I recently upgraded to a VPS Server with InMotion Hosting and secured every website I host with a basic SSL certificate. An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate establishes a secure, encrypted link between a web server and the browser. If you look at the top of your address bar on my website you will see a green lock symbol, indicating the presence of an SSL certificate. Previously SSL was only recommended for clients who had eCommerce websites, or any website that collects personal information, such as logins. If you're entering information on a website without an SSL certificate everything you enter can be intercepted by unscrupulous hackers and potentially used for nefarious purposes.
Why do I need an SSL Certificate?
As previously mentioned encrypting your data is a great reason to have an SSL certificate. However, the primary driving factor for me was that Google takes into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in their search ranking algorithms. Many times I can get a website to rank in the top 5 search results, but after that, the little things make a big difference. An SSL certificate can give your website a few extra points to hop over your competition. I always pride myself on creating visually appealing, responsive websites that rank well. After all, the best-looking website in the World means nothing if it can't be found.
What does an SSL Certificate Cost?
For clients who use my website hosting, it costs them NOTHING for a BASIC SSL Certificate. This basic SSL certificate will give you the green lock symbol and satisfy Google's SSL recommendation. However, if you have an eCommerce website this SSL Certificate is not sufficient. Yes, it will encrypt your data but there are higher levels of paid SSL certificates. A paid SSL certificate also gives you a warranty. For example, a Comodo EssentialSSL Certificate ($29/year) gives you a $10,000 warranty. A Comodo EV SSL ($88.88/year) gives a $1,750,000 warranty. A dedicated SSL certificate also requires a dedicated IP Address ($24/year).
Why Doesn't Every Website use SSL?
Cost. Before moving to my new VPS server with InMotion I did not have the option to issue a self-assigned SSL certificate. Even if I did it would require a dedicated IP address, which costs an additional $24/year. One enormous benefit of my VPS server is that I can issue SSL certificates on one shared IP address. It costs me nothing, so it costs my clients nothing.
The Brian Houdek Web Design Advantage
As a freelance website and graphic designer, I'm always striving to differentiate myself from my competition. If I discover a way to give my clients an advantage I'm going to implement those changes for every customer. The server I used before moving to this VPS server was good. It was fast and stable. This VPS server is faster and more stable. I also backup all of my websites every two weeks to the Amazon S3 Cloud just in case something goes wrong. I charge nothing for that. I use WP Rocket, a caching plugin, that speeds up my Wordpress websites. This would cost $39 per website if you bought it on your own. I charge nothing. I use professional stock images, which I pay for but don't charge anything extra. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is something I implement into EVERY website from the beginning. I monitor my websites search engine rankings and adjust to improve them. Most companies charge monthly for SEO services. To me, these are things my clients need for their website to stand out from the crowd. If you know someone who needs a professional website or graphic designer they can trust I'd love to show them the Brian Houdek Web Design advantage.