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Blog > Why you should secure your website

You may have noticed the message "not secure" appearing in your internet browser next to certain websites, perhaps including your own. The latest versions of internet browsers including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Edge, Safari, Firefox and Opera are all highlighting potential security risks to their users in more obvious ways.

Google Chrome now includes "not secure" in the address bar next to any website that doesn't have a secure certificate. The latest version of Firefox highlights any login or data forms as not secure before you enter any details. So what does this mean, and does your website need to be secure?

Update: As of October 2017, Chrome will also be showing a "not secure" warning on any text form that is not on a secure page.

What is a secure (SSL) certificate?

Put simply, a secure certificate consists of two 'keys' that are both required for any data to be transmitted from one place to another. One key encrypts the data so that it can't be accessed by any third party, and the other key decrypts the data at the other end. In the case of an SSL certificate, one key is on your website and the other is on the server.

This means your secure certificate effectively links your organisation as the owner of the website to the server itself, so users know that your website is legitimate. It also means any data entered into contact forms, login pages or shopping checkouts are protected from third parties. And finally, it displays in your internet browser with a green padlock and 'https' (instead of http) in front of the website address.

Does my website need to be secure?

If your website collects any sensitive details, particularly personal information, payment card and bank details, then you should use a secure certificate to protect that data. You should also be taking further steps to protect that data once it's received at your end, but that's another subject. If your website is just informational, for example a business 'brochure' site, then a secure certificate is not essential. However, there are several reasons that every website should be secure.

It reassures your users and customers

As more users become aware of secure websites, they are going to ask why some websites are not secure and whether they should feel comfortable there. Some users won't even use a website that isn't clearly secure, and certainly won't enter any personal details. Even if your website includes a secure card payment area with a third party like SagePay or PayPal, if the other pages are not secure then some customers will still be put off.

If users see the green padlock and reassurance of a secure website, they'll spend longer on your website, feel more comfortable submitting their details, and trust your business more. Ultimately this means a higher conversion of site visits to sales or other website actions.

Increase your positions on Google

Google has made clear that it wants a more secure, safe internet, which includes encouraging more businesses to secure their websites. This is why it has started incorporating a website's security status into its search algorithms, so that it is a factor in how high you appear against competitors. While this is currently quite a small factor, this will only increase in time, and could be the difference between you and your competitor's websites if all else is equal.

It's easy to secure your website

Most of all, you should secure your website because it's easy and inexpensive. Most hosting companies and web developers will be able to install a secure certificate for a modest yearly fee. Of course that includes Bluelinemedia, and we're currently offering our SSL service to existing clients at half price - just £50 + VAT for the first year (this will renew automatically at our current price of £100 + VAT per year or you can cancel ahead of the next renewal date). If you're not an existing client, our costs may depend on your current hosting provider.

To find out more about SSL certificates or secure your website today, just call one of us on 01242 244620 or get in touch via our contact page.