New to squarespace? You can sign up for a free trial here and I also got ya a little off the price! Use code PAIGE10 for 10% off your first year. (Yes, that’s an affiliate link!)

On a long list of things to do while you build out your DIY Squarespace site, SSL is hardly the sexiest or most thrilling task.

(Tech translation: Think of SSL as ‘site security.’)

And when it comes to designing your first website, it’s tempting to think that if it isn’t pretty, it’s not a priority.

I mean you can’t see it. So, how important could it be?

Turns out it’s pretty dang important…just ask the online biz owner who discovered someone had hacked their WordPress site and had been using it as a front for dealing drugs online. For months.

(I legitimately kid you not. Someone actually told me the story of that happening to them.)

More on that misfortunate adventure in 8 reasons I chose to build my business’s online home on Squarespace.

Think of it like building a house.

You’ve just spent weeks, months, and possibly yearssss dreaming up just the perfect floor plan, hiring the right builder, sourcing the best materials, and then filling every last corner of that house with pieces and people you love so that it’s a perfect reflection of YOU.

You’re not about to go and leave your backdoor unlocked, exposing your beautiful new home and all it’s occupants to unwelcome intruders!

Your online home is the same way! You’ve put a lot of time into building that bad boy, and there’s people relying on you to have the proper measures in place to make sure their visit to your site is a safe one.

And while you can’t go calling a locksmith…you can take measures to secure your website using SSL!

What is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer.

It’s the bit of tech responsible for encrypting or securing the link between your site visitor’s browser and your site’s web server (a.k.a the computer in the sky somewhere that you pay to store all your website’s files).

Think of SSL like a round the clock virtual security guard that protects all the data being sent to and from your site, warding off all kinds of sneaky business and bad impersonators, and making sure any sensitive info is for your/your visitor’s eyes only! ‍

This includes everything from the email address they entered when they hit “submit” on that cute little “holla at ya girl” contact form you stuck on your home page, all the way up to your client’s/customer’s super-secret passwords and credit card deets entered on a checkout page.

Identity theft is no joke, and it’s up to you as the site owner to do everything in your power to make sure your visitors are 100% protected from hackers and thieves trying to take advantage of unsuspecting DIY site-builders.

Now, you might be thinking…

“Hold on! Identify theft!? Hackers!?

I’m just a cute little mom & pop shoppe in the middle of (*insert name of tiny town nobody has heard of*)…

Why the heck would anyone want to hack my site??”

Welp, in the words of my very wise, IRL biz bestie…

“People are freaks out there. They’re like, total nut jobs. They want to do it just because they can!”

Charlotte O’Hara…in what is possibly the funniest quote to date on my podcast.

Basically, having SSL on your site means your dear visitors, customers and clients can enjoy being on and shopping on your site with complete peace of mind.

SSL certificate checker:

How do I know if my site is secure?

When was the last time you typed out an entire website address before hitting ‘go?’

Doesn’t happen very often right? Most people skip right over the first bit and head straight into typing the domain name.

And yet, once the page is loaded, somehow an “http://” or an “https://” magically appears! So what does it mean?

http:// Meaning vs. https:// Meaning

The http stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and it’s basically a set of rules for how your site’s documents will be moved about the ol’ World Wide Web.

So what does that extra ‘s’ stand for in ‘https://?’

You guessed it! Secure!

The fastest way to check whether your site is under lock & key is literally just to type your domain name into the search bar (in a different browser tab, because hello we’re still working here) and then once the page loads, double click inside the search bar.

You should see the ‘https://’ as well as a little icon to the left of your domain name.

Not seeing what you need? Read on for your next steps!

How do I get an SSL certificate on my Squarespace website?

The Squarespace SSL settings you need to know

Unlike other platforms where it can feel like you’re having to fight tooth and nail for the things you need to effectively run your biz online, Squarespace is like the ultimate hand-holding-helicopter-mom of website design, meaning they’ve already gone ahead and taken care of getting your certificate for you. (Thanks, Mom.)

All that’s really left is to turn it on!

In the backend of your Squarespace site, go to settings > advanced > SSL (this is also a slightly more official way than mentioned above for checking your site’s status, btw.)

You’ll want to make sure your site is set to “Secure (Preferred)” and to select “HSTS Secure.”

Congrats! As long as any domains or subdomains for your site were added correctly, there’s nothing more needed to activate your site’s SSL certificate! (You can now get back to the fun/pretty part of actually designing the site!)

Heads up! If you have a tonne of custom code or have embedded a bunch of third party softwares not natively supported, Squarespace may have no choice but to mark your site as insecure in order for all your hard work to be made available to users.

What happens if my site is not secure?

Want to know the quickest way to get a customer to abandon cart?

Hit them with one of these…

I don’t know about you, but 10/10 times I’m not going to be clicking through to a site that has this warning, compliments of Google, that is literally screaming at me to run the other way.

Sure, visitors can still visit your site, and this message prob won’t pop-up on a page that isn’t requesting any info from anyone.

But unless your site has zero forms, checkout pages, opt-ins, or login areas, and you’re just here to blog about cats and be on your merry way, then SSL should become your top priority.

Not to mention, you’ll likely not be aware this is even happening unless you frequently visit every last page on your own site.

Will site security or SSL affect my SEO?

If a nasty pop-up ain’t enough to scare you straight, it may also be worth noting Google’s preference for secure sites when deciding how to rank you in a search.

Even if you have alllll the traffic coming to you from direct sources (ie. a referring link from a super reputable site, or people directly searching your site after being handed your business card), it’s unlikely you can make up for the black mark that Google will place on your site if it senses a potential threat to user’s safety!

Don’t let all your hard SEO keyword research and drool-worthy site content go down the drain.

Especially when it would literally take you less time to totally transform your site’s security (and therefore your SEO) than it would to read this blog post in the first place. Seriously, if you made it this far you have time in your day to set aside for something as important as this!

So the TLDR of whether having an SSL certificate on your site will impact your SEO is:

Secure site = happy Google = better SEO = higher search rankings. ‍♀️

Wondering how long it will take Squarespace to process your SSL certificate?

Squarespace ssl certificate status & processing times

Ok, so you’ve decided to move SSL to priority numero uno. Good job! But how long is this going to take?

And more importantly, will your site be down while you wait?

Squarespace is pretty speedy when it comes to updating important security & domain settings…this coming from someone who once tried to change out a domain name the day before a massive launch and then anxiously refreshed her site every 2 minutes for the next hour to make sure things went off without a hitch. (0 stars. Do not recommend.)

So while it’s not instant, they usually can get you off to the races in just a few hours. It can occasionally taking up to 72 hours, though I’m pretty sure they just say that to cover their .

During that time visitors may experience an error message when visiting your site, so basically just don’t do as I did and make a major change in the moments leading up to your biggest launch of the year and all should be well.

(Pretty solid advice for any big decisions you have to make in your biz, I’d say!)

Looking for a few more basics and best practices for building your Squarespace site?

Here’s a few posts to help you on your way!

New to squarespace? You can sign up for a free trial here and I also got ya a little off the price! Use code PAIGE10 for 10% off your first year. (Yes, that’s an affiliate link!)



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Squarespace SSL: the settings to know to keep your site secure