You thought by owning a website for years, if you weren’t selling an ecommerce or any products on your shopping cart, or if you did not have a catalog, you didn’t need a SSL certificate.

For those people who don’t know what SSL means, it stands for secure socket layer, and without being technical, it’s basically a way data on your website gets encrypted, because information on the web can be intercepted at any point from the website that you are requesting information from.

But now, Google is mandating that websites now have an SSL certificate in order to retain their high search engine rankings or to move up their search engine rankings at any time. The new version of Google Chrome that came out around January 31 of 2017, version 56, will now flag your website as not secure or unsecure if you don’t have a SSL Certificate.

The biggest question I get from our clients is how much will it cost and is it expensive which is basically the same question just asked in different contexts.

Hot Web Ideas can set you up with one and you will be happy to know an SSL certificate costs less than $80. If you have multiple domains you can buy what’s called the UCC certificate which will give you SSL certificates for up to 5 of your websites or domains and if you have a lot of websites like I do, I suggest you get a UCC certificate. At the time of this writing it costs around $149.00 per year and Hot Web Ideas can handle the technical part for you. If you were to order five SSL certificates on your websites separately, it would cost you $230.55. Hot Web Ideas will save you almost $80.00.

As for the other web hosting companies, I don’t know what they charge, because I am not a customer of theirs, but I assume that most of them are the same pricing structure as Godaddy and all of them offer a UCC certificates, so it’s really important to get one today. You can watch this 3 minute video that I recorded in January which is still fresh today, because a lot of websites still do not have a SSL Certificate.

How do you know besides owning your hosting account if your website is secure and your SSL is actually working? Your domain will start with https://www. subdomain and whatever your domain is. Without the SSL Certificate, it will only show http, not https. Some browsers will also show a padlock in the locked position showing that a website is secure. Even if it doesn’t say https, although the two pretty much go hand in hand. Some browsers like Google Chrome 56 will show an exclamation point if your website is not secure. So that’s a quick way for your website visitors to know.

What are the implications of not having a SSL certificate? For one thing it can cost you visitors, because I believe what’s going to happen is that having a SSL certificate is going to be as common as SEO and search engine rankings, and of course making sure your website is hack-proof. It’s all related, and the thing about the SSL is that when it becomes common place. There is going to be a point where people are just going to avoid the sites that don’t have an SSL certificate in the first place. I do not know when that’s going to happen, but now that Google is informing visitors that your web could be unsecure and that websites are now dropping search engine rankings for unsecure websites, I believe that it will become commonplace probably within 2017, if not next year, but it doesn’t matter. Buying SSL is as I said very inexpensive and it’s a very important requirement nowadays, because why do you want to lose your search engine rankings if you already have good rankings to begin with? I’ve spoken to a lot of SEO experts who tell me that’s a rumour, that Google is not going to be dropping a web ranking for a insecure website, but then again that’s a rumor and pretty much a false one. Sometimes we don’t know if rumors are true or not, so why take a chance? It is cheap enough and it does not cost thousands of dollars as some people believe.

There’s no reason not to do this anyway. Now from this point, every website I build is going to be secure and it’s going to be part of the package offered from Hot Web Ideas. If you have any questions you can let me know in the comments, and I look forward to hearing your opinion about this.

Author: Bruce Chamoff

Bruce Chamoff has been in the web design and development business since 1995 and has worked on over 1,000 websites since then for businesses of all sizes from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses.

He is a regular speaker at WordCamps (the official WordPress conference) across the United States and teaches over 12 courses on web design and development.

Bruce never stops learning and teaching web development.