Many of us wonder what the lock, sometimes the green lock, on a website means. It is usually to the left of the address to the website. Today we are going to tell you what this means, when it is good, and when it is bad.
The lock icon means the connection between you and the web server is encrypted and secure. Meaning it makes it extremely hard for someone to find your connection info, and use it to steal some of your data. The lock icon represents an SSL or a TLS Certificate. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, while TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. TLS is the successor to SSL. TLS is more secure than SSL, and most modern browsers no longer support standard old SSL Certificates, and prefer TLS. It will also show "HTTPS" rather than "HTTP" in the website address if it has a TLS Certificate. HTTP Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, but HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.
Now, if you ever go to a website where you put in information like passwords, and there is no TLS Certificate (aka the green lock, or the white lock), you shouldn't be putting any sensitive information there, like passwords. Not every website requires a TLS or SSL Certificate, only those who transfer relatively sensitive information, including names. If you go to a website and its just a bunch of text explaining something, like http://example.com/, you do not need a TLS Certificate, because you are not transferring sensitive information to the web server, and the web server isn't transferring sensitive information to you.
If you own a website, and want to get a TLS Certificate, you can use a free service called Let's Encrypt. Let's Encrypt can be relatively confusing and hard to use for not-so-experienced-with-TLS-or-let's-encrypt-people, so you can use another service that makes getting a Let's Encrypt certificate simple, called https://www.sslforfree.com/. But don't worry, it is called SSLForFree.com, but they only provide TLS Certificates through Let's Encrypt.
Now you know, lock icon = good, but no lock icon = bad, but not always bad, depending on the type of website.