and highly recommend it as they give you a free SSL certificate.