If you’re considering obtaining an SSL certificate for your website but aren’t entirely sure what it is or what the benefits are, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post we’re going to cover basics of what SSL certificates are and why you might need one.
SSL, or secure sockets layer, is a method of securely handling sensitive data such as credit card numbers, customer name and address etc. whilst this data is being transferred from a customer’s web browser and a company’s server. Possessing an SSL certificate reassures customers that information they send to your server is encrypted and also helps ensure that your site is less vulnerable to things like hackers and phishing scams.
If you are in the business of e-commerce and are taking direct payments from customers via your website, the necessity of an SSL certificate will be obvious. But even if you aren’t specifically involved in e-commerce, there may be some advantages of going ahead and purchasing an SSL certificate for your site. For example if your website uses a log-in feature or has a contact form, the data sent through these can also be encrypted via SSL for enhanced safety and security.
Another cool thing about SSL certificates is that they can actually give you an SEO ranking boost. This means that your website will be more visible in Google searches, as Google has indicated a preference for sites which are SSL secured. This was observed as far back as 2014, but whilst the initial ranking boost was somewhat negligible, now in 2017 the SEO impact of an SSL certificate is much greater. On the flip side, not only is SSL beneficial SEO-wise, but it’s also understood that not possessing an SSL certificate can actively hamper your search rankings.
Now we’re going to take a quick look at the three types of SSL certificate to try to help you determine which one is right for you. These are domain-validated, organisation-validated, and EV or extended validation certificate. Let’s take a closer look at each one in turn.
A domain-validated SSL certificate is the most basic of the three and is typically recommended for use on internal systems only. It’s also known as a low assurance certificate.
The next step up is an organisation-validated certificate which requires specific documentation from your business to prove your identity. This kind of SSL certificate is also referred to as a high assurance certificate.
If run an e-commerce website, an EV certificate is what you will want to procure. It’s the most rigorous of the three in terms of security and, as a result, can take a little bit longer to set up. It’s definitely worth it though. You can tell when you are on a site with an extended validation certificate as you will see the green padlock icon beside the https in your browser bar, indicating that the site is secure for online transactions.
So that covers our basic guide to SSL certificates. If there’s anything you think we may have left out or there’s anything you’re not entirely clear, we’d love to hear from you – either get in touch with us or leave us a comment below.