What Are SSL Certificates and Why You Need to Have One in 2021?
It Comes Down to Trust, Transparency, and Search Rank
It is 2021, and website or cybersecurity is increasingly on the minds of business owners and website visitors alike. Remember the Equifax breach and the WannaCry scare? There always seems to be a myriad of threats out to get your website. Well, maybe it’s not quite that bad. But business owners need to focus on website security as part of their overall online presence. And SSL Certificates are a great way to start!
Over 90% of the world’s HTTP traffic was expected to be secured over SSL/TLS by the end of 2019. CA Security Council
Ever heard of SSL, or even know what it is? SSL Certificates are uncharted territory for most small business owners. Most have never heard of them. Very few go to the trouble of getting one. Many have no idea what the benefits are. So what is an SSL Certificate, and why must you have one in 2021?
Different Businesses Need Different SSL Certificates
In short, yes, every website must have an SSL Certificate in 2021! Even if you simply have an informational website, blog, or online resume or CV, you must have one. Google uses SSL Certificates as ranking signals. And since 2018, SSL is a Google requirement. If your site does not have an SSL Certificate, your visitors will be greeted by a red warning screen instead of your website.
If you have an e-commerce site, process payment transactions, collect client data such as social security and credit card numbers, or transmit other sensitive data, an SSL Certificate is even more essential.
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate, also sometimes called a digital certificate, encrypts data as it is transferred from a web browser to a server. Typically, this data is sent as text. With an SSL Certificate, it adds a layer of security to prevent it from being obtained and utilized by a third-party.
Default protocol https is used by 62.1% of all the websites. W3Techs
HTTPS is essential for websites that handle sensitive information like social security numbers, credit card numbers, phone numbers, and home addresses. If your website is an online store, membership-based organization, or another site that requires your customers’ details, you want an SSL Certificate.
What Type of SSL Certificate is Best for You?
There are many types of Certificates that provide different levels of security and encryption. Before you can select the most suitable SSL Certificate for your business website, you must first know the basic types of Certificates and the difference between them.
Different Types of SSL Certificates
There are four basic types of SSL Certificates. Once you understand the difference between them, you will have a much better understanding of which kind of Certificate to get for your site.
Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates
The Certification Authority (CA) thoroughly checks the right of the user for a specific domain name. It also audits the organization to ensure that it follows the EV guidelines ratified by the CA/Browser forum. It enables the green padlock at the address bar that leaves your website visitors assured about the site’s security without any doubt.
Organization Validation (OV) SSL Certificates
The CA conducts a basic vetting of the organization along with the right to use a specific domain. This information about the organization is also available to the visitors when they check the certification details. However, it is not that the thorough check conducted for an EV certificate. Therefore it provides much more limited encryption and protection.
Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificates
The CA only checks the applicant’s right to use the specific domain, and there is no business or organization vetting. A DV SSL is the least secure SSL Certificate you can get, and it provides little or no encryption or protection. It merely tells visitors you own the domain. They can find that out on WhoIs as well.
Wildcard SSL Certificates
If you have multiple subdomains and want to secure them, all you will need to purchase a Wildcard Certificate. Usually, they are costly, and well beyond the needs of almost any small business, unless you happen to be a web designer!
Any of the above will work if you have a simple business website and want to add that extra layer of trust and transparency for potential customers. Of course, the stronger the SSL Certificate, the better. I recommend any small business that considers getting an SSL Certificate go for the extended validation.
Types of SSL Certificates for E-Commerce
EV SSL Certificates are the most secure, but they are more expensive. If you are a startup or small business owner, you might not have the budget to pay a lot for a certificate. EV is suitable for medium to large enterprises. If you want to invest in long-term profit by building your credibility as the most trusted business, there is no better choice than an EV SSL certificate!
85% of online shoppers avoid unsecured websites. GlobalSign
If you have just started your online business, you most likely have limited funds. If you want to assure your consumers about the safety of their sensitive information, you should buy at least an Organization Validation (OV) Certificate. Since it only verifies you own it, the Domain Validation (DV) Certificate is not enough to protect sensitive data.
At best, the DV certificate can protect your customers’ login and password details by protecting your site against malware. If you have an e-commerce site and collect credit card and other sensitive information, it is advisable to buy an SSL Certificate that provides organization validation. An EV certificate will cover all the bases.
How to Get SSL Certificates
From Your Web Host
I recommend that you get SSL Certificates directly from your web hosting service provider. Many of them, including WPEngine, BlueHost, LiquidWeb, Siteground, and InMotion will provide you with FREE basic SSL Certificates, and install them as part of your purchase. Believe me, that is what you want! Installing and configuring SSL Certificates is definitely not for the faint of heart.
From the Certificate Authority
Of course, if you want to go hardcore, you can order your Certificates directly from the Certificate Authority. To do so, you must have a Unique IP Address, update your WhoIs records, and submit a Certificate Signing Request (CSR.) Once again, I advise against that, unless you want to go for the bald look by pulling your hair out!
How Quickly Can You Get an SSL Certificate?
How quickly you get your certificate depends on what type of certificate you get and which certificate provider you use. DV Certificates are usually available within a few minutes. For OV Certificates, you may have to wait from an hour to a few days after submitting all required documentation. For EV Certificates, you may have to wait several days to a few weeks while the CA validates the information.
So, Should You Get an SSL Certificate?
Yes, I recommend it. Given that free SSL certificates are readily available, you have no excuse for failing to encrypt your website. If your website visitors don’t get that sense of security from your business website, they will simply go somewhere else. And that can hurt your bottom line.
If you have an e-commerce site, you definitely will need an SSL Certificate. Many consumers will not even look at your store if they don’t see that little padlock next to your domain URL. And don’t forget that SSL Certificates quickly pay for themselves merely through increased sales.
Google has been using HTTPS as a ranking signal since 2014. Google Webmaster Central Blog
But buyers beware! Be careful and do your research before you purchase Certificates. Make sure you understand what you are getting for your money. You want to make sure your SSL Certificate covers all your needs, includes installation, and is available through your hosting provider. We are here to help!
We Can Help You Secure Your Website
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of website consulting and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, brand design, and WordPress optimization.
Feel free to reach out to us and learn more about our business website consulting services. As a top web development company, we can help you determine what type of Certificate you need, configure it, and prevent you from pulling out your hair.
Do You Have an SSL Certificate?
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Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!
By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO