What is an SSL Certificate And Do I Need One for My Website?

Aug 17, 2017 | Website Design, Website Security

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Kevin Fouche

What is an SSL Certificate And Do I Need One for My Website?

Posted by Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish Director

Kevin handles the planning, design, launch and training of every website that Pixel Fish creates. He ensures that every website is highly engaging and aligned with our client’s goals. With over 20 years of design and web industry experience to draw upon, Kevin aims to pass on his knowledge to our clients and like-minded businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

So, your business has just launched a new website.  It looks great, and you’re getting many customer compliments—until one calls you up and asks, “Why does Chrome say your site’s not secure?”

You’re dumbfounded.  You answer, “Of course it’s secure—what are you talking about?”  So, you look up your site in Chrome.  It turns out your concerned customer was right.  Chrome is telling your customers and prospective customers that their data—like credit card information—isn’t safe on your site.  “Why,” you wonder, “are they saying my site’s a danger to my customers?”

What is an SSL Certificate, And Do I Need One for My Website?

What’s Going On?

Last year, Google Chrome warned businesses that they would need to take the necessary steps to make their customers’ personal information secure.  Doing so would help (slightly) with search engine rankings.  More importantly, not doing so would mean that sites that didn’t protect customer data by January 2017 would come with a warning in search engine results, a warning that those sites were “not secure”—and that would arguably drive down website traffic and lead to customer mistrust.  Fortunately, there would be a relatively simple way to make those sites secure—by adding an SSL certificate.

What’s an SSL Certificate?

SSL is an acronym that stands for “secure sockets layer.”  If that sounds pretty technical, what it means in simple terms is that adding SSL to your site will make it safe for site visitors to browse, purchase products and services and share information.  Adding SSL creates a safe connection for all of those activities.

GoDaddy gives a nice analogy to explain how SSL works on your website:

“Think of an SSL certificate as a giant windshield for when you drive on the information super-highway. You wouldn’t head out on your local freeway — especially at night in a rural area — without something between you and all the bugs. You likely couldn’t see, and besides, you’ve already had your protein for breakfast. In much the same way, an SSL certificate protects your site — and its visitors — from many digital bugs, worms and other nasty web creatures.”

Now, you might think that your business is too small to worry about adding this layer of security—but before you dismiss the idea, consider that, whether you’re big or small, your customers will still see those pesky warnings if you don’t have SSL—equally important, their data might be compromised if those data are stored on your site.  The truth is, the smaller your business is, the less able you’ll be to absorb those kinds of business disruptions.  And remember—no site is too small to get hacked.

Here are 3 reasons you should consider adding an SSL certificate to your business website:

1. You’ll be able to accept payments securely

If you accept credit card payments on your site, you’re going to need a merchant account, and you might not be able to get one if you don’t have an SSL certificate.  GoDaddy’s terms of service, for example, require that your site is secured with SSL if you’re planning to accept credit card information.  Even if that weren’t the case, would you really want to take the chance of putting your customers’ credit card information at risk?

2. You’ll enable password logins

If any of your webpages are password protected (as with WordPress and Joomla! sites) or database-driven, you’ll need an SSL certificate.  Sites that require passwords but don’t have SSL are to potential hackers what a flame is to a moth.  And don’t fool yourself—the internet is filled with bots just looking for poorly protected password pages.  If you don’t have SSL, you might go to your site one morning and find multiple pages have been deleted or defaced.

3. Your web forms will be secured

It’s not just ecommerce sites that benefit from adding an SSL certificate, and it’s not just financial information that needs to be protected.  If you have online forms to collect visitor information, you need to secure that information with SSL.   That information could include everything from name, address, phone number and email address to employment history.  If a hacker steals that information, your company will have much explaining to do—and probably lose a lot of business.


Adequately securing your business website with an SSL certificate is one way to effectively grow your business online—but it’s just one.  To maximize the potential of your company’s online presence, you need both a beautiful website that works and a smart digital marketing strategy.  Contact us today to learn more about how our website design and digital marketing services will help you grow your online business and boost your sales.

Let Sydney’s leading Web Design Agency take your business to the next level with a Pixel Fish Small Business Website.

Check out some of our latest Website Design projects and Testimonials.

Further Information:
10 Interactive WordPress Plugins to Bring Your Website to Life
Hidden Hacks: How to Check if Your WordPress Website Has Been Hacked
10 Tips to Optimize the Your Web Design Typography
10 Tips that Maximise Your WordPress Website Design ROI
12 Tactics to Increase WordPress Website Speed
13 WordPress Security Features that Protect Your Users
Top 10 Installing WordPress Plugins Best Practices
8 Cutting-Edge Web Design Trends to Incorporate Into Your Website

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Contact us today on 02 9114 9813 or email info@pixelfish.com.au

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Kevin Fouché, Pixel Fish Director