SSL Certificates

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates help provide security for your website. SSL certificates are good for; all sites, but essential for an ecommerce site. Keep reading to find out what an SSL certificate is, how to get an SSL certificate, and what kind of SSL certificate is best for you.


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One of the main concerns customers have about shopping online is: security. An SSL certificate reassures your customers that the personal information they send over the Internet while on your web site is encrypted. 

What is SSL?

SSL stands for secure sockets layer. It is a technology that encrypts the information a customer enters into his or her browser, and then decrypts it when it reaches your web site. SSL doesn't guarantee that information sent over the Internet is safe, but it greatly reduces the risk of someone who should not have access to the information being able to read it in transit.

A web page that is protected by SSL will have an SSL certificate. When a customer's browser connects with that web page, it requests the certificate. The web page sends the certificate, and when the browser verifies that the certificate is authentic it sends the key to decrypt the information the customer sends.

A web page with an SSL certificate displays a padlock icon and an address that begins with https:// instead of http://. A web site with extended validation will also display a green bar in the address bar. Customers look for these signs to reassure them that the web page has an SSL certificate and is safer for conducting online transactions.

SSL is used in several stages in the online sales process. A customer's browser uses SSL to send the customer's information to your web site, and your web site will use SSL to send that information on to your Internet merchant account to process the customer's payment.

How do I get an SSL certificate?

If you are doing business transactions over the Internet you will need an SSL certificate. You have to buy an SSL certificate unless it comes with your eCommerce web hosting package. For most kinds of SSL certificates you will need to verify your identity so the SSL certificate provider knows you are a legitimate business. Depending on the type of SSL certificate you get, this process can take minutes or days.

Many online sources offer SSL certificates. Make sure you are getting your SSL certificate from an established SSL certificate provider like Verisign, Thawte, or Go Daddy. Go Daddy may have the most economical SSL certificates, with a basic SSL certificate starting at $29.99 per year, and promotional specials sometimes saving you even more.

CLICK HERE for more information and options on GoDaddy SSL Certificates.

What kind of SSL certificate do I need?

The kind of SSL certificate you need depends on the type of web site you are running. If you are processing payments or requesting personal information you should have at least 128-bit encryption. You may not need more than that if you are running a relatively small online business.

If you want extra security for your customers and protection from fake sites mimicking yours for phishing scams, you should look into an extended validation SSL certificate. This will require you to provide more proof to the issuing company that you are a valid business, but reassures customers that your web site is authentic and reasonably secure.

If you have more than one domain or server you will need a special license or SSL certificate that can cover multiple domains or servers.


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Verisign [online]

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