What is it?  Let’s start with this – SSL is short for Secure Socket Layer and it is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server (website) and a browser (such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer). This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and encrypted. This is a vital component for online businesses that need to ensure protection and privacy.

How do you know if a website has SSL? This is really quite simple. Simply look at the address bar of the website and see if the domain name begins with https rather than http. The “s” at the end of http stands for secure and it means that the site is protect by SSL. For more information on the certificate you can click on the padlock to the left of that and it will give you information about that site’s SSL certificate.

Do I need it? This is, in our opinion, a question that every business or organization with a website should contemplate. This is not at all to say that they all need SSL, but they should at least go through the check. You need to ask yourself what you want your website to be used for, this answer should also tell you if you need SSL.

Do I (or will I) accept payment online? If you answer to this is yes then you need SSL and you need it for a couple of reasons.

  1. First, you have a responsibility as an online merchant to keep you customer’s data safe. You do not want to be the reason that someone’s personal or financial information gets compromised. Having this happen can kill your online reputation.
  2. Second, internet savvy customers will not purchase from you if you don’t have it. I run from websites that tell me they will want my credit card but don’t have SSL, and so do most people.
  3. Third, think credibility. People trust websites with SSL - it shows your users that you are concerned about their safety and privacy.
  4. WHAT IF YOU POINT TO A THIRD PARTY PAYMENT PROCESSOR? If you point to third party process such as PayPal or PayWhirl you likely don’t need SSL - unless you are asking for personal information before pointing to them. Your users or customers are covered by the third party processor’s SSL as you don’t actually touch the credit card information. Though it can still be beneficial to have SSL even then, it is not needed.

Do I have a login form (or other fillable forms that ask for information)? Yes you need SSL.  If your users enter a username and password to login to your site without an SSL certificate, an attacker can easily see their username and password in clear text. This would allow someone else to impersonate your visitor, but it allows for a far more dangerous possibility: Because users often use the same password on many sites (including their bank accounts), an attacker can potentially compromise many other accounts. If you let people store a password with you, you must take responsibility for protecting it, even if the security of your own site isn’t critical. – sslshopper.com  This also holds true if you have a membership portal or area. Anytime you ask your users for personal information online you better protect them.

How much does it cost? This is actually a very broad question. There are many levels and types of SSL and they vary greatly based on your needs and site. Basic SSL is really inexpensive (less than $100 per year) and is really worth the investment.  Many hosts have shared SSL’s available which can save you significantly while still offering the protection you need.


Big Grizzly Online Solutions carries a wide variety of SSL options from the most reputable suppliers. We have options to fit any size budget or organization.

View our SSL options


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