The SSL certificate has become more important than ever. When website users know a site connection is secure, and when you know hackers can’t easily make changes to your site, everyone is happy. With increasing e-commerce opportunities and data protection measures, an SSL certificate is a modern-day prerequisite.
SSL – Secure Sockets Layer
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. You can tell whether a website has an SSL certificate by looking at the URL. An unprotected site will begin with is http: //. Secure websites with an SSL certificate begin with https: //. Furthermore, since Google’s most recent update, search engine users can immediately see if a web address is secure or not.
SSL is a way of securing digital data. This concerns the website’s own data and the data of website users and customers and includes details such as credit card and contact information. An SSL certificate guarantees the information on your website will be sent to the correct server.
In short, an SSL certificate takes care of the following:
1. Encryption: no tracking of user activity or theft of data
2. Data integrity: prevents corruption of files during transfer
3. Authentication: protects against attacks and increases user trust
Consumer confidence through SSL
SSL and SEO
If you want to rank higher in Google search results, an SSL certificate is also a useful SEO tool. Google rewards websites that use SSL certificates; it is actually one of the ranking factors for search engine optimisation. In fact, Google Chrome goes one step further by labeling http:// sites as unsecure and penalising them accordingly. And although less than 1% of all websites are secure, 40% of Google’s page one organic search results feature HTTPS sites.
Where do I get one?
There are four steps when it comes to obtaining an SSL certificate, and it is possible to apply via a third party. These steps are:
1. SSL certificate purchase
2. Generate and submit a Certificate Signing Request (CSR)
3. Validate request
4. Install certificate
Which SSL certificate?
There is more than one type of SSL certificate and although they all create a secure environment, they differ when it comes to authentication.
There are three main types:
1. Domain Validated (DV) –verification of the domain name only
2. Organisation Validated (OV) –verification of the actual business
3. Extended Validation (EV) –requires extra documentation and visitors can immediately see certification in the green colour of the address bar together with the company name and domain name
Obviously, the EV is the most secure, but is also the most expensive.
It goes without saying that the future will require more and better security on the internet. With Google Chrome already labeling http:// sites unsecure, there should be no hesitation when it comes to applying for an SSL certificate of the highest level your company can afford. The costs of business or extended validation will be reimbursed thanks to your users feeling safe when visiting, browsing, sharing and purchasing from your website.