As the internet continues evolving, so does the cyber crime rate. Criminals are always on the hunt of which websites to attack. Thousands of websites are hacked and compromised every day. Don’t allow yourself and your website fall prey. As a website owner, your website is no exceptional. This and many other factors are the reason you should secure your website with an SSL Certificate. But wait! What is this SSL thing we are talking about and what exactly does it do? Well, continue reading below. This and others are what we are yet to know. In this articles, we shall know:
- What An SSL Is.
- How SSL Protects Your Website.
- What Else SSL Does Apart From Protecting Your Website.
- How To Choose The Right SSL Certificate for Your Website.
- Where To Buy SSL Certificates From.
So now, get on your marks, set and gooo…
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. An SSL certificate, or simply secure certificate, is a small data file that digitally binds a cryptographic key to a website or organization’s details. It’s installed on a secure Web server and is used to identify a website or organisation behind a given website. These probably seem a bit technical and confusing, right? Let’s get down to what the certificates actually does.
How Does SSL Secure Your Website?
I will try to be so basic so that you don’t get lost into the technical jargons.
All the websites we access on the internet reside on very big computers called web servers. And we use our desktop computers, laptops, phones and other devices to access them. Actually, whichever device you are using to read this, you are accessing a page of information on our web server.
Whenever we browse a website and whatever we do while on the website, we are exchanging information between our devices and the servers. And this information passes through the air where it can easily be intercepted and read by criminals. Just imagine how it would be like if someone intercepted and accessed your Credit/Debit Card details while performing that online transaction! They would automatically gain access to all the money in your bank account. And what would happen if some criminal accessed the username and password you use to login to your website? Yes, you guessed right the kind of harm and mess he would cause.
A must read: How to force your website to use SSL using .htaccess
What the SSL Certificate does is to encrypt your website data before its transmission from the server to the visitor’s device and from the visitor’s device to the server. By encrypting, the data is converted into a confusing, meaningless and human unreadable mix of letters, symbols and numbers that cannot be interpreted. It’s only decrypted (converted back to the human readable format) after reaching the right destination. This way, even if it was intercepted along the way, it would be practically impossible for the criminal to interpret it and use it for his cyber crime activities.
What else Does SSL Do Apart from Securing Your Website?
I have already shown you how an SSL Certificate can be used to secure sensitive data on your website. Ranging from login credentials to payment details. You probably now know why you should consider installing an SSL Certificate to secure your website. But is that all? Not really. There are other benefits that come with SSL. I will mention some few here:
Improve Search Engine Ranking
When we develop a website, we want to be found on the internet. And over 95% of the people who visit our websites land on them through search results. Only a few, mostly returning visitors, enter the direct URLs.
But of recent, search engines like Google, Yahoo!, Bing and others give higher priority to SSL secured websites when ranking. These are normally displayed first. Websites with no SSL are ranked lower and normally come last in search results. What this basically means is that by not installing SSL, you are affecting your search engine ranking and hence your position in the search results. If you are not very lucky to have implemented the other SEO techniques very well, your website may never be discoverable through search results.
But then, which sense would it make to have a nice looking website which can never appear on the first few pages of Google search result or never be discovered at all?
Of course there are other factors that lead to good SEO. But SSL is very important. For a better SEO score, secure your website.
Increase Online Trust
A website with an SSL Certificate will allow being accessed using the secure protocol https instead of the insecure http. Also, all major modern browsers will display a locked/closed padlock in the address bar. Some even display the word “Secure”. Some certificates will display the company name in address bar of the browser yet others will turn the entire bar green. All these are visible indicators that internet users will see and develop some trust for the company behind the website due to exhibited commitment towards their data security.
On the contrary, for websites with no SSL, some browsers will display a broken or open padlock or the phrase “Not Secure” in address bar. Others will even warn the visitors when they attempt to enter sensitive data. Consequently, they will abandon the website and move on.
Whether online or offline, people love dealing with serious and committed individuals or organisations. The trust achieved through your website SSL will keep clients close to your business. If your website accepts online orders, there will be reduced chances of clients abandoning shopping carts. In the long run, you will find your business performing better in terms of sales.
I believe you now understand the value of SSL. Do I still need to tell you that you should secure your website?
Which SSL Do I Need for Securing My Website?
There are a number of SSL types used for different purposes. The type you need will depend on the number of websites you intend to secure, level of security you want to exhibit and validation level you want to achieve. I will briefly mention the key types below.
Single domain CERTIFICATES:
For securing a single qualified domain.
For securing multiple domains.
For securing multiple sub-domains of a single domain.
Domain Validation (DV) certificates:
The Certificate Authority (CA) verifies authenticity and ownership of the domain before issuing the certificates. These are normally issued within minutes and involve no paperwork.
Organization Validation (OV) certificates:
The CA verifies the organisation behind the domain name before issuing the certificate. These are normally issued within 2 – 5 days and involve paperwork.
Extended Validation (EV) certificates:
The CA goes an extra mile in verifying the organization behind a domain, verifying even the organization’s physical address. These may take up to 2 weeks to be issued and involve a lot of paperwork.
There also exists a number of SSL brands and Certificate Authorities. We love and highly recommend Comodo. And that is what we offer. For a detailed analysis of the different certificates and how to make the right choice for your website, we shall be posting an article focussing on choosing the right SSL certificate to secure your website.
Where Can I Get the Right SSL to Secure My Website?
Wondering where to get the right SSL for your website? Well, there are a number of providers out there on the market. But getting one from Jubilee Web Host will help you benefit from our low prices. Also, because we have partnered with the most trusted Certificate Authority (Comodo), you are guaranteed of the highest quality certificates on the market.
An by the way, your hosting provider should have no direct control over your choice for SSL certificate! You should be able to install on your domain an SSL certificate obtained from any CA or vendor other than your hosting provider.
Whether you area a small or corporate organization, securing your website with an SSL certificate is very critical. You should accord it very high priority whenever planning your strategy for online presence.
Before purchasing an SSL certificate, it’s important to access your needs as an organization. For example, do you have a single domain and only need basic encryption? Do you have a single domain with multiple sub-domains which all require securing? Does your organization need a certificate that will prominently show a green bar and organization’s name within the address bar of browsers? Answering these questions precisely will help you choose the right SSL Certificate for securing your website.
Sometimes, brand preference also affects our choice for SSL certificates. Do you need to secure your website using an SSL certificate from Comodo, DigiCert or any other Certificate Authority? Whichever brand you zero on, just make sure the certificate does meets your organizational needs.
Many hosting providers today offer free SSL certificates to their clients. At Jubilee Web Host, we offer two options: AutoSSL from cPanel powered by Comodo, and Let’s Encrypt. Whichever you choose to use to secure your website, the choice is yours. They all offer the same level of encryption for your website. However, it is important to note that the security level for these certificates is basic. I personally recommend obtaining a premium SSL certificate from our SSL center if you are serious about securing your website.
Do you have any comments or additions to make? We shall be glad to receive them in the comments section below.