Cyber criminals are constantly on the lookout to attack and they are not partial to who you are or what your website is about. So, whether it’s a company website, e-commerce platform or a blog for your hobbies, you are obligated to install an SSL certificate. We will explain, what an SSL certificate is and why it’s important, but the main aim is to provide a guide to use before you buy an SSL certificate.
What Is an SSL Certificate?
Secure Sockets Layer, SSL, Certificates are data files that authenticate websites. How do they do this? SSL certificates legitimize websites using encryption and the https protocol.
Once activated these two work together to secure connections between the web server and browser.
Are SSL Certificates Important?
SSL Certificates are super important to both website owners and users, particularly those collecting personal information. It basically tells users that your site is safe and secure and they can trust you. The major tool SSL certificate uses to do this is encryption, which helps prevent hackers from stealing data.
If organizations fail to protect their clients and their personal information, it could prove costly for a client or company. That’s why it is crucial that businesses secure their websites using SSL Certificates.
1. Which SSL Certificate is right for you?
Each website is unique, even if they are doing similar things. This means that yours is too. And because of this fact, there are some factors that must be considered before you decide to buy SSL certificate, because not all SSL certificates are created equal. Here’s a complete guide to buying SSL certificates. Let’s start by looking at the different types of SSL certificates to choose from.
Types of SSL Certificate:
The first thing to know is that there are three different types of SSL Certificates for users to choose from.
- Extended Validation (EV SSL)
- Organization Validated (OV SSL)
- Domain Validated (DV SSL).
Extended Validation -EV SSL- Certificates
Extended Validation SSL Certificates, like the others, guarantee users that they’re using a safe and authentic website. However, if you are a major brand, bank or financial institution site dealing with sensitive information, EV SSL may be your best option of the three because it offers the highest level of security. Plus, it’s the easiest to identify.
Organization Validated -OV SSL- Certificates
The OV SSL certificate is a happy medium. It does not call for as much verification as the EV SSL certificate, but gives more trust than the Domain Validated – DV SSL – certificates.
So, if you are a government, corporation or another type of business seeking to give your clients a little extra layer of confidence, OV SSL is for you.
Domain Validated (DV SSL) Certificates
Finally, there are the DV SSL certificates, which are the most common type. Like all the others, they offer encryption. However, it’s only basic encryption. You can get Domain Validated Certificates in a matter of minutes, because the Certifying Authority will just verify that you are the domain owner.
These are still a great match for websites looking to meet the standard encryption level for websites online. Also, if you are a small to medium-sized business and want cheap SSL certificates without the hassle, the DV SSL is best and most affordable option.
2. Who to buy from.
The next thing to bear in mind when buying an SSL Certificate is who you are buying it from. Similar to when you are choosing a web hosting provider; ensure you get an SSL certificate from a reputed certificate authority such as Comodo, now called Sectigo. Comodo and others like it are ‘brand name’ with trust-seals that users recognize worldwide.
It is easy to get tempted to source SSL certificates from cheap, questionable sources because after all, SSL provide encryption. However, encryption is only half of what these certificates do.
Remember, they verify your site & tell users they can trust you and people tend to gravitate towards brands they know and recognize.
3. Term options
It’s always good to save a buck or two and so opting for six months or one year term may seem cheaper. However, opting for two years – the maximum period for which you can buy an SSL certificate – gets you a substantial discount and saves you a whole lot more.
4. Security requires more than an SSL certificate
For many people, an SSL certificate is a one-stop solution as it relates to securing a website. However, this is not the case. So when you buy and install an SSL certificate, remember that it only secures data in transit and not the information stored on your systems and servers. So, while they are important to web security, don’t expect them to do everything.
5. Added security features
As mentioned before, SSL certificates are not a one stop shop for website security. So, you will need to get additional security tools for your site. However, there are SSL brands that offer some security elements with an SSL certificate, significantly reducing your need to pay for extra website security certificate.
In addition to those things, there are other things that indicate a good SSL purchase. These include browser compatibility, the level of support from SSL experts and the refund and warranty policies in place.
SSL certificate ensure a secure digital tunnel is created to prevent hackers and cyber thieves from seeing personal and sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card numbers. But the SSL certificate to decide to buy should match your website needs. So, if your website collects a massive amount of sensitive data from users, you want to opt for the EV level security. The rule of thumb though is to buy according to your website security needs.