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What is SSL and Why do I need it in South Africa?

Look at the left side of your URL bar and you should see a green padlock and “https://”. In the past you would have only seen “https://”. If you are one of many who didn’t notice this seemingly insignificant change, now is a good time for you to realise its importance. This additional letter means a lot when it comes to the safety of you and your customer’s information online.

The “s” refers to whether or not a site has something called an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This will be explained in more detail later, but the crux of the matter is: without this, your website and users information is at risk.

What is SSL and How Does SSL Work

SSL has become a standard for securing online information passed over the internet. SSL ensures that a secure or encrypted link is set up between the server (where the data originates from) and the user. Think of it this way, a website without SSL will send your data (including sensitive information) as is. If sent unencrypted, it is open to being intercepted and read at any point by a potentially malicious third party. A website with SSL, however, sends this information in scrambled code so that even if it is intercepted it can only be read if by someone who has the key to decipher the code. This is a very simple solution to protect you and your customers.

insecure site warning

Why do I need SSL on my website

Engaging with consumers online is all about the image you put forward. You need to appear trustworthy, credible, to help make consumers feel at ease. You also want to ensure that prohibiting anti-virus software will not block traffic to your site as a result of insufficient security measures. Although SSL does take some time and cost to set it up, it is a worthwhile investment in the long run.

SSL will make your site credible and trustworthy

Many people are still fearful of the internet and the anonymity associated with it. You, as the website owner, want to do everything you can to dispel this fear. The SSL certificate gives you the https:// URL and the reassuring user friendly green padlock that comes with it. It also means that anti-virus software will not warn people away from your site.

ssl secure website

SSL is a requirement for online payments

If your business incorporates online payments with credit cards or a type of e-commerce then SSL is essential. Payment Gateways (like Stripe, Paypal, Payfast, Snapscan) are notoriously cautious (with good reason) and without the correct SSL certifications, will not allow transactions on your site. If transactions are a requirement for your business, this will serve as a massive hindrance and provide great frustration for your customer base.

Securing User Information

If your site deals with any user information, you want that information to be protected. Not only does it reassure your users that their information is safe, but it also removes any potential liability on their information being stolen.

You can improve your Google ranking

Google has begun to reward sites which incorporate SSL. When every small advantage helps to getting that higher rank, adding an SSL certificate is just another factor to increase your Google Rank. You can read more about their announcement here.

Soon you won’t have a choice

Still not convinced about the importance of SSL?

Well in the very near future you may not have a choice (2017). Many browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari are moving towards only supporting websites with SSL. This means that you will have to comply with SSL or risk a big fat warning sign preventing users from reaching your site. Another Google Security Announcement.

SSL Certificate

Why do I need SSL in South Africa?

South Africa is no exception to global trends. The world is moving to a more secure internet, and South African websites should too.

If you deal with Tourists you need to prove your credibility

A large industry in South Africa is our tourist trade. Internationally SSL is a growing standard and people are slowly becoming aware of its significance. This means that if your site doesn’t have this security seal of approval you won’t be deemed trustworthy. In such a competitive industry, take every advantage you can get.

South Africans are cautious

Living in a country with such a high crime rate, South Africans are often skeptical and cautious. As there is an ever increasing number of attempted of online scamming and digital theft / hacking, SSL is one way of mitigating that.

South Africa is still in its youthful stages of e-commerce with a newly emerging online retail market. South Africans are still wary of buying online, and with a SSL secured website, it adds comfort.

Why should I hire a Website Developer to do it for me?

You have a business to run and many other things to do with your valuable time. Why would you waste your time navigating something alien to you when you can get a professional to set quickly and efficiently setup SSL for you.

See: Why You Should Hire A Web Designer?

You need to get the appropriate SSL certificate

Not all SSL certificates are the same and not every website needs the same level of SSL. A blog for example doesn’t need the best hacker-proof encryption that costs R5 000 a year. It simply needs enough encryption that Google is happy and your site doesn’t drop in its ranking. A perfect example would be with the free: Let’s Encrypt A website that requires large online credit card purchases or hosts a large amount of sensitive information, on the other hand does need advanced encryption. For example: Comodo SSL

Its not always easier to understand the difference between these certificates or the pros and cons for your specific site. Whereas, a professional web developer can advise you on what is appropriate for your site. In addition, because they deal with many hosts and sites, they can probably get you a better deal.

SSL Certificates

There are phony certificates available

Where there is an opportunity someone will take it. This too is the case with SSL certificates. Scammers play on the lack of consumers knowledge.

SSL certificate integration is time difficult

SSL integration into your existing non-SSL website can be a nightmare. Upgrading your site to a SSL secure site is not instantaneous and will require your sites content and data to be updated accordingly.

A great tool for understanding why your site is not getting the full green padlock even after you’ve purchased your SSL certificate is:


Woww is a proudly South African digital agency that offers you complete website solutions. We know how important SSL certificates are and we offer it free of charge if we design your website for you.


Want a Woww-made website? Check our pricing plan for more details.