Google has been working hard to make the web more secure, and one of the key components of this is to require sites to use HTTPS or SSL. SSL, or Secure Socket Layers, is a web protocol that encrypts communication between the web server (where your site is hosted) and the client's computer or phone. This encryption makes it much more difficult for someone to capture any data that's transmitted over the web.
There are a few reasons why your site must have SSL:
- In July 2018, Google started showing sites without SSL as “non-secure,” and is giving preference to sites with security enabled. If your site isn't secure, it's going to hurt your search ranking.
- Clients want to feel safe when visiting your site. If they're visiting your website and they see “Not Secure,” that's going to make them uncomfortable.
- If you fall under the requirements of HIPAA, any client communications must be done via SSL. Of course, there are many more requirements beyond that for HIPAA compliance, but that's one of the basics.
All of our Waxwing Sites include SSL registration and renewal automatically, at no extra charge.
If you're choosing a web host (or building your own site), make sure it includes SSL. In addition, make sure your host isn't gouging you for the cost of an SSL certificate. While we include them for free, some companies will try to charge you as much as $100 a year.