Google Chrome recently changed their browser so that every website that didn’t have an SSL certificate was marked as insecure.  And Google search has long been ranking sites without https/ssl below secure sites.

So if you want to increase your traffic and revenue from your money making sites, it’s really important that you have an SSL certificate installed.  Even if you just run a blog – you still need one.  But don’t worry you don’t need to pay any money to Godaddy or Namecheap for SSL anymore.  Read on to find out the best two options for free certificates.

What is an SSL certificate

An SSL certificate encrypts the traffic between your website and the users browser.  This means if a user enters a password or credit card information in your site, it can’t be stolen by  a “man in the middle” attack.  Did you know that if you’re using an open wifi network, then other people on that network can snoop on your traffic and steal sensitive information?  To prevent this, websites can use SSL.   This will encrypt the traffic making it virtually impossible for attackers to steal information.    This is why you can logon onto facebook, twitter etc on an public wifi network without having to worry about your information getting stolen.  This is because these sites use https/SSL.

Google Penalties for non-secure sites

Google wants the entire web to be encrypted.  There is no downside to websites using https, but there is a lot of upside.  So Google implemented a couple of changes to try and get all websites to be encrypted.  Firstly, for the past few years, Google has been using SSL as a ranking factor.  Secure sites, by default will be ranked a little bit higher.  Secondly Google changed chrome to display “not secure” on sites that don’t have a certificate installed.  So it’s in every websites best interest to make sure they have turned on SSL.  Here’s how…

How to install a free SSL certificate

A few years ago there was no easy way for non-technical people to install an SSL for free.  You had to pay people like Godaddy a yearly fee.  This was a bit silly.  Thankfully you no longer need to do this.  Here are two really easy and free ways to get an SSL certificate for free.

Cloudflare 

Cloudflare gives every site on their platform a free SSL certificate.  Cloudflare is the easiest way to get an SSL.  You simply you point your DNS servers to cloudflare, turn on SSL and it’ll do the rest.  I use Cloudflare on this blog.

Cloudflare is a tool to help secure and speed up your website.  They host your DNS, they cache your website files, provide a free CDN, optimize your site code and more.  And the best bit is you don’t need to change anything on your website.   Cloudflare is super popular and I recommend pretty much every website should use it.  Best of all it’s free!  Businesses can pay for additional features but for bloggers and affiliate marketers, the free version is fine.

Let’s Encrypt

Let’s encrypt is a free service with the aim of making the entire web secure.  They make it easy to get an SSL certificate.  Setting up Let’s Encrypt can be a bit more complicated than setting up Cloudflare.  However many hosts now automate the process.

My favorite host for bloggers, Siteground, has a tool in cPanel that lets you automatically generate Let’s Encrypt certificates for your sites.    They automatically generate certificates for most domains that use their shared hosting.

If your host isn’t as good as Siteground and automates the process, I would either a) move to a better host or b) google a guide on how to install Let’s Encrypt.