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Costs and Benefits of an SSL Certificate

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private.

An SSL Certificate, proving that the connection between the website and the site visitor is secure, is required for any online financial transactions and ecommerce, and recommended for sites that take text inputs in login panels, contact forms, search bars, etc. Now Google is recommending SSL for all sites.

Site security is not currently a major rankings factor, but Google is definitely moving in that direction. It has been a slow roll out beginning in 2017, but it is definitely gaining traction and the message to web developers allude to a shorter available time frame for implementation before it does become a major rankings factor. Google does not say precisely when security will become a major rankings factor. But expect it to be sooner, rather than later.

A site's security can easily be checked by looking at the site address in the browser address bar: https:// means the site is secure, http:// means that it is not.

The address bar of the Google Chrome browser will give more visual importance to the secure, not secure status of a website, whereas other browsers give this status less visual importance. But, it is important to note that as of January, 2019, Google Chrome has 67% market share.

1 Google Chrome 67%
2 Safari (apple products) 9.8%
3 Firefox 8.8%
4 Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.3%
5 Other 5.0%
6 Microsoft Edge 4.1%
  • An SSL Certificate is typically purchased and installed through the website host.
  • The Cost of an SSL Certificate varies from host to host, but is in the $100 per year ballpark.
  • Once purchased, it might take a few hours to 24 hours for the new configuration to work through the various parts of the internet.