Over time, the internet has morphed into this cryptic maze of interconnections linking users, clients and service providers. Each of these netizens need a different kind of service or information. At its center, the internet is comprised of users driven by varying motives.
In simpler terms, we have seekers, blind surfers and malicious users. Seekers are genuinely in search of particular services or info. Secondly, blind surfers just use the internet to kill boredom. And thirdly, we have a faction of the web made up of malicious users. As far the security of your site goes, you should watch out for the third group.
Unlike other users, malicious users are out to find and exploit a weak layer or script on your website. While a majority of people don’t ever think they can lose their precious websites to malicious people, it happens left, right and center every day. Commonly, we call the bad guys hackers. And when a hacker finds a vulnerability, they exploit it to their advantage.
As the internet has been growing, so has the number of attacks. So to speak, hackers have the upper hand because web applications don’t offer many security layers. This makes it hard for common website owners to poke away the attacks.
Ever since its inception more than a decade ago, WordPress has grown astronomically. In fact, it is one of most common web applications out there. As such, WordPress gets a great deal of attacks. The more popular it is, the more attractive it becomes to attackers.
You can use various techniques such as SSL to secure your site including. Adding SSL encrypts the communication between a browser and the server. This basically secures the transfer of data. In other words, it “hides” sensitive info from the prying eyes of hackers.
What is a SSL Certificate?
SSL certificates are miniature data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s particulars. When installed on a web server, it activates the HTTPS protocol and a padlock that locks out unauthorized access to data sent between the browser and web server.
Essentially, SSL certificates uses two keys namely a public key and a private key. The public key is available in the public domain and known by your web server. The private key is held by the user. The public key encrypts data, and the private key decrypts it. Lest we forget, the keys consist of a string of randomly generated numbers.
To add weight to the foregoing statement, the private key is used to create a digital signature. Basically, it generates a certificate signing request. Later on, it uses the certificate to secure and verify connections. Thus, this text file should be well guarded as anyone with access to it can use it for foul purposes.
At the end of the day, if a hacker intercepts any message sent over HTTPS, all they get is a code they cannot break.
SSL Certificate and WordPress
A hacked WordPress website weighs down on your website killing revenue and reputation. In other words, hacking crashes you. Hackers steal sensitive user information and install malicious software. If you won’t lose user info, you might find yourself paying ransomware to regain control of your site. After which you will have a cloud of doom perched above your head.
This is the reason why WordPress security is of utmost importance.
As you probably already know, WordPress is an open source software that comes with thousands of plugins and themes. The themes, plugins and WordPress itself release updates. You need to install these updates not only for more features but also to enjoy better security and stability.
However, that is not enough. Investing in SSL encryption ensures your WordPress website is secure from a majority of security threats. As a matter of fact, Google ranks SSL-ready (HTTPS) site better than non-SSL (HTTP) sites.
In March 2016, Google reported more than 50 million users were warned of a malicious website. Additionally, the number of websites blacklisted by Google each week for malware and phishing is staggering. You can’t afford to wait for the inevitable to happen, especially if you collect sensitive data on your site.
Advantages of Using SSL Certificate on Your WordPress Website:
- Use of SSL certificate shows that you care about the privacy and integrity of your users. This inspires confidence and trust in you and your online business.
- The encryption of information ensures that all data traffic is secure. This means it cannot be intercepted or read by third parties.
- Search engine optimization. The presence of SSL certificate improves the positioning of your website on Google. Google will not penalize you for not having a SSL certificate. However, if your competition has SSL, they will show up higher in search results.
- Finally, use of SSL certificate prevents people from attaching their black market transactions to your connection.
Even if you are running a site that doesn’t require one to log in or that doesn’t sell anything online, you still need SSL. Why? Because identity thieves do exist. Or even worse, a determined hacker out to usurp you like the world depends on it. HTTPS assures your users they are connecting to the real site and not a fake.
Types of SSL
Depending on your WordPress website requirement, there are three types of SSL to choose from.
- Extended Validation (EV SSL). When you buy this certificate, you have to go through a severe validation process. This is aimed at proving your identity, ownership rights to the domain name and existence of your business. The process might take up to 2 weeks. The good news is that this certificate comes with a warranty. So in the event of fraudulent activities, affected users are compensated.
- Organization Validation (OV SSL). Similarly, you will still go through a validation process. However, this type takes only a few days.
- Domain Validate (DV SSL). You can get a free SSL from lets encrypt. It is free because there is not process of trying to prove who you are.
That’s it for today. We hope this article was helpful to your security endeavors and will help you make the right choice as far as securing your WordPress website with SSL goes.
After you are done securing the WordPress site with SSL remember to:
- Change your URL in WordPress Settings.
- Install this redirect plugin to redirect all old links.
- Update Google Analytics Settings to change HTTP to HTTPS
- Upload a new sitemap.
What’s your take on this SSL business? Any thoughts on this post? Let us know in the comments. All the best securing your WordPress site!