As opposed to:
Check your site and see if it's HTTP or HTTPS. Now, you're probably wondering what this means and if this is something you should be concerned about.
Spoiler alert: yes, you should.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for secure sockets layer. Don't worry, you don't need to remember that.
What you should know is that SSL is the standard technology used to encrypt communications between a web browser and a web server. In other words, SSL helps prevent any sensitive information from being intercepted by hackers. If your site requires a password, accepts credit card information, or anything in between, then you should have SSL.
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL certificate is what you need to establish your site's SSL. This certificate contains your domain name, company name, address, country, expiration date (they can expire), and more.
If a web browser detects that a site claims to be secured the browser will retrieve the SSL certificate to make sure it isn't expired and that all the other information checks out. This entire process happens near instantaneously.
For a more thorough breakdown of this process check out this article: What is SSL?
Do I Need SSL if My Site Doesn't Require Credit Card or Other Sensitive Information?
If you have any type of information traveling between your site and your visitors then you should absolute have SSL. Even a moderately skilled hacker can intercept the communications on an unsecured connection.
For everyone else, Google has stated that by July of this year, their browser, Google Chrome, will begin to show warnings on sites that aren't secured with SSL. These warnings can potentially scare people away from a website.
Google Chrome is used by ~50% of all web users so your site will definitely be affected by these warnings if you don't have your own certificate.
How do I get an SSL Certificate?
This is a difficult question to answer as it will depend heavily on which host you're using. Ideally, you have a webmaster on your team who can handle this. If you don't have one then I recommend these guys based out of Santa Barbara who are pretty good, you can contact them here: Contact GSM.
If you'd like to try setting this up yourself then check out this list of some common hosts and their tutorials:
If your host isn't on the list I recommend running a Google search for "how to get SSL certificate through [your host here]" and following some of the tutorials available.
Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have. Just remember to get this done before July, 2018!