Why you should encrypt
Encryption is essential in this day and age. The recent and ongoing leak of Clinton Campaign Chair @JohnPodesta‘s private emails has brought the issue of internet security yet again to the forefront of the American news cycle (@Wikileaks claims they have over 50,000 emails stolen through a phishing link Podesta was exposed to). SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, certification is a security measure that protects the integrity of your website and its traffic, essential for transmitting financial information and best practices for everyone else. Encrypting your website traffic has never been easier and there’s not excuse anymore in 2016, so check out these 4 reasons you should be using SSL encryption and how to get started.
1 | It’s Free
You don’t need to pay for security; I got my SSL certificate through @letsencrypt, a free Certificate Authority. Check out their site to see how to get started, or look at your other free options, like GoDaddy or Namecheap. If you choose to wade out into the Googlesphere just make sure you vet your Authority before installing packages.
2 | It’s Easy
I downloaded & installed the the letsencrypt package, set up the certificate, and added a cron job to renew the certificate in about fifteen minutes. For perspective, in that same amount of time you could:
- Fly approximately 4% of the way from New York, NY to Paris, France
- Eat two cobs of corn
- pet a baby otter for 15 minutes
If you’re set up with a hosting website they might already have some walkthroughs available (Digital Ocean has a guide for Ubuntu 16.04, which is the one I used). You will need superuser privileges, so if you don’t administer your own site check in with your webmaster.
3 | It’s Secure
SSL encryption helps protect your website and its users from third party security threats, such as Man-in-the-Middle attacks. It also uses certificates to verify the identity of the website to other servers & users while encrypting communication between both parties. These certificates are issued from trusted Certificate Authorities, examples being @letsencrypt and @namecheap. Authorities are verified by third parties and browser manufacturers.
4 | It helps your Google Rank
Google has been boosting the rank of HTTPS-encrypted websites since 2014. While it’s a relatively small boost, the social impact of the green padlock is only growing, and any boost is an advantage in competitive keyword landscapes.
If you’re an SEO and you’re recommending against going HTTPS, you’re wrong and you should feel bad.
— Gary Illyes (@methode) August 18, 2015
At this point, it’s just best practices. It’s 2016, for God’s sake, so take that fifteen minutes you’d otherwise be petting a baby otter and secure your site. For your website integrity, your visitors, your rankings, and your peace of mind. Strongly disagree? Let me know in the comments!