SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is an Internet protocol that allows website visitors to connect to a secure, encrypted webpage. Since the page is protected, any information submitted--such as names, addresses, survey answers or credit card data--is masked during transmission. There are a few key advantages and disadvantages of SSL for website managers to consider.
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Advantage: Customers Will Trust Your Website
Many website visitors are now savvy enough to recognise when a webpage is encrypted and protected by SSL technology. All a user has to do is look at the URL bar in his browser to find the telling "https://" protocol before the address. This SSL encryption will cause your customer to trust your website as professional and genuine, knowing that his personal information will be safe when he submits. This will help to increase the number of submissions that you receive.
Advantage: Avoid Disputes Due to Credit Card Fraud
If a customer submits his credit card information on your unprotected server and then experiences identity theft, the first place he will likely suspect is your website. Even if your website is not the source of the issue, you still may have to deal with a lengthy and involved dispute process with the customer and his credit card company. If your website has SSL technology, you are less likely to deal with these types of claims from customers.
Disadvantage: Regular Renewal
Like a website domain and hosting plan, an SSL certificate expires after a short period of time—usually one to five years. You have to renew the SSL protection regularly and pay the subscription price again forever in order to keep the protection. If you forget to renew the SSL protection, your website will display an error on the user's computer stating that the certificate is not valid.
Disadvantage: Complex Installation
SSL technology can be difficult to install on a website, especially for someone who isn't very familiar with website development. The provider will send you a set of files to install in a certain folder of your web server. You must also activate the certificate using specific instructions from the provider. The process can be overwhelming for a beginner, and some trial-and-error may be required to get the technology to work properly on your website.
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