SSL. You’ve probably heard of those three little letters before, but did you know that they can really benefit your WordPress site? Before we talk about how it’ll help your site, however, first let’s go over what exactly SSL even is.
What is SSL?
Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, is a protocol used to secure and encrypt communication between computers. In other words, it helps keep sensitive information on your site incredibly secure. This includes things like passwords, credit card information, banking credentials – basically any information your site stores that you (and your users) would want to remain safe.
Look up at the navigation bar in your browser – see that little padlock before the website URL? That symbolizes that a site has installed an SSL certificate and is therefore safely securing information. You can also tell if a site is using SSL by looking at the URL itself. If it starts with https instead of http, you know SSL is installed.
Why SSL is important
In the past, SSL was important for one very specific reason: encrypting communication and securely storing information. This is incredibly beneficial (and essentially required) for eCommerce stores or sites handling sensitive information. As a site owner, this is important because you don’t want that information to be compromised. Plus, you want to offer your users a stellar experience, right? SSL will help you do that.
Another benefit of SSL is that it helps to build trust with your users. Before you can install an SSL certificate on your site, you have to answer a few questions about your site and/or business. This allows the certificate authority (the site you buy the certificate from) to verify that you are indeed the website and business you say you are. This means that if your site has SSL installed, your users can trust that you’re a legitimate company that won’t steal their information. And I’m guessing you want to build that trust with your users.
There’s one final reason SSL is important for your WordPress site: SEO. Google has announced that beginning in January 2017, they will flag sites that store passwords or credit card information without SSL as insecure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all sites without SSL as insecure. That’s a huge initiative, and if your site doesn’t have SSL installed, it could seriously hurt your traffic and conversions.
The web is moving towards a more secure place, which means that no matter what type of site you’re running, having an SSL certificate installed will help your site thrive. SSL keeps your information secure, helps to build trust with your users, and keep your site current with industry standards.
So, how do you get it?
How to install SSL
In the past, installing an SSL certificate was a bit of a juggling act. You’d have to buy it from a certificate authority, tell your hosting company about it, share information with both parties, and then it could be activated. That’s not the worst system in the world, but it’s not the smoothest, either.
So, here at Flywheel, we’ve decided to remove the hassle with our latest feature, Simple SSL! And the best part? It’s completely free! With Simple SSL, we’re offering free SSL certificates with all of our hosting packages. That’s right, free! With a little help from our friends over at Let’s Encrypt, there’s no need to go back and forth with a third-party provider – you can get world-class hosting and encryption all under one roof!
Of course, if you need a special SSL certificate, like wildcard or EV, you can still purchase those from a trusted certificate authority. For the majority of sites, however, a standard certificate like the one Flywheel is offering will be the perfect solution.
Secure your site with a free SSL certificate
Get your own SSL certificate and that little green padlock of your dreams when you spin up a new site on Flywheel’s managed WordPress hosting platform. On top of a secure site, you’ll get all the benefits of our impressive infrastructure, wonderful workflow tools, 24/7 support team, and so much more! Ready to discover your new favorite web host?
This article has been updated since it’s original publish on September 12th, 2016.