A Brief Discussion on SSL Certificates for Your Websites

Security is a big issue in the world of the Internet. In order to tackle this problem, implementing secuirty methods are necessary to encrypt data while transferring it over a server. SSL or Security Sockets Layer is a popular security method used to protect sensitive information like credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, user names, passwords and others during online data transmission. A wide range of SSL packages are there in the market to cater to diferent security needs of websites and their domains. The following paragraphs will provide you a comprehensive guidance on issues like:

  • How the certificates works

  • What type of SSL certificate is ideal for your site

  • Warranty issue

  • Troubleshooting the common installation problems

  • Tips to choose the right certificate

Necessity to use SSL

It is very common for online stores to collect credit card number of customers while processing an online purchase. If your website collects credit card information or any other sensitive information mentioned above from users, then you need an SSL certificate. These security certificates also give protection against phising schemes and help you gain the trust of your customers. In addition to the factors mentioned above, Google is now offering small boost in ranking to websites that use HTTPS.

The way it works

SSL certificates use a private and a public key and these keys function together to set up an encrypted connection. When you are not using any SSL certificate for your website, data is transferred as plain text between the server and a browser. This makes the data easily accessible by hackers.

Common SSL certificates

There are three common types of certificates that are available in the market.

  • Organisation-validated SSL certificate

  • Domain-validated SSL certificate and

  • EV or ‘extended validation’certificate

Depending on the security level your website requires, choose the one that is ideal for you.

Organisation-validated SSL certificates:

  • These are also known as high assurance certificates.

  • This type of products needs real agents to confirm the domain ownership along with information like name, city, county (or, state) and country.

  • The processing time ranges from a few hours to a few days and it is recommended for almost every businesses and organisations.

Domain-validated SSL certificates:

  • These products are also known as low assurance certificates.

  • Automated validation involved with these products indicates, the domain is registered and the request is approved by an administrator.

  • To complete the validation process, the webmaster confirms through email or DNS record configuration.

  • Processing time ranges from few minutes to few hours and this security certificate is recommended to use only on internal systems.

Extended validation or EV SSL certificates:

  • This type of security certificates ensures that a business is legal and needs to provide business information to prove its domain ownership.

  • On purchasing an EV certificate, your website’s browser bar will show a greem coloured padlock to tell your customers that they will have secured transactions here.

  • This product is recommended mostly for eCommerce websites and processing time usually takes few days to a few weeks.

Warranty isue and popular vendoors

Prices for SSL certificates differ widely, based on the amount warranty coverage. It is important to remember that the warranty involved in SSL certificates is not meant for you, that is the purchaser. Rather, it is meant for end users or your customers. Some of the popular vendoors include DigiCert, GeoTrust and Symantec. Moreover, there are also many third-party like Comodo and NameCheap. These brands usually offer products at more reasonable prices.

Some common errors related to your SSL certificate

The most common types of errors that occur include the following:

  • Certificate name mismatch

  • Serving mixed content

  • Certificates expired and

  • Missing intermediate certificate

Certificate name mismatch error occurs due to requesting an SSL certificate for a mismatched domain name. Serving both HTTP and HTTPS content or mixed content can make your certificate invalid. This problem arises because you need to load all your content from a secure source.

Tips to choose your right certificate

Here are some tried and tested tips to choose the right certificate.

  • First identify the property types (domains and sub domains) that you want to protect.

  • Make sure, whether you want to protect a single property or multiple properties.

  • Lastly, decide the level of protection you require.

Extended validation certificates have high protection level whereas, organisation-validation and domain-validation have medium and low level protection respectively.

Purchasing securtity certificates from any third-party reseller proves to be the most cost-effective option.

02 Feb, 2017


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