Did you know that getting an SSL certificate is the most important security measure you can take to protect your website and business? Without an SSL certificate, you are leaving your website exposed to a slew of cyber security breaches, data thefts, and other malicious attacks. That’s why, if you don’t have it already, it’s time to get an SSL certificate! However, the process of securing your website with an SSL certificate can feel overwhelming. With so many different providers, options, and certifications available, it’s easy to get confused and lost in SSL technicalities. But don’t worry — if you’re wondering how to get an SSL certificate and why it’s important for your website, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll take you through the entire process of getting an SSL certificate from start to finish, so that you can confidently secure your website and keep your data safe. Let’s get started!

Quick Overview of Key Question

An SSL, or secure sockets layer, certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using secure encryption algorithms. The primary purpose of an SSL certificate is to provide security when transmitting data between a browser and web server.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate, or Secure Sockets Layer certificate, is a technology that provides security for communications between two devices over the internet. These certificates are used to encrypt data exchanged between websites and visitors. They prevent unwanted third parties from obtaining access to sensitive information. Moreover, they validate the identity of the website, giving users peace of mind that their data is protected.

SSL Certificates are especially important for e-commerce websites such as online stores, where customers are submitting confidential information like credit card numbers and addresses. Without one, the connexion could be vulnerable to interception by malicious actors. This not only puts customers at risk of having their personal and financial details stolen, but can also damage the reputation of the business and potentially lead to legal action.

On the other hand, some argue that investing in an SSL Certificate is not necessary for most websites. Low-traffic sites with minimal user interaction (such as blogs) don’t store or transmit sensitive information, so there is less risk associated. Furthermore, since most web hosting providers now offer free HTTPS connexions, anyone can easily make their site compliant with very little effort or cost.

Overall, it’s wise to invest in an SSL Certificate if you run a business website with an e-commerce platform or if you require your visitors to submit private data. It ensures your website will be secured against hackers and builds trust amongst your customers that you have their safety in mind. With this in mind, let’s move on and explore what the HTTPS Protocol is and how it works.

What is the HTTPS Protocol?

HTTP and HTTPS are types of computer network protocols: rules which govern how data should be transferred between two devices over a network. HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, while HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. The ‘S’ in HTTPS indicates that the protocol is secure — all communication between your web browser and the website you connect to is encrypted. This encryption prevents eavesdroppers from intercepting and reading communications like usernames, passwords, credit card information or other sensitive data.

HTTPS is the most secure form of communication on the internet and it is increasingly being used by websites to protect their users’ privacy and security. Though there is no definitive answer on whether using HTTPS can help SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) rankings, many believe that Google looks favourably upon it. Therefore for website owners, investing in an SSL certificate as part of their overall website security plan may be beneficial. On the other hand, it may be argued that installing an SSL certificate unnecessarily can lead to performance issues due to encryption overhead; this depends on the type of website hosting solution being used by the owner in question.

Regardless of the debate about its potential impact on SEO ranking over HTTP sites, securing your website with HTTPS has become an essential component for websites looking to offer enhanced user safety and privacy.

Ultimately, implementing HTTPS on a website or web application is faster, simpler and more cost effective than ever before — making it a no-brainer for website owners who want to prioritise their visitors’ privacy and security. With this in mind, let’s move onto our overview of how the HTTPS protocol works.

Overview of the HTTPS Protocol

The HTTPS protocol is an essential component of web security. It is a secure communications layer between a server and client, allowing for encrypted communications. It offers authentication of the website that users are visiting, providing a level of protection against malicious actors who seek to intercept traffic or alter data in transit.

At its core, HTTPS works by using the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol to encrypt data during transit. TLS establishes a secure connexion by having each party verify the other through exchanging identifying keys. By validating keys, traffic can be established without fear of tampering or interception by third-parties. TLS also uses certificates issued by Certificate Authorities (CAs) to ensure trust between parties, further enhancing web security.

