The Top 8 Myths About SSL and HTTPS
Understand the top 8 most commonly associated myths with SSL certificates
All of us here are proud citizens of the Internet-driven world who constantly rely on URL padlocks and digital certificates when it comes to keeping our online universe safe. As we all know, SSL certificates have become the most popular means to secure websites and blogs.
Although, there are many Internet-users among us who are completely blindfolded by the myths that have been popularly associated with an SSL certificate or an HTTPS website. Such myths tend to make users more cynical about an SSL certificate’s potential to make the Internet a safer medium. Eventually, this leads them to miss many opportunities to profit from the Internet and may even end up compromising the security of their own web resources. Therefore, it is very important to clear the air about the common myths of SSL certificates and an HTTPS website.
Myth #1 – HTTPS slows down a website
The ‘speed’ factor is held with a very high importance by all web administrators. And as far as HTTPS websites are concerned, it’s a well-known fact that HTTPS is slightly overhead as compared to HTTP, because it has to encrypt data before sending it further.
However, if the HTTPS is set up correctly, some users, on the contrary, have found a subtle increase in the speed, especially for those who visit the site with their modern browsers. Simply put: HTTPS has no noticeable impact on the speed of a website.
Myth #2 – Only the Login Page Needs to be Secured
This is the most common of all the myths listed here. On the Internet, it is just not enough to secure your login credentials that you enter on the login page of a website. You also need to worry about all your sensitive information stored at different locations on the website. Experts have pointed out the fact, that by not securing your web pages other than the login page, you actually tend to increase the risks of getting your web sessions hijacked by the hackers, especially when using the public networks like the WiFi network available at coffee shops, airports, etc.
Myth #3 – SSL Certificate is a Costly Affair
Securing a website with an SSL certificate is no longer a privilege service available only after paying a huge sum of money. Looking close at the present-day SSL market, a buyer can find a variety of digital certificates that come with budget-friendly price tags to make SSL encryption an inexpensive affair. In fact, some smart SSL shopping on the Internet can help you find some really affordable SSL certificates. However, you must be careful about mobile compatibility and limited additional features offered by the cheap SSL certificates.
Myth #4 – Every HTTPS Site Needs to Have Its Own IP Address
This absolutely does not apply when you are dealing with a Wildcard SSL certificate, which enables you to include an unlimited number of sub-domains with just a single IP address.
There are several types of SSL certificates available in the market having different features to suit your requirements and budget. Normally, a single SSL certificate will secure only one fixed URL and to secure even a sub-domain, another certificate is needed. And it tends to get more complicated if there are multiple sub-domains that need to be encrypted. A wildcard SSL certificate is a perfect solution to this situation. It is capable of securing all the traffic of the primary domain and all the sub-domains as well.
Myth #5 – HTTPS Sites Involve No Caching
Many people claim that the browser can never cache the content on HTTPS websites. However, by using response headers, you can prompt web browsers to cache an HTTPS website. These headers differ for each browser.
Myth #6 – SSL will not have any effect on SEO
Google announced its decision to make ‘HTTPS’ a ranking signal. This is an attempt by the search engine giant to encourage webmasters to switch to HTTPS from HTTP and help towards making the Internet a more secure medium. Currently, this is a very lightweight ranking signal, but the move does signify a greater shift by Google to encourage encryption across all sites. However, don’t expect your website to shoot up the ranking just by installing an SSL certificate.
Myth # 7 – It Is Difficult to Manage or Migrate an SSL Certificate
The SSL installation procedure may seem a bit confusing initially, but web-hosting control panels with GUI interface easily allow the generation and import of new public and private keys. Any change in your web hosting server or the dedicated IP address invalidates the SSL certificate. But in such cases, you can always request to re-issue the certificate with your SSL provider. The majority of certificate providers almost instantly issue a new certificate after the request is generated, which can be installed onto your new server.
Myth # 8 – Having an SSL Certificate is a Foolproof Plan to Prevent Hackers
Many users consider an SSL certificate the ultimate web security solution and an attack on such HTTPS websites is a highly unacceptable scenario for them to put up with. What they don’t consider is that an SSL certificate cannot prevent attackers from exploiting other aspects, such as a vulnerable code or software on the website.
Users need to understand that these digital certificates are just like a secure pipe or a tunnel, through which data shall flow securely. Its function is to prevent any middle-man from intercepting the data in transit. SSL doesn’t keep a check on the ends of that pipe/ tunnel. Also, it does not protect the browser at the client end or the database at the server end. So if your password is not encrypted properly in your MySQL database and somehow your database is compromised, then an SSL certificate is of no use for protecting that database information.