Securing Your WordPress Site with SSL and HTTPS

As we increase our dependency on the internet, website security becomes more important as well. In October 2017, Google’s Chrome browser tool steps to begin increasing that security. On pages that required inputs from site visitors, a security warning appeared to alert the user that they are on an unsecure site. Beginning in July 2018, however, this security feature will be applied to all web pages, regardless of type or user interaction.

Whether your WordPress site requires user input, such as payment or shipping information, or not – this website security feature can negatively affect you. How? Let us take a look.

SSL and HTTPS: What Are They?

Before we explain how secure hosting can affect you, it is important to understand what SSL and HTTPS mean.

  • SSL is short for Secure Socket Layer. For identification purposes, each website much acquire and enable an SSL certificate.
  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS, is an encrypted communication protocol that occurs between your server and a user’s browser.

Using both the SSL and HTTPS allows the browser to authenticate the encryption process for a truly secure website. This is important because it helps to hinder the ability of hackers trying to tap into the connection. If your website does not have a legitimate SSL certificate, the HTTPS feature will not authenticate and will fail digital security checks.

Secure Hosting is Important

Your website security is important, regardless of what you do. Google’s Chrome browser has a clearly visible alert that lets visitors know the state of your security. If you open your browser, a site that is properly protected will display a green lock symbol next to the word “Secure” next to the website’s address. For non-secure websites, however, the browser will display a grey “Not Secure” text before the site’s address.

If you run a website that sells products, you may note a drop in sales. Why? Because as secure hosting becomes more prevalent, web-savvy potential customers will decline to put personal information, like credit card numbers, full names, or personal addresses, into your website. In addition to this, many popular payment provides now require you to have an SSL certificate too. This includes Stripe, PayPal Pro, Authorize.net and many others. This helps to ensure their systems are also not breached should a hacker get into your website.

The secure icon also alerts visitors to the authenticity of your website. This means that, even if your website is simply used for blogging, visitors will know when your website is real or an imposter. A non-secure indicator could dissuade visitors from coming to site because they may believe it is filled with spyware or other less-than-desirable features.

Website Security Now Affects Google Ranking

Depending on your website’s content and popularity, you may notice a decrease in traffic as Google’s security features affect more than just user preferences. This is because Google has also announced that secure websites that have an SSL certificate will be given preference in their rankings. This means that all that time spent carefully honing your search engine optimization (SEO) effectivity could be circumvented by ignoring the new security protocols.

In addition to this, Google Analytics now blocks referral data between HTTPS and HTTP. (HTTP is the older, unsecure version of HTTPS.) In other words, if you continue to use HTTP, but the majority of your referral sites upgrade to HTTPS, your website analytics will not display properly. This may not seem very important, however, it can lead you to lose out on valuable marketing opportunities from platforms you are unaware of.

WordPress and Website Security

At present, WordPress requirements for SSL certificates are not very high. All you need is to purchase an SSL certificate and have a host that supports it.

First, you need to select the appropriate SSL certificate for you. There are many different options; however, the mostly commonly used versions are Domain Validation (DV), Organization Validation (OV), and Extended Validation (EV).

  • DV certificates are the simplest. They just verify that you own the domain.
  • OV certificates verify your domain ownership and prove that you are a legitimate organization.
  • EV certificates are considered the highest level of security assurance. To receive an EV certificate, applicants must pass a strict, vetting process before being approved.

This is where 51Blocks comes in. If you do not understand which SSL certificate will be most useful for your WordPress site, our experts can help you make that determination. Additionally, not every website host will support SSL certificates. Other website hosts may provide SSL certificates, but at high prices. 51Blocks, however, can securely host your WordPress site while providing you the appropriate SSL certificate.

Can’t I Do This Myself?

There are certainly plenty of guides online for the do-it-yourself (DIY) website owner. However, not every website host makes the process easy. Some require you to install the SSL certificate yourself, while others will take control and install it for you. Depending on your host, this may cost extra.

You will also need to update your website URL to include the HTTPS portion of security. To use a combination of the SSL certificate and HTTPS, you will need to add coding. This can be tricky if you are not familiar with coding.

51Blocks Secure Website Hosting

51Blocks provides secure website hosting. Because our experts have an in depth understanding of coding, the importance of security, SEO metrics, and more – we can help you with all of your WordPress needs. If you would like to learn more, contact us today to find out how 51Blocks can make your website secure today.

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