Everything You Need to Know About SSL Certificate: Do I Really Need an SSL Certificate?

What Do SSL and HTTPS Stand For

SSL stands for secure sockets layer and is small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. It is a form of security for sites that handle sensitive information such as visitor’s personal information and credit card transactions, data transfers and logins, and, more recently, is becoming the norm when securing browsing of social media sites. It creates a secure connection between a visitor’s web browser and the server of the company they’re interacting with.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. HTTPS is encrypted to increase the security of data transfer. This is particularly important when users transmit sensitive data, such as by logging into a bank account, email service, or health insurance provider. Using HTTPS, the computers agree on a “code” between them, and then they scramble the messages using that “code” so that no one in between can read them. This keeps your information safe from hackers.

Purpose of SSL Certificate

1 –Encrypts Sensitive Information

When an SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you are sending the information to. This protects it from hackers and identity thieves. The main reason why websites are using SSL is to keep sensitive information sent across the Internet encrypted so that the only intended recipient can access it.

2 – Provides Authentication

SSL certificate provides authentication. Trusted SSL providers only issue an SSL certificate to a verified company that has gone through several identity checks. This means you can be sure that you are sending information to the right server and not a fraud trying to steal your information.

3 – Required for PCI Compliance

To accept credit card information on your website, you must pass specific audits that show that you are complying with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. One of the requirements is properly using an SSL Certificate. PCI compliance is mandated by credit card companies to help ensure the security of credit card transactions in the payments industry.

4 – Provides Trust

Web browsers give visual signals, such as a lock icon or a green bar, to make sure visitors know when their connection is secured. This means that they will trust your website more when they see these signs and will be more likely to buy from you.

HTTPS also protects against phishing attacks. A phishing email is an email sent by a criminal who tries to impersonate your website. The email usually includes a link to their own website or uses a man-in-the-middle attack to use your own domain name. Because it is challenging for these criminals to receive a proper SSL certificate, they won’t be able to impersonate your site perfectly. This means that your users will be far less likely to fall for a phishing attack because they will be looking for the trust indicators in their browser, such as a green address bar, and they won’t see it.

6 Different Types of SSL Certificates to Secure Your Website

SSL Certificate

1- Extended Validation Certificates (EV SSL)

EV SSL is the highest-ranking and most expensive SSL certificate type. This type of certificate is a must-have for websites that handle sensitive information. It has a maximum level of security and is the easiest to identify. This type of SSL certificate, when installed, displays the padlock, HTTPS, name of the business, and the country on the browser address bar. Viewing the website owner’s information in the address bar helps distinguish the site from malicious sites.

In order to issue an EV certificate, the CA performs an enhanced review of the applicant. It is to increase the level of confidence in the business. The review process includes an examination of corporate documents, confirmation of applicant identity, and checking the information with a third-party database.

2- Organization Validated Certificates (OV SSL)

To receive an OV certificate, a Certification Authority must validate certain information, including the organization, physical location, and its website’s domain name. This process typically takes a couple of days. OV certificates have a moderate level of trust and are a good option for public-facing websites that deal with less sensitive transactions.

Its primary purpose is to encrypt the user’s sensitive information during transactions. This version of the SSL certificate has a high assurance similar to the EV SSL certificate, which is used to validate a business’ creditably.

This SSL certificate type also displays the website owner’s information in the address bar to help distinguish from malicious sites. OV SSL certificates are the second-highest in price.

Commercial or public-facing websites have a requirement to install an OV SSL certificate to assure that any customer information shared remains private.

3 – Domain Validated Certificates (DV SSL)

Domain Validation SSL Certificate has a low assurance and minimal encryption, typically for blogs or informational websites. DV certificates have the lowest level of trust and are commonly used by cybercriminals because they are easy to get and can make a fraudulent website appear more secure than it is.

The validation process to obtain this SSL certificate type is straightforward. The process only requires website owners to prove domain ownership by responding to an email or phone call. The browser address bar only displays HTTPS and a padlock with no business name displayed. If you do not need extra assurance for your website visitors, then you would install a Domain Validation SSL certificate.

4- Wildcard SSL Certificates

A wildcard certificate is a digital certificate that is applied to a domain and all its subdomains. Purchasing a wildcard SSL certificate is cheaper than buying several single-domain SSL certificates. Wildcard SSL certificates have an asterisk * as part of the common name. The asterisk * represents any valid subdomain that has the same base domain.

5- Multi-Domain SSL Certificates

Multi-Domain certificates can secure up to 100 different domain names and subdomains using a single certificate, which helps save time and money.

You have control of the Subject Alternative Name (SAN) field to add, change, and delete any of the SANs as needed.

6- Unified Communications Certificates (UCC)

Unified Communications Certificates (UCC) are also considered Multi-domain SSL certificates. UCCs were initially designed to secure Microsoft Exchange and Live Communications servers.

Today, any website owner can use these certificates to allow multiple domain names to get secured on a single certificate. UCC Certificates are organizationally validated and display a padlock on a browser. UCCs can be used as EV SSL certificates to give website visitors the highest assurance through the green address bar.

5 Reasons Why You Need an SSL Certificate

SSL Certificate

1- Boost in search engine rankings

Google has confirmed that a secure website with an SSL certificate will have an advantage over other websites that are not as secure and encrypted — provided other search engine optimization (SEO) factors remain the same.

2 – Secure the login process and web forms

Protecting the username and password, as well as all the data a user enters when browsing through your website, is vital as it could be seized and used by third parties.

3 – Online Payments

If your website accepts credit cards and stores that information online, you will be required to use SSL by the credit card companies and, in some cases, – by the hosting providers.

4- User’s Security

Your users will feel more secure when using your site. Gaining your customers’ trust is very important. Your site visitors will feel safer and will know that whatever information they enter will be securely passed to your server.

5 – Secure information

An SSL certificate helps secure information such as:

  • Login credentials
  • Credit card transactions or bank account information
  • Personally, identifiable information — such as full name, address, date of birth, or telephone number
  • Proprietary information
  • Legal documents and contracts
  • Medical records

We live in times where cyberattacks happen daily and companies lose money and their customers as a result of that. You can never be too safe when it comes to web security. The use of SSL certificates is next to compulsory, especially when you deal with people’s login credentials, credit cards, and personal information. Once your SSL certificate has been set up, you can use our tools to ensure that it is working correctly and that your website secured.

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