7 Consequences of Not Protecting Your Site with SSL Certificate
If you just bought a domain name and are in the process to set up a new website, what is the first thing that you should do? Nope, it’s not installing a new theme, getting a new logo, or preparing the content that you’re going to put online. Instead, it’s installing an SSL certificate on your server to protect your site. Do you know why? Because it is the most basic and easy security step that you can take to put a solid foundation for your website.
Cybersecurity is a major concern for all companies today, and website security constitutes a major part of it. SSL certificates are considered the foundation stones of solid website security, and there are many reasons behind it. In this article, we’ll try to understand those reasons by looking on the 7 consequences of not protecting your site with an SSL certificate. Let’s get started:
1 – The data of your users remains at risk
If your website is not loading over HTTPS, the data that your visitors send to you remains at the risk of being stolen while it’s in transit. Yes – it’s possible, and the kind of attacks that are done to achieve these are called Man-in-The-Middle (MiTM) attacks.
Basically, what an attacker does is capturing the data packets being sent by your users to you and uncovering the data from them. But if your website loads over HTTPS, the data packets are encrypted before being transmitted by the web browsers of your users. Encrypted data packets are protected with secure keys that you own, which means that someone capturing them in-between can’t extract any information from them.
2 – You come out as unprofessional
Having your website load over HTTPS by installing an SSL certificate is the first sign that shows your seriousness about security of your users. Therefore, it adds a sense of professionalism to your company. On the other hand, if your site loads over HTTP then it gives a major red flag to anyone who is cautious of his privacy and data security. As a result, you can’t build a strong brand if your website loads on HTTP.
3 – Your visitors feel unsecured on your site
You might have seen this one already – if your site loads over HTTPS, Google Chrome shows a ‘Not Secure’ label before its URL in the address bar. That is certainly not how anyone would want his site to be branded. A label marking your site as not secure may make your visitors feel unsafe on the site, and as a result they may prefer your competitors over you. And if you think that Google Chrome alone marking you site as unsafe is no big deal, think again.
Google Chrome accounts for more than 80% of web traffic, which means that almost every 8 out of 10 internet users are using it to browse the web. Moreover, it’s not Google Chrome alone – Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge also show warnings to users if a site loads over HTTP.
4 – Your SEO is affected
If your site loads over HTTP, Google doesn’t only mark your website as ‘Not Secure’ in its Chrome browser but also starts giving you lower priority in Search Results. Your competitors, even though they don’t have better content, products or services than you, may start outranking you in Google Search if their site loads over HTTPS and Google has also confirmed it. So, in that manner an SSL certificate also impacts your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
5 – Your company data also remains at risk
If your company has got an internal portal for employees on the same website, not having your site load over HTTPS is an even greater risk for you. Not only the data of your users is at risk but also the data of your company that is uploaded by your employees to the internal portal may also be stolen by the hackers while it’s getting uploaded to the web server. The only way to protect your company against this threat is to use a good quality Organization Validation SSL certificate i.e. Comodo OV SSL certificate on your web server that not only verifies domain ownership but also business existence.
6 – Your site and users end up running into more cyberattacks
There’s no shortage of attacks that can be done on your site and its visitors if it doesn’t load over HTTPS. We already discussed MiTM attacks in the first point, but there are also many other types of Cyber-attacks that can be done easily. Phishing attacks, DDoS attacks, and many other types of cyberattacks become quite easier to execute in absence of an SSL certificate. As a result, both you and your site visitors may end up running into more cyberattacks than you can handle.
7 – Governments, ISPs and others can spy on you and your visitors
Surveillance of governments and intelligence agencies is no more a secret. We already know that our governments can keep a tab on our internet browsing activity whenever they want to, and to some extent it is also needed if we must live in a safe environment. But what about our Internet Service Providers doing the same? There’s no reason why they should be keeping a tab on our internet browsing. SSL certificates prevent that from happening.
If you want to ensure that your website remains secure from cyberattacks, protecting it with an SSL certificate should be the first thing that you do. Installing SSL certificate before doing anything else also enables padlock on your every single webpage in one go.
Otherwise if you install it later you may have to do some more hard work because images, CSS files and a few other elements that you added to the site earlier may still load through their insecure URLs, thus withholding the green padlock of security from your URL. To save yourself from the extra hassle of fixing this issue it’ll be best if you install SSL certificate in the first step itself after buying the domain.