SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is one of the technologies essential to security on the web. It allows a web browser and server to form an encrypted connection. Encryption is an essential part of web security. If you're browsing the web in a coffee shop or airport without encryption, it's trivial for anyone else to see exactly what you're looking at.
I've been operating my site on various flavors of shared web hosting for years. Shared hosting has a lot of benefits: it's cheap, easy to set up, and hides almost all of the nuts and bolts. I finally decided to take the plunge and remove the training wheels by hosting my site on AWS.