As everything is now going digital, people are more concerned about their digital assets and how they can make sure that they are approved and are more authentic. This is where an SSL certificate helps to ensure that your website looks more legitimate and trustworthy. 

This is very important for eCommerce websites, which is the primary platform for businesses to deal with their customers; an SSL certificate helps protect the information of your business and your customers. 

There are other additional benefits of SSL certificates, including a boost in the search engine search results page rankings. So, you should not waste a lot of time and decide on getting an SSL certificate.

But there are chances that you do not have a lot of ideas about all the technicalities related to websites and have no idea where to start from. Often, this can cause several unintended consequences for your website. So this is where we help you. 

We have compiled a complete guide to help you understand what SSL certificates are and how you can get them for your corporate website to prove your authenticity.

security certificate

This guide also helps you check the SSL certificate that would be most suited to your website and the one that you should get. 

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL means Secure Sockets Layer, encryption, and an SSL certificate that allows you to secure all the communication between your website and the visitor’s browser. 

There are data files that protect this information. And these data files contain domain names, server names, and essential information that is related to the company, including its location.

SSL certificates are installed on the web pages requiring personal information from its users like passwords or even payment details. Therefore, make sure that you add these certificates to the essential pages of your eCommerce website during your web development, including the payment and the login pages, to increase the authenticity of your business.

This is important as it then prevents hackers from getting access to all the data present on those encrypted pages and cannot read or steal credit card information, login credentials, passwords, or any vital information. 

The encryptions present activate a lock, preventing others from viewing the online activity, making those pages very secure. 

Without surprise, an SSL certificate is becoming vital for various social networking websites because it provides secure browsing, which is required by many. You can see that a website has an SSL certificate if it shows a little padlock on the left side of the URL.

The benefits of SSL Certificate

There are many other benefits of having an SSL certificate apart from the security of the data, which includes a boost in the search engine rankings and an increase in the conversion rates since people prefer buying from the ones who have a secure website.

Hence, you must install an SSL certificate if you have a website and offer secure sessions to your visitors. 

Another way to check the SSL certificate and know if the site is secure or not is to check the start of the URL. Notice the difference between HTTPS and HTTP. If it has ‘HTTPS://” instead of “HTTP://,” the website is secure. The “s” in “HTTPS” means secure. So, the complete form means ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.’

secure protocol
How to check if the website is secure

If you want to know more, click on the lock icon, and the following information will appear for you regarding the relevant website. 

There are five kinds of SSL certificates that are divided into two categories. Validation level and secured domains. It is essential to understand the types before you purchase an SSL certificate for your domain.

Types of SSL certificates

SSL certificates by Validation Level

Validation Level refers to identifying the company and the people applying for it by the Certification Authority (CA). This type is further divided into 3 types of certificates, explained below.

1. Domain Validated SSL certificate

This certificate shows that the domain is registered, and the site administrator does not run the URL. CA can validate it through email or HTTP. 

DNS record is a text file containing all the IP addresses that all the domain is associated with. In DNS verification, the owner can successfully validate the site as his own through the DNS record attached to the website domain. 

Domain validated SSL certificates are encryption certificates, and you only have to prove your ownership to get it. They are very easy to get.

2. Organization Validated SSL certificate

Getting this certificate indicates that you were successfully able to prove your ownership of the domain and verify your organization’s particular location, including the country, state, and city. 

It can take from hours to days to get this certificate and show its information in the certificate details. This is a very useful and beneficial certificate to win the trust of the consumers. 

3. Extended Validation SSL Certificate

This certificate requires the businesses to provide even more information than before to prove the ownership of the company. Along with the validation that the previously mentioned two certificates give, this certificate also shows that your company is legally registered.

This validation certificate also takes days and weeks, depending on the requirements of the CA. Once received, these certificates are easily identifiable by the green bar in the web browser containing the company’s name. 

It is received after you share the operational existence and the location of the company with a consistency between the two. However, it is one of the most secured certificates as it is issued with proper authority and signifies the legal registration of the domain or the business.

SSL certificates by secured domains

To get this certificate, you have to provide an entire list of the secured subdomains. This means that unless you list all the subdomains, the certificate will not automatically secure those particular domains.

If you try using it for the subdomain, not on the list, the users will get a security warning when they try to access it. 

Single-name and wildcard SSL certificates

They protect one subdomain and are the perfect option if you want to add a certificate to only a single subdomain and that you either added later or left out before. 

Wildcard SSL certificates secure many subdomains for just a single domain. 

Multi-domain SSL certificates

You can use Multi-domain SSL certificates for multiple domains by using the SAN extension. Therefore these certificates are called the SAN certificates for this reason. 

With the multi-domain SSL certificates, you have the liberty to combine various hostnames, even if they are not from the same domain. 

Difference between SSL and TLS

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) are the same protocols used by HTTPS to get additional security. SSL is an old phrase used by many people, but now TLS is the new term everyone uses. TLS is the newer version of SSL. It will be soon that SSL will be known as TLS in the future.

There are different websites where you can test the SSL of your website and know which one your website currently has. 

Source: Google Domains

Paid and free SSL certificates

Free SSL Certificate

There are companies that are offering other corporate websites and web design agencies to help their clients get free SSL certificates that will help prove their authenticity. The free SSL certificate is quick and is more appealing to websites that do not deal with very secure information edit card information. 