Businesses have differing stances on the implementation of HTTPS protocols. Implementing HTTPS requires additional time and effort, as a valid SSL certificate needs to be obtained from a Certificate Authority for every website you wish to secure. As such, some businesses consider it to be more trouble than its worth. On the other hand, organisations like Google are encouraging all websites to take HTTPS security measures seriously by indexing only secured sites in their search engine results and labelling unsecured sites unsafe in the browser.

Finally with proper implementation, HTTPS protocols provide added encryption options that can significantly reduce the occurrence of data breaches and other malicious activities. With this in mind, it is clear that HTTPS protocols are indispensable in enhancing web security today).

With that said, let’s delve into the benefits of implementing HTTPS protocols on your website next.

  • According to the GlobalSign 2020 SSL/TLS Survey, the majority of websites still lack basic encryption, with only 52.2% making use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates.
  • Cloudflare’s 2020 State of SSL Research Report found that in 2020, 83% of websites now contain a valid SSL certificate.
  • The GlobalSign 2018 Trust & Security Report found that nearly 97% of IT professionals felt that digital certificates were necessary to protect their organisation from cyber threats.

Benefits of the HTTPS Protocol

The HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) protocol has a number of distinct advantages that make it advantageous for any website to adopt. Generally, HTTPS is used when sensitive data is exchanged online; typically, data regarding users such as passwords and financial information. The main benefit of the HTTPS protocol is that it provides data encryption. By encrypting data, websites using the HTTPS protocol provide an extra layer of protection from malicious actors or hackers attempting to intercept secure data. With the encryption, if someone were to gain access to the data being transmitted, they would not be able to actually use it because of its encrypted nature.

In addition, the added security provided by HTTPS means increased user confidence in a website’s reliability. Most web browsers display a green padlock to show users that a website is safe and secure whenever it utilises the HTTPS protocol. This is an effective way of building customer trust and conveying legitimacy. As we live in an increasingly digital world, it is critical that websites are secure, both in appearance and behind-the-scenes.

On the other hand, some argue that adopting the HTTPS protocol will cause website performance dips due to increased page loading times. Historically speaking, that may have been true due to limitations in computing power and older technologies used with encryption algorithms; however, modern computers are more than capable of facilitating quick technology advancements with no real decrease in website performance when utilised properly.

To sum up, utilising HTTPS on a website is beneficial from an overall security standpoint, helping keep user data safe from theft or manipulation. It also instils confidence and trust among users visiting the website – something which can be crucial for business success in the digital age – without sacrificing any significant performance levels on the fronts of speed or responsiveness. In conclusion, driven by these benefits, most websites should use the HTTPS protocol if not already; however, there is an additional measure businesses can take to further enhance their online security: getting an SSL Certificate from a trusted provider like DigiCert or GlobalSign – which will be discussed further in the next section.

Benefits of an SSL Certificate

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate is a digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and allows secure connexions from a web server to a browser. By having an SSL Certificate implemented on your website, you can provide an additional layer of security and assurance to your customers. In addition to the security and assurance benefits, there are many other advantages that accompany SSL Certificates.

One advantage of having an SSL Certificate is increased search engine ranking. A study conducted by Moz showed that among the top search engine results pages (SERPs), more than 90% of them carried domains with valid SSL Certificates installed.

Having an SSL Certificate will also ensure data integrity for both consumers and businesses. It helps your visitors know that the information they provide on your website is transmitted securely to your web server, ensuring that their sensitive data is kept confidential and out of the wrong hands. This reduces potential damage due to data security breaches or cyber attacks.

SSL Certificates also provide authentication, meaning that it safeguards users against malicious activities such as phishing attempts or identity theft. By authenticating a site’s legitimacy, an SSL Certificate can help protect users from any attempts at fraud or impersonation of the domain owner.

While the implementation of SSL Certificates comes with numerous advantages, there are some downsides associated with them as well. The primary disadvantage is that it requires technical knowledge and time. For businesses without in-house technical support staff, this can be difficult to implement and manage. Additionally, some browsers may produce warnings about websites using self-signed certificates rather than ones backed by a trusted authority such as Symantec or Comodo.

