A secure domain hinges on one litte letter – s.  You probably don’t even notice it as you’re browsing the web, but up in your search bar in your internet browser, right next to the URL of the page you’re on, you will see a little lock icon.

If you are on a secure website, the lock is locked, and the URL of the website will start with https

If the website is unsecure, the lock is open, or some browsers show a red warning triangle with an exclamation point in it.

Some internet browsers might not let you navigate at all to sites that aren’t secure.

What does this a secure domain mean?

A secure domain is one that has an SSL Security Certificate installed on it.  What this security certificate does is adds a bit of code on the web server that hosts that website and provides security for online communications. When you navigate to a secured website, the SSL certificate enables an encrypted connection. As thawte.com explains, “It’s kind of like sealing a letter in an envelope before sending it through the mail.”  Communication done on a secure website is just that – more secure.  Which is a good thing in a day and age where hackers are everywhere trying to garner pieces of your personal information.

Is my domain secure?  Does it need to be?

Check out your website and see if you have the closed lock by the URL up in your search bar.  If you do, you’re good!

If you don’t, you might be wondering if you even need it…especially if a lot of information isn’t being exchanged on your website. The answer is a huge YES – you do.

Google is trying to do their part to keep information safer online, and part of how they do that is they don’t rank unsecured websites as high in their search results.

Did you catch that??

If you don’t have a secure domain for your website, you will not show up as well as you could in Google results.

No matter how long your website has been around, how many times you update it or add in the perfect keywords, if you don’t have a secure domain, you won’t show up like you should.

Plus, wherever your website does show up in the rankings, if someone does click on you, Google will first issue a warning message to the website visitor that they are entering an unsecure site.  This warning message is usually enough for people to second guess going to your website and they will look elsewhere.

How do I get a secure domain?

If you find out your website is not secure and you want to secure it, your first step would be to contact your website hosting provider and check to see how much it would be to add a SSL certificate to your site.  The price varies from free to $100+/year.  Some website hosts provide an SSL certificate for free, it might just need to be installed, however most will have an annual charge.  It’s worth calling to check.

If there is a charge, this might be a good time to look into better website hosting.  I’m a HUGE fan of Flywheel for website hosting (WordPress only), for lots of reasons – but for this article, I’ll just say it’s because an SSL certificate is included.  Woot!

Also, all the websites I host for my clients are on Flywheel, so all my clients get an SSL certificate for their site as part of website hosting their website with me.

I hope this took a little bit of mystery out of secure domains for you.  What questions do you have?  Although not a super exciting topic, if you don’t know your domain security status, it could have a tremendous negative effect on your website.