What Is An SSL Certificate?

by | Mar 29, 2020 | Website design

What Is An SSL Certificate? 1

In an online world, many terms get thrown around. One of the most common would be the SSL certificate. But what exactly is it? The abbreviation SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. In really simple terms, it is one of the ways of ensuring a website is secure for its users. For those interested in more complex terms, an SSL certificate is a data file that authenticates the website’s origin server and encrypts website user data such as logins, credit card details, etc between the server and the web browser. There are quite a number of things that happen behind the scene while the SSL certificate is working. Generally, it is always advised to get one for your website.

Why you need an SSL certificate?

As the brief introduction above explained, the main reason to get an SSL certificate for your website is security. Hacking is the digital way of breaking and entering. Although there are several ways to get hacked, having an SSL certificate is one way to deter a hacker. The second reason is reputation. No one likes visiting a website only to receive a warning that the website is insecure and their information could be stolen. Your business reputation gets hurt even more if you have an e-commerce site where you expect people to pay online. Through an insecure connection? C’mon!

In February of 2020, Google announced that they will gradually start blocking downloads from websites without an SSL certificate. Secure websites have also been found out to rank better than websites without an SSL certificate, meaning having an SSL certificate can help improve your SEO.

You can tell if a website has an SSL certificate just by checking the url. Modern websites will show a padlock just at the beginning of the url to show the website has an SSL certificate. If the padlock isn’t there, the website might be insecure. Some browsers also show ‘https://’ at the start of the url. If you check and instead see ‘http://’, that’s a red flag and the browser will probably also show you a warning.

What Is An SSL Certificate? 2
Web browsers will soon warn users of websites without SSL certificates.

Types of SSL certificates

  • Single domain SSL certificates – these certificates cover only a single domain. The advantage of this type of SSL certificate is its cost. They are probably the cheapest out there. However, their disadvantage is just as I have mentioned, they cover only one domain. So if you have subdomains they won’t be covered with this SSL certificate.
  • Wildcard SSL certificates – these certificates are like extended versions of the single-domain SSL. They differ in that they can secure subdomains. They tend to cost slightly more than their single domain counterparts but offer more flexibility.
  • Multi-domain SSL certificates – These certificates offer the best option for someone with several domains under their name. Rather than have one single-domain SSL certificate for each of your websites, you can get just one of these certificates and it will improve your website security. You’ll have to keep in mind that these types of SSL certificates cost quite a bit and the cost implications make sense only if you have several websites.

Conclusion

If you have a website or are looking to get a website, having an SSL certificate is a no-brainer. Any future websites you get should also have an SSL certificate. It greatly enhances the website security of not only the business but also the website security of your customers.

If you currently don’t have an SSL certificate for your website, you can have a look at these SSL certificate prices and choose one based on your needs.

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