SSL Certificates: are they worth having on my website?

SSL Certificate

First you may want to know what an SSL certificate is, in simple terms an SSL certificate allows secure connections from a web server to a web browser. You may have seen these on big websites such as Facebook and other large corporations for a long time but they are becoming more popular on SME (Small Medium Enterprise websites) by the day.

Usually you will see a padlock icon on your web browser when viewing a website that has an SSL certificate installed.

What are the benefits of having an SSL Certificate on my website? 

The advantage of having an SSL Certificate is that from a user’s perspective you look like a trusted company. Google have now announced that they are taking SSL Certificates into account in their ranking factor. While it’s not going to be a dramatic advantage it is definitely worth considering.

When is it essential that I have an SSL Certificate?

If you have an e-commerce website that holds a users payment information then you are required by law to have an SSL Certificate installed on your web server.  However if your website forwards the payment gateway to a third party such as PayPal it isn’t a requirement, however it is still recommended (and certain gateways do require that you have one).

When running an e-commerce store you should be aware of HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol with Secure Sockets Layer) HTTPS is a protocol which transfers encrypted data from a web server to a web browser.

The two main differences between HTTP and HTTPS are:

  • HTTPS connects on port 443, while HTTP is on port 80
  • HTTPS encrypts the data sent and received with SSL, while HTTP sends it all as plain text

Basically, if you were to send credit card details over a http connection someone could intercept this using a free piece of software called a packet sniffer. In effect, you would be broadcasting your card details to the world.

What are the different types of SSL Certificates? 

There are 3 main types of SSL Certificates these are listed below:

  1. Extended Validation: GlobalSign Extended SSL
    • This is the latest form of SSL and the most advanced form. New secure browsers such as Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox, Chrome identify with Extended Validation and activate the browser interface security enhancements such as a green URL bar when viewing the website. It lets users know that the website has the highest levels of security possible.
  2. Organisation Validation: GlobalSign Organisation SSL
    • This has been used for over 15 years, companies that want to use this have to have their company details vetted before it is issued. This again shows a padlock in the browser but doesn’t highlight the URL bar green.
  3. Domain Validation: GlobalSign Domain SSL
    • These are the most common type of SSL certificate that we supply because they can be issued almost immediately without the need to submit company paperwork. This makes Domain SSL ideal for business requiring a low cost option that is quick and effective. It still supports the same browser recognition as Organisation SSL.

Where do I purchase an SSL Certificate?

There are many companies offering SSL Certificates but how can you tell which type is correct to purchase? Be cautious when purchasing your SSL certificate because some don’t offer any verification beyond email addresses and your domain name – so this wouldn’t be ideal for an e-commerce solution.

If you are interested in securing your website with an SSL Certificate please get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.