Being Freed
Being Freed
Being Freed

Safety first!  Let’s start with SSL…

SSL is a layer of security between your web host and browsers. It makes sure your site doesn’t get hacked on its way to your users.
SSL - Secure Sockets Layer

Acronyms

Because we love to shorten everything:  SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and TSL stands for Transport Layer Security.

What is SSL?

SSL is a type of TSL; it’s a layer of security between your web host and browsers.  It encrypts your data to assure that your viewers get the content you have created without any malware tacked on en route.

You can tell if a website has a secure sockets layer by looking next to its URL at the top of your browser. If there’s a little padlock next to the URL, it’s there.

This graphic shows screenshots of the URL fields in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Each one has a little padlock next to the URL which indicates that the website is protected by an SSL certificate.
Here you can see the padlocks in the search bars for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari

All trustworthy websites employ it

A secure sockets layer is necessary to ensure your site data doesn’t get hacke­­d on the way to your user’s device.

Have you ever clicked on a search result just to get a warning screen that the site might be hazardous?  Even when you know the site should be fine?  It may even say SSL is not enabled for this domain, or SSL is not enabled on the server, or something similar. 

Chances are that the SSL is out of date.  That means that even though the site content may be perfectly safe, it lacks that layer of security that keeps it harmless in transit.  Along the way it could pick up malware that could infect your device.  It may still be safe, but it lacks that encryption so you’re taking a chance. 

Happily, if your SSL becomes outdated for some reason, it’s easy to reestablish it.  Simply log into the entity you’ve used in the past and reenable it. 

How SSL Encryption works

When secure sockets layer is enacted between a host and a device, the action is called a handshake.  Heh – don’t you love developer terminology?

A handshake uses a combination of keys, names, and signatures to ensure data transit security.  The encryption works all the way along the data’s path through the web.  Firefox has an excellent graphic that shows how the components work together.  Click the graphic below to see their post

This is Mozilla Firefox's graphic depicting the Chain of Trust it uses for SSL encryption.
Mozilla’s excellent Chain of Trust graphic – click on it to see their post

Where/how do you establish it?

SSL certificates are provided by Certificate Authorities.  These are trusted parties that use standardized protocols to verify their credentials.  You may get your certificate from your hosting company or a third party provider.  Do a quick search and you’ll see how many offers are out there.

These certificates are not free if you buy them separately, but if you’re hosting with a reputable company chances are you will get the certificate as part of your bundle.

I add secure sockets layers to my websites via SiteGround hosting.  Their SSL Manager is easy to use and works seamlessly with WordPress.  As of publishing this post, I haven’t tried Elementor’s hosting yet but they offer a similar service as part of their package. 

Conclusion: SSL encrypt your website!

Adding a secure sockets layer to your site is crucial for website safety.  Oh – and one more thing!  Search engines don’t like sites that don’t have it, and your SEO will suffer if you don’t enable it.  So, it’s a no-brainer.

Vocabulary

Handshake – a term used with SSLs and TSLs describing the action of securing data as it moves through the internet.  You would say, “SSL handshake”, or “TSL handshake” to indicate that the host and device have communicated the data securely.

Malware – malicious software that hackers use to enact their ass-hattery

SSL – Secure Sockets Layer – a layer of security between your web host and browsers

TSL – Transport Layer Security – protection measures which heighten security for information being passed from one location to another through the web

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