A Beginner's Guide to SSL: What It is & Why It Makes Your Website More Secure

As an ecommerce business owner, you're no doubt aware of the importance of online security. One essential way to keep your site and your customers safe is through the use of SSL certificates. In this guide, we'll take a closer look at SSL, the different types of certificates available, how to get one, and why it's so crucial for your online business.

What is an SSL certificate?

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security protocol that encrypts data between a web server and browser. It ensures that private information, such as login details or credit card numbers, cannot be intercepted by unauthorized third parties. SSL certificates provide that encryption and authentication, verifying that the site is legitimate and secure.

Types Of Certificates

Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate

This certificate is the most rigorous and costly to obtain, as it requires a thorough validation process that confirms the identity of the website owner and business. The site will display a green address bar to indicate its credibility.

Organization Validated (OV SSL) Certificate

A mid-level validation cert that requires organizations to undergo a vetting process, where their authenticity is checked by an external authority. Once approved, they can display the padlock icon and HTTPS in their website's address.

Domain Validation (DV) Certificate

The cheapest and quickest SSL certificate to obtain, as no validation checks are required. A DV SSL enables HTTPS and the padlock icon, but does not offer any business identity information. Recommended for small sites, blogs, and simple ecommerce stores.

Wildcard SSL Certificates

This certificate is ideal for those who maintain multiple sub-domains on their site. It enables SSL protection for all sub-domains without the need for individual certificates.

Unified Communications (UCC) SSL Certificate

UCC SSL Certificates protect Microsoft Exchange Server and Office Communications Server. They secure multiple domain names and different IP addresses.

Single Domain SSL Certificate

This SSL certificate provides protection for a single domain name. It is recommended for small sites with simple transactions.

How can I get an SSL certificate for my website?

Most web hosting companies offer SSL certificates for purchase, or you can get one through a Certificate Authority (CA). Once you obtain the certificate, you'll need to install it on your hosting account or web server and configure your site to use HTTPS by making some URL changes.

Is SSL good for SEO?

Yes, SSL certificates can improve your SEO rankings by providing a more secure and trusted experience for your customers. Google acknowledges SSL and has stated that HTTPS is a ranking signal. This makes it a crucial consideration for any business that wants to improve their online visibility.

How can I tell if my website has SSL?

1. The URL says 'https://' and not 'http://'.

Check your browser's address bar to view your site's URL. If it starts with 'https://,' then SSL is present on your site. If it still starts with 'http://,' then you don't have SSL.

2. You'll see a padlock icon in the URL bar.

An SSL-secured website will have a padlock icon in the address bar, indicating that the site is encrypted and verified by the CA. The padlock icon should also be green for EV SSL sites, indicating superior levels of security.