What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates are small files that digitally connect a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When an SSL Certificate is installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.

How do I know if my website is using an SSL Certificate?

You know if a site has an SSL certificate because you will see a padlock to the left of its name in the browser. If you click on the padlock you will see this. The website URL will also use https:// rather than http:// in the URL.

Secure site using an SSL certificate
When a website does not have a certificate it will look like this. If you click on the Not Secure word and this is what you will see (I have removed the URL for privacy reasons. It doesn’t matter whose site this is.)

I noticed this with my own site a couple of years ago when I was working on my computer at our local YMCA. My kids were swimming and I was working on my computer and my own website would not launch because the YMCA’s network would not allow the display of websites that were not using an SSL certificate.

“Google is going to start penalizing websites that don’t have an SSL certificate. Google Punishes Insecure Sites, Makes SSL A Standard. An unsecured website can mean huge problems for both its owners and its users. And to improve the situation, starting July 1st, 2018, Google Chrome took serious measures to show its users, which websites have no data encryption.”
Jul 24, 2019

Where does one get an SSL certificate?

Some web hosting companies offer a free service called LetsEncrypt. This is a good system if your site does not have high traffic or ecommerce because the certificates are valid for 90 days only and get refreshed at the end of each term. There have been instances when the certificate is not refreshed and can cause a momentary glitch as Google sees it as not having an SSL certificate.

You can also purchase a Premium SSL certificate from your hosting company or an SSL service for a small fee. These certificates last at least one year. Sometimes your hosting company will include a certificate when you are signing up.

I highly recommend that you speak with someone at your hosting company or an SSL store about all your sites and your needs, before purchasing an SSL certificate. It is complicated as there are many paid options and as they say ‘the devil is in the details.’


Andrea Cinnamond is a creative online visibility strategist and implementation specialist (she makes things happen). She is a trained business coach, technical virtual assistant and a certified online business manager. She is an ex-high tech scientist and she loves to combine the logical steps of a process with her creative nature.


Her #1 value is beauty and she loves nothing more than creating beautiful projects for her clients such as websites that work, quizzes, email list building projects, training and coaching programs, and many other cool online offerings.

Get her free report ‘Can You See Me Now’, a guide for increasing your visibility online.

Click here to get your copy now.