SSL - What is it and should I get it?
You can tell when a site is SSL encrypted as the website address starts with HTTPS instead of HTTP. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and basically is a secure channel between two machine sending data over the internet. When one machine (your computer) sends data to another machine (a server) it encrypts what it sends using SSL so that the information cannot be intercepted and read whilst in transit. When the data arrives at it's location it is decrypted back to it's readable form.
Historically SSL has been used primarily for forms such as registration and log in forms as well as websites that deal with personal data and in particular finances. More recently however the internet browsers (and in particular Google chrome) have pushed for all web pages to be SSL encrypted in order to make the internet a more secure place.
In most cases (unless you run a site that sends personal financial data) it is entirely up to website owners to decide whether or not they encrypt their site. One reason why it is a good idea to encrypt is that the browsers (and again more particularly Google Chrome) alert users when they are visiting a site that is not SSL encrypted. This can obviously have a detrimental effect on visitors perception of a website if they see the alert to the left of the address bar that says "Not Secure".
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