Don Yates January 18, 2019
web security SSL

Haven’t made your site secure yet? You might want to get that done. It’s not required but in 2014 Google announced that the security status of a website would factor in its search engine ranking.

Don Yates

Web security effect your ranking

Many web hosts claim that they make SSL available for websites. However, you need more than just SSL, you need the certificate so can get “not secure” changed to lock. You see, in 2018 Google started listing sites without security certificates as “not secure.” What does this mean? It doesn’t mean you have malware and other risky web stuff, but it’s saying to a web surfer that you are a risk. You could be infected.

Even if you factor in out the benefit of having and getting the lock instead of “not secure,” realize that a good number of web surfers will not even visit your website without that lock. They will just back out. Keep in mind too that in the search result listings Google will indicate whether or not a site has the secure “lock” and a user need not even visit your site to find out. How hard is it to get the lock? It’s a little complicated but whichever service you utilize to get your security certificate will have some kind of help available to guide you through the process.

Where to get a security certificate

For one of my sites I used Namecheap to get a security certificate. I chose them because they are very inexpensive, about $9 a year for the basic security certificate. A basic certificate like that would probably be fine for you if you are NOT running credit card transactions or personally identifiable information, or medical information through your site. I was just trying to get the basic secure lock for that site. If you a running credit cards and have a lot to lose you may want to get a more expensive certificate. Why? because often with these certificates come insurance in case your site is hacked and someone goes after you for damages or you suffer losses due to fraud. When you go to pursue a certificate, keep in mind that you do not have to use the certificates offered by your host. I do not use my host for my security certificates, Namecheap does them and sends me some technical stuff to forward to my host. Then my host installs the Namecheap certificate on my site, my host does that service for free, yours may charge a fee. It usually takes about 24 hours to do this back and forth stuff between your host and your certificate provider. You may be required to have your site scanned for malware and viruses as part of the procedure to get your certificate. There are free services that do this type of thing, one is Web Inspector by Comodo.

Other concerns for installing a security certificate

More notes on getting a security certificate. If you want to do this keep in mind that you must make all your image and web links secure on your site. This might not be a big deal or maybe it will be a big deal if you have lots of stuff on your site. Simply put, you need to go in and change http://www.google.com to https://www.google.com (all those links, not just google). Same for your image addresses for embedded images. If you don’t adjust those links and images your lock may not appear after your security certificate has been fully installed. If that happens you need to go through and check all your links to find the one that is missing the ‘s’ (in http). If you are running WordPress there are plugins you can download for free that will help with this and make your life easier. One WordPress plugin I used to do something like this is called “Better Search Replace.” My host control panel also gave me the option to make all called web resources on my site appear as “https” rather than “http” which was a great feature.

If you guys have comments or questions feel free to chime and make suggestions or corrections to this article.

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