SSL certificates are a common requirement for online platforms seeking security. In this day and age, where cyber attacks occur every 39 seconds, every online website needs an SSL cert. Google flags insecure websites.
Unsecure websites lack SSL certificates. These pages or websites are typically denoted in red with the URL above the padlock symbol to alert the users that the site is not secure.
Users will leave your site and visit a more secure website when they notice this.
What if you have no idea what SSL certificates are or where to begin? Here’s what you need to know about SSL certificates and how they work.
What is an SSL certificate?
SSL (secure sockets layer) is a type of security technology used to establish a secure connection between a web server and a web browser.
The primary function of SSL is to secure web traffic. This security includes message confidentiality, message integrity, and authentication.
How does SSL work?
SSL certificates encrypt data sent from your computer to the target website and back. Suppose you visit a website where you must enter personal information such as your credit card number, address, and so on to place an order.
Cybercriminals can intercept and steal vital information during this process and use it to their advantage. SSL certificates create an encrypted link between you and the website, preventing hackers from intercepting data. As a result, your data is protected.
Questions to ask before you purchase an SSL certificate.
After you have learned what SSL certificates are and how they work, the next step is to buy one for your website. However, we must look at five questions you should ask before purchasing one to make the best decision.
#1. Why am I installing an SSL certificate?
SSL is essential if you run your website. They provide numerous advantages.
Before you install one, you should have a very clear reason for doing so. Some of the reasons why website owners install SSL certificates are listed below.
1). To validate your website and boost customer trust.
An SSL certificate’s primary function is to provide authentication to a website. One of the most important aspects of web security is identity verification.
To install an SSL certificate, you must first complete a validation process, established by a third party known as a Certificate Authority (CA).
Once your website’s identity has been established, you will be issued an SSL certificate, which will display a security padlock in the browser’s address bar. This demonstrates to your website visitors that your website is legitimate and secure.
Visitors will trust your website because they are assured that their data will be kept private.
Also, it directs users to your legitimate website, protects them from scams, and improves your reputation. Some browsers label your website as insecure if it lacks an SSL cert.
2). To increase website security
The main reason for installing an SSL certificate is to secure server-client communication. When you install an SSL certificate, it encrypts all information so that no one else can access it. These costs aid in the protection against hackers and skimmers.
3). To increase search engine rankings
Who doesn’t want to be at the top of the search engine ranking? Google gives websites with encrypted connections a slight ranking boost, websites that do not have an SSL certificate may struggle to rank higher in search engine results pages consistently. SSL certificates are required to improve search engine optimization and attract traffic to a website.
4). To meet PCI standards
If your website accepts online payments, you must be PCI compliant. Installing an SSL certificate on your website is one of the payment card industry’s 12 primary PCI compliance requirements.
5). Identifying and mitigating potential risks to the website.
An estimated 30,000 websites are hacked every day, with cyber attacks occurring every 39 seconds. This demonstrates the possibility of your website being hacked. Installing an SSL certificate allows you to detect hacker attempts to access your website. You can protect the website by changing important passwords or login credentials right away.
#2. What level of validation do I require?
All SSL certificates help you encrypt the information exchanged between the browser and the server. However, they all disagree on the validation process. Validation is the process of proving the legitimacy or validity of a website before issuing the certificate.
The level of validation is solely determined by why you need to install an SSL certificate, the type of validation, and the urgency.
There are three main types of SSL certificates based on the validation level. They include domain validation certificates, organization validation certificates, and extended validation certificates.
We’ll go over each one in depth below.
01). Domain validation (DV) certificate.
These are the most basic SSL certificates that require the least amount of validation. To obtain a DV, website owners must only prove domain ownership.
They are primarily designed for websites that do not deal with sensitive data. The only trust indicators provided by this type of SSL certificate are HTTP, a padlock, and a static site seal.
02). Organization Validation (OV) certificate
These are an improvement over DV SSL certificates. It demonstrates to every visitor that the website belongs to the real company, thereby improving the overall reputation.
To obtain an OV, website owners must go through a rigorous validation process overseen by a CA, which investigates the website owners to determine whether they have the right to their specific domain name.
It includes the validation of the company’s or business’s complete business details such as name, address, domain name, and other information. The padlock symbol and HTTP are displayed in green.
03). Extended validation SSL certificates.
Extended Validation SSL certificates are the gold standard for providing the highest level of authentication. After implementing EV, the site is outfitted with easily identifiable trust indicators such as a green address bar, a green padlock, and dynamic site seals. Aside from these indicators, the company name is visible in the address bar.