By providing an additional layer of security, authentication, improved SERP ranking, and ensuring data integrity, the advantages of having an SSL Certificate greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Implementing an SSL Certificate on your website is essential for keeping your customer’s private data safe and secure – proving doubly important when processing payments online – thus helping make sure your business’s trustworthiness remains intact.

Now that we have explored the many benefits of having an SSL Certificates, let’s look at how to instal one on your website in the following section.

Top Takeaways

SSL Certificates provide enhanced security, authentication, improved search engine ranking and data integrity. They guard against malicious activities such as phishing attempts and identity theft while impressing visitors with the website’s trustworthiness. Implementing an SSL Certificate requires technical expertise, though their advantages far outweigh any disadvantages.

How to Instal an SSL Certificate

Once you’ve purchased an SSL Certificate, the next step is to instal it onto your web server. This part of the process usually requires technical knowledge and can also vary depending on what type of server your website is hosted on, as well as the type of SSL Certificate you purchased. It’s important to follow your hosting or web services provider’s instructions carefully and make sure that you complete each step correctly in order to properly secure your website.

When it comes to SSL installation, there are generally two options: installing the certificate yourself, or having it installed by a hosting professional. Although both options can safely be used to effectively implement an SSL, each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Installing the certificate yourself allows a website owner complete control over the process and ensures they get exactly what they want out of their purchase. By doing it themselves, they can save time, money, and ensure accuracy with their installation. However, this route may require more knowledge than some who are inexperienced with hosting services possess; mistakes in the installation process could result in dangerous security flaws which would leave their site vulnerable to attack.

Having a hosting professional handle the installation saves website owners from needing to learn about how these certificates work and takes away much of the stress associated with implementation. A professional will know exactly how to handle any potential issues that may come up during installation and also be able to ensure that users don’t miss out on any features or benefits posed by different certifications. However, this option may require additional fees or waiting times due to having to book professional services outside of what’s offered through their host.

Whichever option you go with, make sure that your SSL Certificate is properly installed and configured on your web server before allowing customers and visitors onto your website via HTTPS connexions. Doing so will help protect both your users and your business from cyber-attacks while providing a secure browsing environment for all who visit your pages.

Now that we’ve discussed how to instal an SSL Certificate securely, let’s take a look at the various types of certificates available so we can select the option which best suits our needs in the next section.

Types of SSL Certificates

When it comes to securing a website, SSL certificates are one of the most popular methods currently used. However, businesses must be aware of the different types of SSL certificates available to them before making a decision on which will best suit their needs. The three primary types of SSL certificates are domain validation (DV) certificates, organisation validation (OV) certificates and extended validation (EV) certificates.

Domain Validation (DV) Certificates are the most basic type and provide encryption on a single website. This is a good option for small businesses or personal websites as it requires limited vetting, contains no organisation details and it is generally available quite quickly after submission. The downside being that these types of certificates might not show much trust to visitors of the website as they don’t contain any verifying information about your business activities or identity.

Organisation Validation (OV) Certificates go a step further and provide authentication of the company running the website too; along with encryption. This type requires that the certificate provider perform a simple verification process to ensure that the organisation requesting the certificate actually exists and is legally allowed to operate websites under its own name. For example, verifying public records and other documents such as Articles of Incorporation or licencing agreements may be required by some providers before they can grant you an OV certificate. The upside here being that visitors viewing your site through browsers such as Chrome will see your company name in green within the address bar; showing more trust than a DV certificate can offer potential customers.

The Extended Validation (EV) Certificate is the highest level of endorsement an SSL issuer can give a website. It requires a comprehensive vetting process which typically goes beyond what an OV certificate requires for document verification; going into more detail about who runs this business and why they should be trusted. As a result, EV certificates take much longer to issue when compared to OV or DV; but offer maximum trust from customers viewing your site as Chrome shows your Company Name in green font twice in the address bar when EV is enabled.

It is important to recognise that there are pros and cons associated with each type of SSL certificate, depending on what best suits your requirements or budget, before taking further steps towards implementation and possibly purchasing one. Furthermore, if an SSL certificate isn’t suitable for your particular project there are alternatives that can offer similar security measures too; which we’ll discuss in detail in our next section…

Alternatives to SSL Certificates

For some, SSL certificates can be costly in terms of time, money, or resources and so may not be feasible for all businesses. If the cost is the main reason for not using certificates, it may be possible to purchase a lower quality option in order to save money. For those who are unwilling to invest in an SSL certificate but want to benefit from some level of security, there are other alternates available.

One such method is to use a simple HTTP password system. Setting up such a system requires minimal effort and costs nothing. It works by forcing users to identify themselves with a username and password before they can access the website’s content. However, this approach doesn’t provide the same level of assurance as an SSL certification. The only way to guarantee that traffic between server and user is encrypted is through an SSL certificate.

Another option is to use TLS (Transport Layer Security) instead of SSL on web pages without forms. TLS works in much the same way as SSL does by providing encrypted connexions between client and server machines. TLS offers less encryption than SSL but still provides a layer of security for any data transmitted over the connexion.

In conclusion, while implementing an SSL certificate from a reliable provider is the safest way to secure your website, if you cannot do this due to prohibitive costs then there are alternatives that can offer some degree of protection from hackers and other malicious actors. Password protection systems are one low-cost solution, while TLS can help protect data transmitted over unsecured connexions, although neither offers the total protection offered by an approved certificate – it is ultimately up to individual businesses how they balance security expectations against budgetary constraints.

Commonly Asked Questions

How does an SSL certificate secure website data?

An SSL certificate helps to secure website data by encrypting the traffic between a web server and browser. This means that any sensitive or confidential information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, is kept private and secure. When an SSL certificate is installed on a website, visitors will see a padlock icon in the address bar with HTTPS in the URL. This indicates that their data is being transmitted via a secure channel which uses encryption protocols to protect it from unauthorised third parties. Without an SSL certificate, the data is sent across networks unencrypted, making it vulnerable to interception and exploitation.

What are the advantages of having an SSL certificate?

Having an SSL Certificates offers many benefits to users and businesses. Firstly, it provides a secure connexion between the user’s web browser and the website they are visiting. This ensures that any sensitive data such as credit card numbers, passwords, or personal information is encrypted and kept safe from potential hackers.

Additionally, having an SSL Certificate increases customer trust in your website. Websites with an SSL Certificate appear in the address bar with a padlock icon, informing customers that their data is secure and encouraging them to purchase from your website confidently.

Furthermore, Google now uses HTTPS as a ranking signal for search engine optimisation (SEO), so websites with SSL Certificates have increased chances of appearing higher up in organic search results. Finally, having an SSL Certificate can help to protect you from legal liabilities of improperly collecting sensitive customer data.

Ultimately, having an SSL Certificate helps to increase security and trust for both customers and the business owner alike.

How can I obtain an SSL certificate for my website?

In order to obtain an SSL certificate for your website, you will need to find an SSL Certificate provider. These providers offer different types of SSL Certificates, so it is important that you research your options and purchase one that best meets the needs of your website.

When choosing a provider, make sure they are accredited by a Certificate Authority such as Comodo, Symantec, and Thawte, and check their customer testimonials to ensure you are dealing with a reputable company. Once you have chosen your provider and purchased the SSL Certificate you will be provided with instructions on how to instal the security certificate on your web server.

The other factor that can influence your decision when selecting an SSL Certificate is the type of encryption used. Most certificates come with 256-bit encryption which is considered state-of-the-art. You may also want to look into extended validation certificates which provide enhanced visibility to customers as well as additional authentication checks during issuance processes.

Overall, obtaining an SSL certificate for your website is not complicated but it is important to do your research before making a purchase in order to ensure that you get the best product for your needs.

Last Updated on February 27, 2023

Matt Jackson

E-commerce SEO expert, with over 10 years of full-time experience analyzing and fixing online shopping websites. Hands-on experience with Shopify, WordPress, Opencart, Magento, and other CMS.
Need SEO help? Email me for more info, at info@matt-jackson.com