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WordPress SSL: The Importance Of A Secure Website

A secure website has become mandatory for all websites. For example, Google announced back in September, starting January 2017, Google Chrome will inform visitors if a website is sporting an insecure connection. An example of providing a secure website is implementing a SSL certificate. A SSL certificate (secure socket layer) is a type of security technology used to establish an encrypted link between a server, browser and the end user. We will focus on why a SSL certificate, specifically for WordPress, is important.

WordPress SSL – When Should You Use SSL?

 

WordPress SSL - HTTPS Results On Google Page 1 (2 Years)
Source – Moz

As mentioned above, Google announced websites that are insecure will inform website visitors of an insecure connection. We forgot to mention an insecure website will be ranked lower in the search results page. For instance, all secure websites are ranking higher than non-secure websites since the announcement. The real question is when do you implement a SSL certificate? The answer is always. For one, a secure website encrypts all user data. Meaning, no personal information is easily accessible. A visitor will fill in a form and the data will be encrypted. Second, if customers are entering credit card information, it is best to encrypt the credit card numbers. Encrypting the credit card details will make the numbers unreadable. Both for humans and computers. Lastly, a WordPress SSL website will help rank a website higher in the search results page. A small business needs every competitive edge.

 

What Does a WordPress SSL Protected Site Look Like?

For instance, when do you know you’re on a secure website? There are a couple of signals that can identity whether a website is secure or not. For example, when browsing a website on Google Chrome, there’s a green padlock with the text Secure. These two items are indicators of a secure website.

 

WordPress SSL - Secure Padlock HTTPS URL

 

When browsing a non-secure website, you can see there’s an i within a circle. For example, when you click on the i circle icon, you’ll be greeted with a pop up box. The box reads “Your connection to this site is not secure.” Knowing the difference will help you determine which site is secure vs. non-secure.

 

WordPress SSL - Insecure connection notice

 

How To Install A SSL Certificate

Knowledge is power and we’ll help you install a SSL certificate onto your WordPress website. For this example, we’ll be using SiteGround as our web host. First, perform a backup of the website. Second, store the backup somewhere easily accessible in case of emergency. Third, we’ll be using the Let’s Encrypt certificate. Lastly, be sure you have all login credentials for WordPress and web host handy.

Log into your cPanel account. Under the Security section, find the Let’s Encrypt icon. Click on the Let’s Encrypt logo.

WordPress SSL - Let's Encrypt Icon

You will land on the Let’s Encrypt SSL overview. From here, you will toggle on HTTPS Enforce. Issuing the SSL certificate is the first step in making your website work properly over HTTPS.

https://www.siteground.com/img/knox/tutorials/uploaded_images/images/letsencrypt/cert3.jpg

Once the HTTPS Enforce has been toggled on, head over to your .htaccess file and add the following code. This will force an HTTPS connection on your website. Replace https://yourdomain.com with your actual domain name.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://yourdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

If your website is in a subfolder, use this code instead:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} folder
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://yourdomain.com/folder/$1 [R=301,L]

 

There may be additional steps required to perform, such as making all of the images secure, securing third party code snippets like Google Analytics or any other element of the website.

Conclusion

A secure website is a must. For example, any type of website should have a SSL certificate. A secure website ensure numerous benefits. First of all, Google and other search engines are ranking secure websites higher in the search results page. Also, a secure website encrypts customer data. Lastly, we presented a tutorial on how to add a certificate. Good luck and let’s chat in the comments if you run into any issues!