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Website Security in 2024

Website security has been a critical aspect of internet usage for a long time. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a technology designed to secure an internet connection by encrypting the data transmitted between a website and a browser, or between two servers. This encryption prevents hackers from intercepting or stealing any transferred information, including personal or financial data. For instance, using a banking website without a secure server would be risky; hence, the importance of ensuring all data exchanged is secured.

How to get security certificates

To achieve a secure connection, denoted by ‘https’ in your URL, you must have an SSL certificate. Historically, SSL encryption was primarily used on shopping carts within websites. However, Google now mandates that entire websites be secured from the bottom up. While many hosting platforms require the purchase of an annual SSL certificate—prices ranging from $50 to hundreds of dollars, depending on the level of security desired—there are also cost-effective alternatives for smaller websites.

Some hosting companies offer a free SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt, a service providing complimentary SSL to enhance security without additional costs. It’s advisable to contact your hosting provider to inquire about this option or any other free alternatives they may offer.

Additionally, for enhanced security, the use of HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) is recommended. HSTS ensures that even if your site has been upgraded from ‘http’ to ‘https’, any links within your website that still point to the insecure ‘http’ version will automatically be redirected to the secure ‘https’ version.

This feature prevents users from accessing an insecure URL due to an error or oversight, thereby forcing the use of ‘https’. Often, enabling HSTS is simply a matter of adjusting a setting in your hosting account, or it can be implemented through a snippet of code in your .htaccess file. It’s beneficial to check with your hosting provider on how to enforce HSTS to ensure your website offers the highest level of security to its users.

For more on securing your website and other technical SEO questions, please check out my two-week free trial of my SEO training courses.