Setting up an EV SSL certificate necessitates the website owner to go through a standardized identity verification process. This is to confirm they own the domain exclusively.
They are typically used by high-profile websites that require a large amount of personal information from their visitors.
#3). How many domains and subdomains do I want to protect?
Another question to consider before purchasing an SSL certificate is how many domains and subdomains you want to protect with SSL certificates.
Website owners may require a single cost to secure a single domain or multiple domains and subdomains.
Based on the number of domains and subdomains, there are four types of SSL certificates.
We’ll go over each one in depth to gain a better understanding.
i). Single domain SSL certificate.
A single-domain SSL certificate protects only one domain name. It does not include any other domain names.
You can use this certificate to protect both www and non-www domains. It supports all three types of validation: DV, OV, and EV. They are the least expensive validation level.
Small businesses and individuals with personal websites or blogs frequently use it.
ii). Multi-domain SSL certificate.
This is an SSL certificate that protects multiple domains with a single certificate under a single SSL installation. It protects up to 250 different SAN, subject to alternative names. DV.OV and EV are available.
If a domain must be added while the certificate is still valid, the certificate must be reissued. It is also cost-effective because you only need one certificate and multiple domains rather than multiple certificates for each domain.
iii). Wildcard SSL certificate
This certificate allows businesses to secure the primary domain as well as an unlimited number of subdomains. However, it only secures the first level of subdomains.
It is available in the domain validation and organization validation.
iv). Multi-domain wildcard SSL certificate
This certificate is ideal for business that requires an SSL certificate for more than one domain and multiple levels of subdomains. It is built with both wildcard SSL and multi-domain SSL certificate features.
It eliminates the hassle of managing multiple certificates for your entire website portfolio.
#4. What nature of business do I want to safeguard?
Before you buy an SSL certificate, you should first determine the type of business that you want to protect.
This is because each business operates differently. Furthermore, users will send various types of data to different websites.
Take, for example, a small website or blog. These types of businesses do not typically sell products or request private customer information. This means they don’t usually necessitate a high level of validation. Furthermore, the level of security required is not of a higher caliber.
If the nature of business entails an organization, such as a non-profit organization, non-transaction data from their customers is required. As a result, they don’t gather sensitive information. Typically, they may request personal information such as biographical information.
However, some organizations, such as large corporations and financial institutions, deal with highly sensitive data such as banking information, social security numbers, and even health records.
These organizations require the most stringent validation and security. Knowing what type of business you want to secure will help you select the best SSL certificate for your website.
#5. What SSL certificate providers are the best?
After considering all four questions, you should have decided on the SSL certificate that you want to purchase. However, before purchasing an SSL certificate you must first determine which SSL certificate provides you want to purchase the certificate from.
The are numerous CAs from which to choose. They provide you with a certificate at low or no cost. However, when it comes to choosing a CA, price should not be the most important factor.
You must choose an SSL provider that meets all of your requirements rather than just one that sells SSL certificates at a low cost. You should also exercise caution when selecting CA. Previously, some CAs were banned by some web browsers, and as a result, the browsers stopped supporting SSL certificates issued by the same banned CA. This can have a significant impact on the performance of your website.
Here are some pointers to help you choose the best SSL cert provider.
An important consideration when choosing an SSL certificate provider.
Before you choose any SSL certificate provider, make sure they offer 24/7 support to accommodate all the zones.
The support team should make an easy effort to resolve any issues you may be experiencing.
Furthermore, they should be able to provide helpful advice on how to best use their product to meet your needs.
ii). Reputation of CA
Another factor to consider is the CA’s reputation. You should look into the CA’s market share and the number of users worldwide when a CA is entrusted by millions of users worldwide, it assures enormous responsibility
To avoid failure, and more importantly to stay ahead of cyber attracts, the CA should have a strong infrastructure as well as modern and developed research and technology.
iii). Money back guarantee
The best SSL certificate providers are always concerned with their customer’s trust and money.
When selecting a CA, look for one that offers a money guarantee if you decide to cancel
iv). Free services.
Always look for SSL certificate providers who provide free services and substantial discounts.
Some SSL certificate providers may offer you additional days if you renew with them, especially if you renew before the SSL expiry date. You should not pass up these chances.
Regarding SSL providers, price is one of the most important factors for many website owners.
You should always look for a low-cost SSL provider with the best deals.
Choosing the right SSL certificate for the website can be difficult, especially with so many options available and if you’re with them.
To make things easier, we’ve discussed questions you should ask yourself before purchasing one. This will assist you in making the best decision. When selecting the best SSL certificate for your website.