The short answer is YES!
Yes, an SSL Certificate is essential for your website.
The slightly longer answer is that search engines like Google who assess your website and index it for search results prioritize websites that have an SSL certificate over websites that don’t have an SSL certificate. Modern browsers will typically display a security warning page instead of allowing the user to navigate directly to the domain.
But isn’t an SSL certificate expensive?
This depends entirely on your hosting provider. Some charge a lot for an SSL cert. Many plans are now including an SSL cert for free. It’s important to include the cost of an SSL certificate in your hosting costs. Many hosting plans advertise a low monthly cost, but do not include essential features and functionality – which you end up having to add on later.
I don’t know if I have an SSL certificate, what do I do?
Step 1: Take note if your URL is http://yourwebsite.com or https://yourwebsite.com. If yours is the latter – https – continue to step 2. If not, jump to step 3.
Step 2: Check the lock in the URL bar. It might be broken or a color – red is bad, green is good. Sometimes it’s black and that’s usually fine too. Click on it – a small tool tip/pop up will tell you more details about the SSL status. If the lock indicates that the site is secure your in good shape. Jump to step x, if not
Step 3: Find out if an SSL certificate is include in your hosting plan. You can log into your account and explore or contact customer service for clarification. (Be aware, they WILL try to sell you an add-on, even if you don’t need it)
I have an SSL certificate, but it’s not installed. What should I do now?
If you have an SSL certificate in your hosting account, but it doesn’t appear to be installed you’ll need to contact the hosting provider for guidance on installation. A company like Godaddy will charge you to setup the certificate, other companies like Kinsta have a simple interface with a “click to enable” button.
How long will it take for the SSL to take effect?
Installing an SSL certificate typically takes an hour. Some take as long as 24hours. A company like Kinsta will set it up within minuets (another reason they are my favorite Worpdress hosting provider and why I became a Kinsta Affiliate).
It’s installed, but the lock still isn’t ‘green’?
Couple issues you need to check on – be sure your website protocols and assets all include https:// rather than http://. Some hosting providers recommend using an SSL plugin, but you should be able to do a search and replace from http:// to https://, add .htaccess directives and/or update your site address & url address to https://
If you still get a broken lock or site insecure warning, drop me a email and I’ll help get your site secured.