7 Misconceptions about HTTPS and SSL Certificates

With the rapid increase in cybercrime, website owners must consistently adopt suitable security measures to keep customer data safe from hackers. So, one must explore security measures that are easy to implement and can safeguard against most forms of cyber-attacks. One such potent action is to install an SSL certificate, which can make your website secure as well as boost its online reputation. 

However, SSL certificates are engulfed in several myths and misconceptions despite being an effective security measure. A few of them are technical, and unless website owners are aware of how SSL certificates truly impact their website, they may refrain from installing one. So, to make this entire concept more transparent, we shall now clarify some of the most common misconceptions about HTTPS and SSL certificates. 

SSL certificates are expensive

Most people assume that SSL certificates are costly and are a futile expenditure meant for larger websites. That’s not true because when it comes to SSL certificates, one has several choices. There are various types of SSL certificates that enterprises and blogs can install, depending on their operations, traffic, and budget. 

If you are starting with a blog to promote affiliate products, then you probably have a small budget and must choose the most basic type — the Domain Validated (DV) SSL certificate. Likewise, if you have an e-commerce brand that’s setting up an online store of its own, then you could consider the Organization Validated (OV) or Extended Validation SSL certificate. So, depending on your website’s business model and business goals, you can invest in an SSL certificate.

New Blogs don’t need SSL certificates

If you have just started off your website and don’t wish to invest any further until it starts generating revenues, then that day may never come. That’s because SSL certificates impact your website’s ranking on the SERPs, and according to Google, it is a ranking factor. So, if you wish to increase your website’s chances of gaining organic visibility, you must install it. Also, installing an SSL certificate would get rid of the security warnings that users see in the browser’s URL box. All of this makes the website appear more trustworthy, thereby lowering the bounce rate and increasing the possibilities of returning traffic. Moreover, readers will get the confidence that the content is original and not altered.

SSL certificates secure websites

SSL certificates do not offer website protection against hackers — instead, it makes the data connection secure between the server and the user’s browser. So, it encrypts the transmitted information and adds an extra layer of security to the data exchanged between the client and the server. Hence, SSL certificates help secure critical information like login details, credit card information, and other personally identifiable information that is communicated to the server. However, the company must consider other security tools and draft strict security policy to be circulated among the employees. Nonetheless, it helps enhance your website’s security to a great extent. 

HTTPS slows down the website

Although the HTTP protocol is rumored to be faster than the HTTPS, the difference could be negligible and necessary in most cases. That’s because this difference is significant since HTTPS encrypts the data exchanged between the server and the client, while the HTTP does not. With the introduction of HTTP/2 in 2015 year, the page load speed is quite improved on encrypted connection.

Some other factors which influence the slowdown include hardware, server software, and user behavior. The amount of static and dynamic content on the site plays a pivotal role in response to either of the two protocols. Other factors that can influence the speed are the caching behavior and session length — factors that largely depend on user behavior. You can always compare the performances of HTTP and HTTPS servers by making use of JMeter. You can use tool to gauge website speed with both HTTP and HTTPS versions.

SSL certificates are a choice

Did you know that regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require personally identifiable information and health-related data to be kept confidential and secure? While the GDPR applies to the citizens of EU countries, HIPAA applies to US citizens, but that’s not it. Several countries worldwide are framing regulations to make website owners and businesses more responsible.

These regulations require businesses and website owners to implement necessary security measures to protect customer data from safeguarding the privacy of their citizens. Not complying with the GDPR could cost a business higher of the two — 20 million Euros or 4 percent of worldwide revenues. Now that could be billions of dollars for companies like Google or Facebook if held liable. So, rest assured, SSL certificates are no longer a choice but an unspoken mandatory requirement to secure user data. 

SSL certificates are a one-time investment

If you thought that you could buy an SSL certificate and use it forever, then you are mistaken. SSL certificates can, at the most, remain valid for 24 months, and must then be renewed. In the case of non-renewal, the website ceases to benefit from the HTTPS encryption, and the browser warns the user of it. That’s because as soon as the browser connects to your website, it first looks up for a valid SSL certificate.

All SSL Certificates are the same

The most widespread misconception that people have about SSL certificates is regarding what each type does. Most tend to conclude that all of them do the same thing — encrypt data that is in transit. There’s a lot more to it, such as the number of sub-domains protected and the various levels of validation. For example, the OV SSL certificate requires a more thorough check about the existence of a business than the DV SSL certificate does. 

There are several wrong presumptions about SSL certificates. Not installing one would only make your website more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. With regulations such as the GDPR and HIPAA, every site and online business owner must embrace this security measure. 

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