What is SSL?

I’m sure you’ve heard about SSL or seen the little green secure padlock in your web browser or https:// rather than http:// in the URL at some point. So what exactly is SSL and what does it do?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a system that helps to encrypt data and information sent between the user and the web server.  It protects information your users give your website, particularly pertaining to payment details; such as credit card information.

Do I need it?

Despite lots of available contradicting information regarding when you should have SSL on your website, there are really two main situations you really ‘need’ SSL.

1.   Customers are purchasing products through your website

Customer privacy protection should be a top concern for anyone running an online store. SSL offers protection to customers from ‘hackers’ attempting to steal payment information through your website. Although it may be worth pointing out that most online payment systems smaller online shops use will go through a third party website, such as Paypal. No information, in this case, is stored on your server so SSL isn’t really required.  

2.   Your website has forms for customers to fill out with sensitive private information

If you are collecting and storing customer information, such as drivers licence or passport numbers etc, SSL is an important thing to have in place. This comprises something called identity data which may be stolen through your websites communication with its server.

Although SSL can be a great tool to help protect your customers information it does NOT mean your website is fully secure. SSL does very little to prevent the user or the website from being hacked. It only helps to prevent third parties listening in on communications between the user and the web server.

SSL in most circumstances will do more for your customers trust in your website. So regardless of whether your website fits within these 2 main reasons for having SSL, it may be a option worth considering.

Hopefully you have found this article helpful and informative. Feel free to have a look through our e-commerce page for more information; or contact us with any questions you might have.