Why Is SSL Important On Modern Websites?

As the Internet becomes more and more integrated with our lives, website users are becoming increasingly aware of the need for website security. Even the most novice users are familiar with the difference between a "secure" and "non-secure" website and are wary of using the latter. With the media exposing stories of online fraud and data breaches, it's no surprise that SSL certificates have become a fundamental aspect of websites. If you're a new WordPress website owner, though, you may be wondering how to obtain SSL certification and how to set up HTTPs on Wordpress.

Read more to learn about the basics before we dive into the details.

What is SSL?

While perusing the internet, you've probably noticed that there's a little padlock icon on the left of the URL. You may have also noticed that some websites start with "HTTPS", rather than "HTTP". These indicate that a website has an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.

SSL certificates are essential for protecting a website, so you'll always see them on sites that ask for personal information, such as banking or E-commerce sites, which process payments. SSL provides security, privacy, and data integrity for both the website and its users' information. It ensures that information can travel securely from browser to website servers through encryption, and that no one can intercept the process and steal the data being passed through. When sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords, are encrypted, it means that their regular, plain text is replaced with random numbers and letters to make it indecipherable to human eyes.

Do I need an SSL?

Now that we understand what SSL is, you may be asking yourself, is it absolutely necessary to have an SSL on your website?

In short, the answer is yes.

There are several reasons why you should encrypt your website with SSL.

1. To build customer trust and confidence

SSL certification has become a safety standard for modern websites. It marks a website as safe, leading to customers being more likely to trust it with their personal information. An SSL is one of the first things that many users look for on a website nowadays before converting, so it's highly recommended that website owners obtain certification.

2. To show authenticity

Obtaining an SSL certificate requires authenticating your organization. You'll have to go through identity checks to verify that your company is real and legitimate, and not some sort of scam. Implementing an SSL on your website lets users know that when they visit your website and provide personal information, the exchange is with a secure company.

3. For higher rankings

Google has moved towards better online security by announcing that it will provide better rankings and SEO for websites with an SSL. In fact, on Google Chrome, they (along with other browsers) go so far as to warn web users against sites that lack SSL certification with a "Not Secure" label. This mark can give users entering a website a bad first impression.

4. For payments

If your business is looking to accept online payments, you'll need an SSL certificate to pass the standards of PCI (Payment Card Industry). It's a basic requirement for your website to implement an SSL if you're looking to perform any kind of transaction.

How to Set Up HTTPS on WordPress

Now that we have a basic understanding of SSL and why it's important for modern websites, we can jump into the how: that is, how to set up HTTPS on WordPress. We've broken it down into 6 easy steps.

1. Obtain an SSL certificate

First, you'll need to obtain an SSL certificate. You can get a free SSL certificate through a certificate authority (CA) like LetsEncrypt, or ask your server host if they provide them. There are 3 categories of certificates, each with its own level of validation.

Domain Validation (DV)
This is the lowest level of SSL certification. It's quite easy to be validated at this level. So while it does provide certification, it's not as secure since anyone can acquire it.

Organization Validation (OV)
This level verifies an applicant's organization to ensure that it's authentic and trustworthy. The CA will go through a long process for this level of validation versus a DV.

Extended Validation (EV)
EVs provide the highest security and trust level out of all the categories. The CA will go through a full, comprehensive validation process to establish the legitimacy of the applicant and organization.

2. Create a backup for your website

Whenever you make big changes to your website, it's a good idea to create a backup first. This ensures that if anything goes wrong, you have something to turn to.

3. Install SSL certificate

Implementing SSL on your website might be a bit technical for some since it involves maneuvering through your WordPress theme and code. Thankfully, there's a handy plugin that does all the hard work for us!

To enable the SSL certificate seamlessly, install and activate the Really Simple SSL plugin on WordPress. This plugin will change all your URLs from "http" to "https" and creates redirects for your site from HTTP to HTTPs addresses. That was easy!

4. Verify HTTPs

Visit your website and make sure that the little padlock indicating a secure website shows up in the URL bar, and that your website address begins with "https".

5. Update Google Search Console

Next, you'll need to submit your newly secured website to Google Search Console. It's important to let search engines know that your website is secure to improve your SEO and rankings. Simply visit your Google Search Console account, add a new property, and add your site's https address.


SSLs have become a necessity for modern websites. There are many incredible benefits that certification offers, and with our simple steps, you won't have to wonder about how to set up HTTPs on WordPress. Upgrading from HTTP to HTTPs provides an extra sense of security not just for your customers but yourself, too.
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