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Through this post, I want to write the importance of getting an SSL certificate for WordPress, as I used to write a lot of WordPress security tips.
Suddenly, every other website or blog on the web is now redirecting their users to an SSL or HTTPS version of their domain.
Such implementation of HTTPs on the website is considered as a strategic internet marketing move to gain an advantage over other competitors in search engine rankings.
Do you agree with my viewpoint?
Well, the debate is still pretty much on whether adding an SSL certificate to set the HTTPs version of your website/blog boosts your SERPs or not.
While the argument is reaching its peak, there is also a lot of confusion about the meaning of SSL, whether it is a ranking signal or not, and how to get an SSL certificate for your domain.
All your doubts will be cleared once you go through this article as I plan to answer all these queries one by one.
What Is SSL And SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is actually a standard security technology used to establish a secure and encrypted link between the web browser and a web server.
This is basically used by websites that deal with online transactions such as e-commerce WordPress portals or other online service-based websites.
The main objective of SSL is to ensure that all the data passed between the web server (i.e., hosting server) and the web browsers (user) remains private and secure.
You need an SSL certificate to establish such an encrypted connection between the browser and the server.
This certificate is a small data file that are used to digitally bind cryptographic keys to the website owner’s or organization’s details.
To activate the SSL on your web hosting server, you must fill in a questionnaire with details about your website and company. Once done, you will receive two cryptographic keys, a Public Key and a Private Key.
The whole process of how these keys work to transmit data between the server and browser securely can be explained using the following example. For example, X sends a message to Y, then X locks the data using Y’s public key.
The message or the data within the message can only be accessed by Y’s private that only Y has. Even if someone intercepts this data transfer, he won’t be able to access the data without the private key.
Hence, your data remains safe. In terms of the website and hosting scenario, X implies the browser, and Y becomes the hosting server.
Is Adding SSL To The Domain Search Engine Friendly?
Privacy is a big concern for everyone on the internet.
Today we have social media, online transactions, personal data, and much more on the web. Although it is secured, the data is always vulnerable if you share the details on an unsecured or fishy website.
Recently, Google understood this concern and announced HTTPs as a ranking signal in 2014.
This new addition to the already abundant list of ranking factors, almost every webmaster across the web has gone ahead and got an SSL certificate for their domain.
Also, because of such a wide demand for SSL certificates, there are many different but reliable sources that offer SSL certificates free for a domain.
Even though Google has termed SSL a ranking signal, it only offers a minor ranking boost.
Compared to other ranking signals like high-quality content, SSL is a very lightweight signal. Also, the HTTPs will only qualify if you use an SSL 2048-bit key certificate on the website.
Based on the current impact of HTTPs ranking signal, Google found that it only affects less than 1% of the search engine queries run globally.
However, Google also confirmed that they are looking forward to strengthening HTTPs as a ranking signal to encourage more website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPs in the coming time.
Things To Consider While Switching To HTTPs
There’s a lot of talks about the right way of switching to HTTPs. If you are doing it for SEO purposes, you must consider a few things while making the change.
When you have made the switch, you must redirect all your pages from HTTP to HTTPs, and that would affect the rankings. After this, you should also inform Google about the change using the Search Console.
Here are few other things to consider when you switch from HTTP to HTTPs:
- Always use 2048-bit key certificates for SSL.
- Make sure that you use relative URLs to fetch resources hosted on your domain.
- Also, make sure to use relative protocol URLs if fetching resources from other domains.
- Check if robots.txt is not blocking bots from crawling the HTTPs version.
Make the right choice while choosing the certificate from options like single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate.
Where To Find SSL Certificate For WordPress Site?
Besides the SEO advantage, adding an SSL certificate could also build trust for your domain with the users.
If you are selling ebooks, merchandise, or some digital product via your WordPress blog, then adding an SSL would mean that the website is secure to the users.
It also works if you use a third-party payment gateway or PayPal to receive payments.
Adding an SSL certificate could be tricky as you will find various options to choose from.
You must choose the right SSL certificate supporting 2048-bit key for the SEO advantage as well as for gaining the trust of the users visiting your website.
To make the task a bit easy for you, I will share the list of some of the best free SSL Certificate providers on the web today.
Best Free SSL Certificate Providers
The web is full of free and paid SSL certificate providers.
While the free ones are effective, I will always recommend going for the paid ones if you can afford it. The paid providers will offer the right support and the necessary tutorial to add the certificate.
Being a paid customer, they will also ensure future updates if there are any major changes in terms of SEO or security. You can always try GlobalSign, Rapid SSL, or ClickSSL if you are opting for the paid versions.
These are trusted brands and worth investing in only if you make a lot of your blog or website. However, normal content-based blogs could always opt for the free SSL certificate providers that will follow this list.
Here are the best free SSL certificate providers to choose from:
Let’s Encrypt is the most widely used and reliable free SSL certificate provider on the web today.
The main reason for its popularity is the fact that it is a collaborative effort with Linux Foundation, and the project is backed by popular brands such as Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, SiteGround, Facebook, etc.
The entire project is fully automated. All you need is to register for a free SSL and follow the instructions to add HTTPs to your website.
The process of creating a CSR and authority sign happens in the background on your hosting server.
Cloudflare is a well-known brand in the CDN industry. However, recently Cloudflare has announced universal SSL free for all its users. Hence, if you are paid or free user at CloudFlare, you can activate SSL on your domain with a few clicks.
Simply log in to your Cloudflare account and choose the website for which you are enabling SSL. Configure the settings as flexible by clicking the “Crypto” icon and make sure that the status says, “Activate Certificate.”
It would only take a few seconds, and you can check by accessing the HTTPs version of the domain.
Installing an SSL certificate for WordPress would help protect your site visitors from Eavesdropping and improve the search engine rankings!
Through HTTPS, you can ensure that every data sent over to the internet is secure and only be interpreted by the purposeful recipient.
Yes! Better WordPress security, high Google search rankings, and great customer trust are the primary benefits of using the SSL (https://)
I always write the WordPress security strategies, and even in my last post; I have insisted you enable the Two-factor authentication for WordPress.
I hope that you have learned the importance and benefits of using the SSL certificate for WordPress and strengthening the security of your site.
If you have any thoughts to share about this security certificate, then use the comment section; let’s discuss it over there!