Have you ever noticed while browsing the internet that some URLs begin with the prefix ‘https’ instead of the standard ‘http’? If so, have you ever wondered what the difference is? The difference is one of offering an encrypted website as opposed to one that is not encrypted. As a Shopify store owner, you really should be concerned about security and encryption.
A site with an ‘https’ prefix is one with a secure sockets layer (SSL) deployed. Along with transport layer security (TLS), SSL provides data encryption that secures digital communications across computer networks. It is currently used for nearly every kind of online communication, from instant messaging to e-mail to VoIP. Website owners use SSL to ensure customer data is encrypted.
If your Shopify store is not yet set up with SSL, you should consider changing that. Encryption can help your business in a number of ways:
- it demonstrates to your customers you are concerned about their online security;
- it gives you some measure of protection in the event of a cyber attack; and
- it provides your customers with a measure of confidence they can’t get from non-encrypted sites.
The good news is that it’s easy to deploy SSL within Shopify. As with just about every feature the platform offers, making a few adjustments in your admin is all it takes.
Deploying SSL and Shopify
Deploying SSL is a matter of activating security certificates that are assigned to your site and provided to web browsers and e-mail clients attempting to make contact. It is possible to deploy SSL certificates at the initial stages of website development or if a site is already fully developed, redirect from an insecure environment to an identical secure environment.
The first thing you need to do is check any third-party content used in your store that might invalidate your SSL certificate. The Shopify documentation recommends you verify such content in the Domains section of the Shopify admin. Assuming you have no conflicts, the rest is relatively easy.
Contact your hosting provider and request that SSL be deployed for your domain. The provider will then create and issue the certificate which will then be placed in the root directory of your website. Be aware that some hosting companies charge an extra fee for SSL certificates. Incidentally, you do not have to request SSL encryption if your site is already hosted by Shopify. It is included with the hosting.
Next, navigate to the Domains section of the Shopify admin and click on ‘Activate SSL certificates’. This applies a certificate to every eligible page in your Shopify installation.
SSL deployment adds 256-bit encryption to your website for an extra layer of security. In this day and age, it is a good idea to do whatever you can to ensure user data is protected. Every Shopify user not currently using SSL encryption should seriously consider making the change. Customers are too valuable to lose as a result of an insecure site being hacked.