SSL is used to encrypt traffic sent between a web server and your internet browser. Essentially its primary use is to prevent your sensitive information such as your name, home address, credit card information or more sensitive information from being shared with outsiders.
By not having an SSL Certificate on your website or any website you browse, inputting your sensitive information in these unsecure websites leaves your information open to the public and could cause security breaches such as identity theft.
How do you know when a website is secure? Websites have two protocols at the beginning
- HTTP – the default unsecure protocol version of browsing webpages and,
- HTTPS – the secure protocol version of HTTP, which tells the web server to communicate using the SSL certificate installed.
How Do You Know A Website Is Secure?
The easiest way to know a website is secure is to look at the address bar where the domain name is. You’ll see one of two things:
- A closed padlock, which when selected the padlock will say “Connection is secure” or
- A warning that says “not secure” and when selected the warning sign says “your connection to this site isn’t secure“
Keep in mind that some websites may have an SSL certificate installed but it doesn’t load automatically on the website. You can check this by changing the protocol HTTP attached to the domain name to include the s at the end of the new protocol. So instead of HTTP, it’ll be HTTPS. Once you retype thie address , you’ll see if the website loads or not. Some websites may be configured to redirect you back to HTTP automatically. If it’s successful, you will be directed to the secure version of the website and you’ll either see a padlock or one of the following:
HTTPS crossed out – which means the page has attempted to load securely but does not have an SSL certificate. It may also popup with a warning in some browsers.
Not Secure – this means the website is not secure and will occur when the user starts entering personal information on a page loaded via HTTP, for example on a contact form or checkout.