A security or SSL (which stands for Secure Sockets Layer) certificate means that your internet connection is secure.

A secure website will protect personal details, data transfers, credit card transactions, and logins, for example.

The security technology uses a process called ‘encryption’ to ensure that sensitive data sent between two systems can’t be read or modified on the way.

As well as encryption, a security certificate should also provide authentication. This will make sure that your information can’t be redirected.

How does a security certificate work?
An encrypted connection is created between your visitor and your website’s server through a process known as a ‘handshake’. All this means is that secure confirmation messages are passed between your visitor’s online browser and your website’s server. You won’t notice any difference because it all takes place in the background, without affecting your visitor’s experience.

How can I tell if a website is secure?
When a security certificate is properly installed on a website’s server, a small green padlock appears to the left of the website address, which will start with https:// rather than just http://.

If you go to a website without a security certificate, you will probably see a red warning symbol and Google will tell you that it is insecure – that will be a real deterrent for visitors to your site.

What are the benefits of a security certificate?
Having a security certificate is important to give visitors confidence to stay and use your website. It also makes a difference to your search engine results page (SERP) rankings because Google now prioritises websites with security certificates.

If your business involves online sales then trust and security are especially important. Without the green padlock, your customers are more likely to buy elsewhere