When I first started this blog a couple of years ago it was very difficult to set up a free SSL certificate. I was surprised when I found out that my current host, HawkHost, offered that option for free directly from my CPanel. The free SSL certificate is provided by Let’s Encrypt.
What is SSL?
The letters stand for “Secure Socket Layer”. An SSL certificate is installed by the owners of the website if they choose to install one. The way that you can tell if a website has SSL enabled is by looking at the address bar on your web browser. On Safari it shows a gray lock next to the website URL. On Chrome it shows a green lock and/or a green “https” on the address bar on the browser.
What does it do?
If a website owner has SSL enabled on their website it makes your connection to that website secure. When you are browsing a website without SSL security people browsing on the same wifi network as you can see what you are doing. If you submit any personal information such as emails, names, password, etc. into the website, they can see them. However, when there is SSL enabled on the website, people on the same network as you will see jumbled up letters. These jumbled up letters are encrypted passwords and emails and any other personal information that you submit into the website.
If you are a website owner you should enable SSL as soon as possible to keep your users safe. There’s also benefits to you. Google tends to rank websites with SSL encryption higher than those without SSL encryption.
Buy or Free
If you do not want to use Let’s Encrytps’ free SSL certificate you can also purchase a certificate online. However, the most important thing is that you have some sort of SSL encryption whether it’s free or paid.