The short answer is: YES!
The long answer is based on a variety of factors, including SEO and trust. Let’s dive in, shall we.
Firstly, a SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) is an electronic document used to prove the ownership of a public key, usually associated with a domain name.
Currently, the most common use of SSL certificates is for HTTPS-based (secured) websites. Various web browsers validate that an HTTPS web server is authentic, so that a user can feel secure that their interaction with that website has no eavesdroppers and that the website is the one it claims to be. This security is especially important for websites with electronic commerce or forms that ask for a users private information. A website operator can obtain a certificate by applying to a certificate authority (there are several trusted sources) with a certificate signing request. This request is an electronic document that contains the website name, company information and the public key. The certificate provider then signs the request and produces a public certificate. During web browsing, the public certificate is served to any web browser that connects to the website and proves to the web browser that the provider believes it has issued a certificate to the owner of that specific website.
For example, when a user connects to https://www.website.com/ with their browser of choice and the browser does not give any certificate warning message, then the user can theoretically be sure that interacting with the website is secure. Unfortunately, the relationship between the purchaser of the certificate, the operator of the website, and the generator of the website content can not be guaranteed. At best, the certificate guarantees some level of uniqueness of the website and security of information, provided that the web site itself has not been compromised (hacked) or the certificate issuing process subverted.
As for SEO, in 2014 Google announced that they would use SSL as a ranking signal. That means that if your site is not secured by SSL, a competitors site that is may rank higher than yours. Any questions?
But what does all this really mean. For me, it’s a matter of trust. If I’m on a website, especially an e-commerce site or one that has a form, I will not proceed if the site is not SSL protected. No matter what shiny object I’m looking at, the risk is too great when it comes to identity theft, to put your information into an unprotected website.
It’s safe to say that most web designers/developers (myself included) believe that all sites should have an SSL certificate. Many website hosting providers have free, easy to install SLL certificates, some still make you buy a certificate. Just so you know, all of the sites I host for my clients with Peace Of Mindsm hosting include a free certificate. Whichever the case, don’t wait any longer, get yours today!