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Why You Should Have an SSL Certificate on Your Website
When we visit a website, our connection with the server may be vulnerable to interception or tampering. When that happens, your data becomes compromised too.
It’s all too common for an attacker to pose as a trustworthy party and trick you into giving up sensitive information like your username and password, your credit card number, or even your Social Security Number. HTTPS or checking if a website has an SSL certificate is how you protect yourself from this type of attack.
The data is scrambled into a code that only your computer and the server can read. This is important for multiple reasons – it prevents hackers from snooping on you or collecting your information to try and break into other places they shouldn’t be on the web, and it lets you know that you are connected to the right website every time.
Keep reading to find out the difference between http:// and https://.
What is an SSL certificate?
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL certificate is a data file that is used to make the connection between your website and a web browser secure. Most people are familiar with what happens when you go to an online store or a banking website — everything gets locked, and you know you’re in a secured area.
This is only possible because of SSL certificates. It makes sure that your private information remains private when you open such websites.
Imagine you’re in the middle of a debate, but you wake up and you’re suddenly on stage talking to a room full of people. That is what it feels like to own a website with an SSL certificate that is past its expiration date. An expired SSL certificate can leave your site vulnerable to attacks from hackers who might try to use your personal information against you.
Does having an SSL certificate affect SEO?
Going from HTTP to HTTPS is especially important as Google emphasizes ranking secure sites higher in its organic search results. HTTPS contributes to your site’s credibility and trustworthiness, too. Visitors can instantly gauge your site integrity by looking at the URL.
The “S” in the URL indicates a secured connection (HTTPS), and an unobstructed means to information indicates reliability. Those closed padlock icons in the browser also put people at ease, indicating that nothing shady is going on with their information once they click through.
Types of SSL Certificates
Extended Validation Certificate (EV SSL)
An Extended Validation SSL Certificate (EV SSL) is the highest level of validation for domain names. They’re only available to companies with legal authorisation to use the domains they’re submitting.
These certificates have a green address bar that appears in the browser, which signifies even greater trust than with a standard SSL certificate.
Organisation Validation Certificate (OV SSL)
An Organisation Validation Certificate (OV SSL) offers a sufficient level of identity, trust, and security to website visitors. It’s the best one for small businesses that are just starting out.
Domain Validation Certificate (DV SSL)
A Domain Validation Certificate (DV) offers the fastest and most cost-effective way to complete your online identity and encrypt customer transactions. They’re most suitable for websites that don’t handle credit card or personal information.
Unlike a standard SSL, a Domain Validated certificate doesn’t verify the identity of your company or business. Based on domain name ownership alone, visitors can access the site using a DV certificate. As opposed to an EV certificate, DV certificates offer less protection.
Wildcard SSL Certificates
A Wildcard SSL Certificate is ideal when you do not want to purchase numerous individual SSL Certificates. Instead, you can obtain a single Wildcard SSL Certificate for all your subdomains. For example, if your company is hosting multiple sites under one main domain, then this type of SSL Certificate will be perfect as it secures all the sites under one certificate.
Multiple Domain SSL Certificates
A Multiplate Domain SSL Certificate also known as a Unified Communications Certificate (UCC) is a certificate used across several domains. A UCC is an excellent option to protect communication from phishing attacks, malware, and eavesdropping.
How to get an SSL Certificate
So you’ve decided to purchase an SSL certificate. There are several choices available, but you want to make sure that you make the correct decision for your business.
A standard SSL certificate can quickly be purchased and protects your content from being viewed by third parties that intercept the data transmitted between your site and your visitors’ browsers.
However, some industries have stricter requirements than others when it comes to the security of the internet communications passing across their networks. For example, banks, insurance companies, and brokerage houses must adhere to federal banking regulations.
Some companies, like Namecheap and GoDaddy, offer SSL certificates at a low cost per year. Once you have the certificate, you need to upload it. Some domains will allow you to install it from the backend while others force you to edit the .htaccess file directly.
Once uploaded and enabled, your website should pass any test for SSL compatibility immediately. But before you load up the champagne, you still have to redirect any non-secure pages to secure ones.
To be on the safe side, we would advise hiring someone to help you out with the installation process.
There is no silver bullet when it comes to cybersecurity—it takes a holistic and layered approach to defend against the threat. But a big part of that is getting an SSL certificate for your website. Google ranks secured websites higher in its search rankings. If you’re not using one on your website, you should consider getting one now.
Cornerstone Digital is a web development company in Sydney. If you’d like to keep your website safe, we’d be glad to help you. Call us on (02) 8211 0668 or email us at [email protected]
A self-professed book and digital marketing nerd, Darlyn Herradura focuses on building trust between customers and businesses with the written word. She understands that creating valuable content is the best way to get found online and happily spends her time doing that.