What is an SSL certificate?
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server. Encryption involves data, often referred to as plaintext, being scrambled using an encryption algorithm and an encryption key. This process generates cipher text that can only be viewed in its original form if decrypted with the correct key.
An SSL certificate serves as an electronic “passport” that establishes an online entity’s credentials when doing business on the Web, giving you a basic level of security and reassuring the person accessing your website that their information (such as card details) is safe. When an Internet user attempts to send confidential information to a Web server, the user’s browser accesses the server’s digital certificate and establishes a secure connection.
An SSL certificate contains the following information:
- The certificate holder’s name
- The certificate’s serial number and expiration date
- A copy of the certificate holder’s public key
- The digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority
Why do you need one on your site?
SSL security is important because the information you send on the Internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server. If it isn’t encrypted then any computer in between you and the server can see your credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, and other sensitive information. This protects the data while it is making this journey from hackers and fraudsters.
Trusted SSL providers will only issue an SSL certificate to a verified company that has gone through several identity checks. Certain types of SSL certificates, like EV SSL Certificates, require more validation than others.
Google even shows which websites are secured by outlining them in search results, and they even announced that SSL websites will be able to rank higher than non SSL websites, which alone would be a good enough reason to invest for a very easy boost in SEO. Google chrome is even predicted to start showing unsecured websites with a red X symbol, effectively shaming website owners who run unsecured websites, so to avoid the day this happens coming around get an SSL certificate for your website today.
An SSL certificate will cost a small amount of money, but is essential if you have a site that performs online transactions, and even if you just accept enquiries from customers via a contact form it could also be beneficial to invest in SSL for this purpose. Assisting with obtaining SSL certificates is just one of the services we offer, so don’t be scared to get in touch for a chat if this is unfamiliar territory!