Do I need an SSL certificate for my website?


An SSL certificate has two specific advantages.

  • SSL allows you to accept/encrypt credit card payments on your own page (there are other requirements as well)
  • You can secure any sensitive data that you collect and transmit through online forms
  • Browser such as Google’s Chrome will not display a “Not Secure” alert at the top of the screen instead of a green padlock
  • Google has hinted that it may rank your site higher as part of its endeavor to encourage safe data transmission


The disadvantages are a slower loading speed and whatever it will cost you to implement SSL.  You don’t NEED an SSL certificate to process payments if you are using another service such as Paypal or Shopify because those providers handle the transaction on their own website.
If the benefits are worth it to you, here are a few things you should know.  If you think you’ll need it in the future, it IS easier to launch your website this way from the beginning because it changes the URL you will use for getting any external links to your site.



  • You can purchase your own SSL certificate for about $50/year but it may require an expensive DEDICATED hosting account to make use of it.
  • Certain hosting providers, such as BlueHost, offer a FREE SSL certificate for single Wordpress sites.
  • There are other ways to get a FREE SSL certificate if you shop around.



  • SSL certificates must be renewed EVERY THREE MONTHS and there is a process that must be followed to verify that you still own the website. (This is what makes your site “secure”.)  If you fail to renew it in time, your website will be DOWN unless your developer builds a temporary workaround (which can take hours).
  • You might not receive an automatic renewal notification, so you must be disciplined and mark your calendar.
  • The verification step will often send a verification email to a specific email format so make sure that you have an email address that begins with or or else the process will get hung up.
  • After verification, you or your developer must go into the hosting account, enter a verification ID and then go back later to make sure the certificate installed properly.


If you want to change your existing website to HTTPS it’s a hassle; that’s no lie.

  • Update all the website internal links. That’s actually not too painful.
  • Update all your EXTERNAL links. This one can be difficult and some are impossible because you have no control over them.  You’ll need to log into any online listings you control and change your URL. Your developer will need to set a redirect for you that will send  http visitors to https so your remaining links out there won’t be broken.
  • Your developer will also need to get Google to re-index your site in particular way so that hopefully you will get back the “link juice” that you’ve worked so hard for.