Free SSL certificates for everyone: how to get one and implement it correctly

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Online security

The introduction of free SSL certificates to the web is a significant step forward in the security of the internet. Although SSL certificates encrypt a site’s information and therefore make it more secure, until recently most websites wouldn’t even consider implementing SSL certificates on their site. The only sites that were using SSL certificates were applications that needed greater security for their clients, and e-commerce sites.

However, as the web progresses and expands, it also becomes more vulnerable. As a result, it is generally recommended for as many sites as possible to implement SSL, which encrypts their data and makes their site, and therefore their users’ experience, more secure.

Google, who is generally trying to make sure that users’ experience on the web is as useful and secure as possible, is encouraging sites to implement SSL in order to make sure the overall web is secure. In order to make it worth the while of sites to move to SSL, in 2014 Google announced that they would give a ranking boost to encrypted sites.

Even so, many sites did not jump on the SSL bandwagon, due to the costs and complicated nature of implementing the certificate. In addition, implementing SSL often slows down page load speed. But now, the internet has taken a huge step, with a reliable, free SSL available from Let’s Encrypt.

Let's Encrypt free SSL certificates

A few things to note when implementing SSL on your site:

  1. Your site’s URL will change slightly. Instead of it starting with http:// it will now start with https://
  2. You will need to 301 redirect all your URLs, so that users who visit your old http:// address will be redirected to https://.
  3. You may find that your site runs a bit slower on https. Moz has a post about ways to make your https site faster.
  4. If you have your site set up in Google Search Console (and if you don’t, you should), you’ll need to update your domain type there, from http:// to https://

All Strattic sites will have the option to implement a free SSL certificate on your site. Just be in touch, and we’ll help you out!