In the summer of 2018, Google announced that any website without an SSL Certificate will display a warning to website visitors, telling them the site might be stealing their information and the website is not secure. I have seen this message many times and it has always been enough for me to click away from it. Though this affected only the Google Chrome browser, other browsers have followed suit. The idea is to keep the website visitor secure but it could be costing you sales.


Just what exactly is an SSL Certificate? SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and the SSL Certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of the website. Once it’s been authenticated, it acts to encrypt the data moving back and forth from the website server to the website visitor’s device. It was originally recommended for anyone wishing to secure information, such as purchases made and credit card numbers. You know if a website has one because the http:// turns to https:// Amazon is a good place to see this in action.


Beginning in the summer of 2018, however, Google took the SSL Certificate requirement even further, requiring all websites to have one to avoid the dreaded screen warning visitors away. Some web hosts provided this at no charge; if you go to your website and see https:// appear automatically, then your web host has taken care of this issue. Other hosts sent out emails suggesting that you purchase an SSL Certificate; the price depends on your web host. It is generally renewed annually. Still other hosts did absolutely nothing, so if you haven’t been to your website lately, you should visit it in several different browsers and from different devices—a desktop, laptop or mobile device.

Warning Sign

If your website is displaying a message warning people away, contact your web host provider and ask them to install an SSL Certificate on your site. They will generally take care of everything for you, so there is nothing you need to do—no programming code or reworking of your website.