Small businesses have long realized that they should have at least a small informational websites, but today’s rules for being discovered by the Google search engine have changed (some time ago). Instead of using http://mywebsite.com, you should use https://mywebsite.com.
At one time, adding the HTTPS option via a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) / TLS (Transport Layer Security) certificate required these steps:
- Purchasing the certificate.
- Paying someone to install the certificate.
Today, that process is much simpler with the effective, but free, certificates from Let’s Encrypt.
- Once the Let’s Encrypt certificate is configured, it auto-renews every 90 days provided that the domain DNS and the server are still active.
- Almost every hosting company provides this with even a basic hosting package. If your hosting company does not do this, you should ask or maybe switch to a hosting company that does.
Personally, I am glad that I rarely have to worry with purchased certificates, and I am pretty sure my clients are glad they don’t need to pay someone for the certificate installations.
Caveat: Sometimes this requires updating your website to switch to the HTTPS version of page references and links. However, this is generally easy to do. And almost no one uses hard-coded HTTP / HTTPS links for references in newly-created content.