Five Good reasons to Secure Your Site

1. The SSL  (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate shows that your site is using strong encryption to keep its users and their information safe. Obviously if you are collecting sensitive data like credit cards, this is vital. But it is also vital if you are collecting email addresses  for any reason at all--newsletters, freebies, building a list. Under EU law, you are bound to keep your site and its data secure. It could be argued that even  a reader making comments is revealing some sensitive information, perhaps a photograph or a linked website.

2. The certificate is also important to authenticate you as the responsible owner of the site. With scams pouring across the Internet, and cloned websites becoming almost commonplace, readers need the security of knowing that they are landing on a reputable site. You may feel  it's going overboard to protect a personal site to such an extent but if you value your following, think about acting soon.

3. Information sent across the Internet can pass from computer to computer before reaching the server. Without strong encryption, any one of these could steal user names, passwords, all the information they need to start targeting you and your list with phishing attacks and sending you to insecure sites riddled with malware.

4. With the rise in publicity for the SSL certificate fostered by Google demands, more and more sites are offering certificates at greatly reduced rates. It will no longer cost you a fortune annually to secure your site. You may even be eligible for a shared certificate which will cost you nothing. But beware--check the credentials of your chosen provider carefully. Some certificates have already been rejected by Google as not providing the advanced layer of trust needed for users.

5. Do you really want a Google warning notice pointing out that your site could be untrustworthy or put its readers at risk? We all work hard to make our blogs the best they can be, to help and inspire the readers that drop by.

Having said all that, I have not yet got round to providing a certificate for any of my sites. Probably for the one domain I have shared with my Internet Service provider, I shall go for the free certificate. So if you have a site that ends with the name of your web host, check to see if there is a free certificate available.

However, if it is your own domain name, choose carefully. You can go with several websites which allow you to set up the certificates for yourself, pointing your website to their servers--Cloudflare, Let's Encrypt are two most often mentioned.

But if you're not very tech-minded, pay a little extra and get your host to set everything up for you.  It has to be worth it for peace of mind.

Image of padlock courtesy of Stuart Miles

Anne Duguid
Anne Duguid Knol

A local and national journalist in the U.K., Anne Knol is now a fiction editor for award-winning American and Canadian publishers. As a new author, she shares writing tips and insights at Author Support : .

Her Halloween novella, ShriekWeek is published by The Wild Rose Press as e-book and in print  included in the Hauntings in the Garden anthology. (Volume Two)

Her column on writing a cozy mystery appears  in The Working Writer's Club .


Karen Cioffi said...

Anne, great information on website security. I was all set to get the SSL security, but found out that if you have multiple sites on one hosting account it's tricky. I have to contact my hosting site to see what I can do.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Karen, I'd love to know the answer to that, too. My attempts don't seem to have been very successful either. :-( I do think the annual fee charged by some ISPs is prohibitive especially for those of us with a few non-earning information sites.

Karen Cioffi said...

Anne, I'm not sure what the problem is that it's not simple to have all the sites on one hosting account secure.
I'm actually moving my 'new' primary site to it's own hosting account for security. I'll at least have the SSL on that site.

All my sites went down last week. I was told it was because scripts were running in the background and caused kind of a bottleneck. Fortunately the tech fixed it within 15 minutes. It was scary. I get all my clients via search results that link to that site.
The problem though is the site will need to be down for 6-7 hours to transfer the site to the new account. Oh, well, gotta do what ya gotta do.

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