Also known as a Secure Socket Later, an SSL certificate allows website owners to add a level or encryption between the web server and visitors to the site. Primarily, this encryption aims to secure any data that may be exchanged between the server and the browser used by a visitor. It also aims to maintain the privacy of the visitor to a website. Most websites that allow for online transactions provide their customers with this added layer of protection while the transaction is taking place.
What information do SSL Certificates contain?
Typically, they contain information like the domain name, the location of its server, validity information about the certificate itself and details of the ownership of the certificate.
SSL certificates act as a certificate of a website"s identity and authenticity. Because of the security they provide, they also improve the credibility of an organization. For visitors to the website, they provide security of data that is passed from the visitor"s browser to the website, making it inaccessible to others. They also help ensure confidentiality of all shared information. Lastly, they ensure the security of all transactions conducted on the website that has the certificate.
Types of SSLs
When visitors to a website share personal information like credit card details, bank account details, passwords, etc., the onus of ensuring that this information is secure lies on the website. To ensure this security, the website needs to use SSLs, in order to establish a secure connection between a visitor"s browser and the website and prevent fraud. Web hosting companies often offer these certificates to clients by way of a value addition to the hosting account.
When signing up for a web hosting account, you should make sure that you get a genuine SSL and not wildcard SSLs, which are not as secure.
Sometimes websites need to create multiple sub-domains and provide security on these multiple sub-domains. This can be done using sub domain SSLs. Sometimes, owners of sub-domains use the SSL of the primary domain user. If the primary domain owner is a different entity than the sub-domain owner, then the SSL is not owned by the owner of the main domain and not person who creates the sub-domain.
Impact of sub-domain SSLs:
· The primary purpose of an SSL is to identify the website ownership. This purpose is defeated since you would not own the certificate.
· As a result, the security of transactions done on the sub-domain may be questionable
· Any SEO value and Google Page Rank would automatically get transferred to the owner of the certificate and your website would lose these benefits.
Does this mean that all sellers of cheap SSL certificates are cheats? Not necessarily. You can ensure the authenticity of the certificate through these simple questions that your web hosting provider should answer.
· Does your website have a dedicated IP address? You would be able to get a dedicated IP address only from hosting companies that sell genuine SSLs.
· Which domain is the SSL issued to? If your web hosting provider is genuine, then the certificate would be issued to your domain.
Choosing SSL Certificates
A thing to note is that the cost should never be the primary concern while choosing an SSL certificate. As long as it"s genuine, both cheap and expensive certificates perform the same function. What is of greater importance is that you get a genuine certificate from a genuine web hosting company. Cheap SSL certificates are not bad -- but you need to make sure they are genuine certificates issued to your domain.
Source by Tanya A Smith