The short answer to this question is no, most websites don’t require an SSL certificate. However in this day and age there is a stronger reason to have one than not.
SSL connection, displayed on your browser as HTTPS:// is a connection between the website you are looking at and your computer that is secure (encrypted). Why is that important? Well if you are in a shop you wouldn’t shout your credit card details at the cashier would you? It’s the same on the internet. There is no guarantee that the networks you cross to visit the website that no one is eves dropping on you and what you are doing. And in the modern age, personal data is just as important as financial data. So in my opinion every website should be encrypted to protect the person visiting it and potentially leaving data on it.
SSL certificates make your website more trustworthy. For websites that take payments, this trust is absolutely essential, but even non-ecommerce websites can benefit from having a little extra trust.
Web browsers display a symbol to show when a website has an SSL certificate. For example, Firefox displays a green bar and Google Chrome shows a green tick. Although many customers may not know that the symbol means you have an SSL certificate, they are likely to recognise it from other trustworthy websites.
Google have put more weight on websites that run secure. This was not a major algorithm update contained within say the Panda update but it runs an a per URL basis. Which means that its beneficial for all websites to have SSL
An SSL certificate is essential for any company that takes sensitive information such as its customers’ credit card details. Whether non-ecommerce websites decide to add an SSL certificate to increase trust is one thing, for ecommerce websites it’s not just a matter of trust but security.
This may not apply to all websites that sell goods online. Some eCommerce websites use an external payment processor such as PayPal to manage payments and so no sensitive credit card information is sent between the user and their website. If this is how your business works you may not need an SSL certificate. However, as mentioned before, there are other benefits to having an SSL certificate – an increase in trust and a potential increase in conversions, with the fact that the internet is not secure for example.
These days, more and more cyber-criminals try to spoof company emails. Banks are the most common type of company that’s targeted. Cyber-criminals create fake websites that are identical to the bank’s real website and send out emails (with email addresses that are very similar to the bank’s) asking customers to login for security purposes.
What’s the main difference between the genuine bank website and the fake one? You guessed it! An SSL certificate. The fake bank website won’t have the green bar or tick that shows it’s legitimate.
If your customers use your website and know to expect a green bar or tick icon then if you do get hacked they’ll know that the other website isn’t legitimate.
This should be reason enough for most websites to install an SSL. But to really seal the deal so to speak is that in most cases of hosting SSL can be obtained freely! By a not for profit organisation call Lets Encrypt.
We give SSL certificates to all of or Linux hosting packages, which includes WordPress hosting. So there is nothing really stopping you getting up the search engines and protecting your customers