You can get a free SSL certificate for your website, but before you get that, you should know some important points about it before you get that. 

They are free

As mentioned above, the SSL certificate you are getting is free, and some websites are authenticated and can offer them to you. 

Different websites already include them

One such example is WordPress which has announced free HTTPS security for all the domains that will be hosted with them. It is included and is free as well. 

Some are open source

For the people working in the tech department, this is news that they would not want to miss. Some companies post their codes online on different platforms, so if anyone sees a problem in them, and they can fix it themselves. 

It helps to increase SEO rankings

If you buy an SSL certificate or use a free SSL certificate, you get a significant boost in terms of SEO rankings in both cases. Once Google knows that you have encrypted your website, it will start promoting it. 

Tech knowledge is a must

The certification authorities providing these codes have customer service support, but you still need proper knowledge to understand how it works and how to install it. 

You can also refer to the different community forums present online if any issue occurs or take help from SSL providers present 24/7 through email, phone, and chat. 

Access to DV SSL only

Many SSL providers only give DV SSLs only because of their ability to download and generate certs. 

There are strict term lengths

Some SSL providers set limitations on the renewal process for SSLs. Some certification authorities only provide SSL certificates for a particular time limit, like 90 days, meaning that you need to keep on renewing it as per your requirement constantly. 

Paid Certificates

You can also buy an SSL certificate from different retailers that can help you to keep your website safe from hackers and protect your data from getting hacked or leaked. You must know about various things before you buy an SSL certificate. 

It helps with SEO rankings

As mentioned above, if you get an SSL certificate free or buy it, it helps in SEO rankings because the search engine realizes that your website is secure. So, it starts to promote your website in terms of its rankings. Google, for example, promotes more secure sites than other sites. 

An SSL certificate can be expensive

You should know that it can be expensive to buy one. Usually, SSL certificates are purchased by companies that have a corporate website or an eCommerce website, and it is essential to show your audience that you are authentic. In other cases, it is not that important, so before you jump to buy it, analyze how important it is to buy the certificate and then decide. 

Time-consuming

Downloading and generating cersta long with installing an SSL certificate can be very time-consuming. Also, if you do not have any idea about them, it can prove to be a nightmare due to the technicalities. Therefore, it is essential to either call customer support or gets help from a tech expert. 

Different time limits

All the SSL certificates do not have the same time limit. Some retailers offer it for one or two years, and some offer it for more. However, you need to ensure that you select the type of certificate that best suits your business type. 

Wildcard SSL certificate

A wildcard SSL certificate covers the primary domain name and has different subdomains, all of this under one certificate. You can use it to run a business with multiple servers.

Better liability protection

You get better liability protection when you buy an SSL certificate instead of getting an SSL certificate free to use. It works as insurance for your company. 

Organization Validation (OV) and Extended Validation (EV)

An Organization Validation SSL validates the website behind the website and the validation of the regular SSL required. On the other hand, Extended Validation takes this security further with their vetting process, allowing the websites to have a signature green address bar at the top of the browser indicating validation. 

Certification Authorities

Certification Authorities are the ones that provide certifications to different web applications, which means you can get your SSL certificate from any one of them. Some of the well-known CA include:

How do you buy SSL Certificate?

After you decide that you do need to buy SSL certificate along with the type, there are a few things that you need to have before you can buy it. The entire process can be narrowed down into a two-step process. 

You need to have a unique IP address. That’s because not having a unique IP address means that the older browsers and devices will not be able to view the website.

It is, however, recommended to get a wildcard SSL certificate if you are running more than one subdomain on one IP address. 

You will also require a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) before you can purchase an SSL certificate, and it is identified as a piece of text you create on your web server. It is very easy to generate one of those. The certificate authority requires the information in the CSR like the domain name, public key, company name to make the certificate. Therefore, double-check the information so nothing is incorrect. 

After you have successfully generated CSR, copy the entire content and submit it to the selected Certification Authorities. 

The second step involves proving your ownership of the domain name as mentioned in the CSR file. To do that, Certificate Authorities does a full WHOIS lookup, matching the results with the details submitted in CSR. To make sure they might even make a call or send an email, as it gets listed in the record and proves your ownership. 

After submitting your CSR and passing the checks by Certification Authorities, you will successfully receive your certificate. You will initially receive two certificates, an intermediate certificate, and a primary/root certificate. 

After that, you install them on your server, and you are good to go. 

Certificate (Crt file)

Key Takeaway

SSL certificate is essential for your business; it not only authenticates your website and gives you an advantage in Search engine rankings. Hence, not just helping you get traffic on the website but also ensuring that your customers know that you run an authenticated website and do business with you. 

Certificates help prove that you are a trustworthy business and not an imposter, and also, your customers can trust you with their private information. 

However, you must choose the certificate that is best for your business and your website, either a domain or an extended validation SSL certificate. An extended Validation SSL certificate is recommended while one has an eCommerce website. 

Apart from that, even a domain validated or organization validated SSL is also good to go. 

Pick the best certificate for your website depending on your needs and demands and whether you want to get one domain or a lot of subdomains validated.

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