What is an SSL Certificate in a Website?
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a standard security protocol that ensures a secure connection between a web server and a browser using encrypted links. All communications between the server and the browser remains encrypted, hence private. SSL certificate has become a norm these days to keep all information private when transmitted online through a website. Typically, SSL security is used by websites to establish a secure connection with browsers, so that all web traffic to and from the server is secure.
As soon as an SSL certificate is installed on your server, the application protocol will change from HTTP to HTTPs (where the ‘s’s stands for secure). Also, browsers will start showing a padlock or a green bar whenever someone visits your website with HTTPs application protocol.
How SSL Works?
When your website is SSL-protected, it will automatically create a secure, encrypted connection with the browser of visitors. If you deploy SSL security on all pages and subdomains, there can be more secure communication between your web server and the visitor’s browser.
Also, a padlock icon and HTTPs prefix will appear on the browser bar of the visitor as a proof of data security. This prefix is important to gain the confidence of your visitors, who can stay ensured that the data they share on your website will be in safe hands. Further, when you install an EV (Extended Validation) SSL, a green bar and your company name will be displayed on the browser to prove its validity.
Most importantly, you can rest assured that any information passing to and from your website is secure from the malicious intention of hackers.
Why is the Purpose of Using an SSL Certificate for Website?
SSL is crucial for your internet’s good health, as it ensures that the sensitive information on your website travels across different browsers safely. It provides data integrity and security while you are asking your customers to share personal information like contact details and credit card information for payment on your website.
Encrypts Sensitive Information
SSL certificate is primarily used to keep your sensitive information sent across the internet safe and encrypted. SSL encryption ensures that only the intended recipients can access the data sent across your web server to different browsers. Take for instance, credit card numbers, user names and passwords. If left unencrypted, these details will be visible to everyone between you and the destination server. However, when SSL certificate is used, the information becomes readable only to the one it is directed towards, preventing the threat of identify theft and cyber hacks.
Along with SSL encryption, the Certificate also provides authentication of the destination server. Thus, your critical website information and details related to customers will not pass on to any cyber imposter. Any system between the destination server and your web server will not be able to pretend as your website to fetch information from customers. SSL certificate from a trusted SSL provider will help you stay updated with the latest information about security practices to avoid any loopholes.
Helps Build Trust
Visual cues on web browsers, such as, the lock icon and the green bar help build trust among visitors that the connection is secured. Websites with SSL certificate gets the trust seal, that is useful in attracting more visitors on your website. SSL certificate also helps in avoiding phishing attacks, which are triggered via emails. Phishing emails consist of a link that goes back to a fake website. However, it’s difficult for hackers to buy SSL certificate, and they won’t be able to impersonate your website perfectly. And, you can easily avoid clicking on those links in emails which don’t have HTTPs in the URL.
Improves Google Ranking
One of the world’s most popular search engines, Google favours HTTPS-encrypted websites while deciding upon their ranking in search results. So, SSL certificates has many benefits other than securing the information of your customers on the website. It enhances the chance of your website getting a boost in Google search results and attracting more customers.
Makes Payment Options Secure
If you want to increase your customer base, you need to give your customers as many payment options as they prefer. With SSL certificate, you can safely accept payment through credit card and net banking on your website to make the check-out process hassle-free.
SSL Certificate Validation Levels
Extended Validated Certificate
Extended Validated certificate is often used by online retailers to communicate the trustworthiness of their website to the visitors. As soon as a visitor comes on your website with EV certificate, the address bar turns green on all major browsers. This can help in building immediate trust of everyone who visits your site.
Organization Validated Certificate
This includes the full company name and address details to provide greater sense of security to end-users. However, this type of certificate is not validated to the standards of CA/B forum. So, the browser address bar will not turn green when a visitor comes to your website.
Domain Validated Certificate: Domain validated certificate provides the same level of data validation like any other level, but the assurance of a business identity behind the website is not assured. On the contrary, EV and OV certificates are issued after a website is vetted by a certificate authority.
Types of SSL Certificate
SSL is typically deployed to secure those pages where end users are expected to put their confidential data, such as account login pages, payment forms, contact forms, etc. However, SSL certificate can be used to secure other pages of your website as well.
Single Domain Certificates
With a single domain certificate, you can secure a fully qualified domain name. It’s ideal for small to medium sized businesses with limited number of websites to manage. Single domain certificates are available in variants like DV, OV and EV depending on price points and warranty levels.
Wildcard SSL Certificates
Wildcard SSL certificate allows businesses to secure a single domain along with its unlimited sub-domains, which are available currently or you may add in the future.
Multi Domain SSL Certificate (MDC)
With multi-domain SSL certificate, you can secure multiple, distinct domains with a single certificate. You can add or remove domains as per your business needs. It’s certainly a cost-saving option.
Unified Communications Certificate (UCC)
UCC is designed to secure office communication environments like Microsoft Exchange. It allows users to include up to 100 domains on a single certificate, so there is no need to add multiple addresses per website.