An Introduction to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates — a Website Must
Ever wonder how websites help keep hackers from stealing private information, like your credit card number or passwords? The answer: SSL. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a security protocol that protects the connection between your site and the visitor. When a visitor logs in or makes purchases on your site, the client (such as a browser) sends information to your website’s server. This information can be vulnerable while traveling, making this the opportune time for hackers to strike. However, using SSL can secure the channel between client and server, making hacking much harder to pull off.
To incorporate SSL onto your site, you must obtain and install an SSL certificate. The SSL certificate identifies itself and the server to the visiting browser, establishing that the certificate is valid and the server trustworthy. It encrypts the data that travels between the browser and server.
An SSL certificate shows users that their website is extra secure. You can tell that a URL has an SSL because it begins with “HTTPS://.” These certificates are particularly reassuring if visitors give your site personal and financial information.
SSL & SEO
You actually must have an SSL certificate for Google to send people to your site; it’s their way of helping to ensure that sites found via Google are secure. So, an SSL certificate will increase your search engine optimization results and give visitors great peace of mind.
Signed Certificate Authority
You need a Certificate Authority (CA) to sign the SSL certificates to have a valid certificate. CAs are trusted sources whose credentials are automatically recognized by browsers as trustworthy. You can sign an SSL certificate yourself, but a self-signed certificate will typically generate a pop-up on your site that says the site is “not trusted.” This message can scare away many visitors, so we recommend not self-signing a certificate.
There are three kinds of validation in the SSL certificate world. Each has a different level of verification associated with it. Consequently, the more guarantee your site undergoes, the more trustworthy it appears to visitors. It’s a tradeoff: quickness of setup vs. trustworthiness.
- Domain Validated Certificates: A Domain Validated (DV) certificate only verifies that you own the site’s domain name. This certificate does not take long to process. DV certificates are suitable for sites that don’t deal with highly sensitive information.
- Organization Validated Certificates: An Organization Validated (OV) certificate verifies that you own the site’s domain name and that your business exists. Naturally, the certificate vendor or authority will need company documents for verification.
- Extended Validation Certificates: An Extended Validation (EV) certificate verifies that the domain belongs to you, the business exists, and you are who you say you are. The certificate vendor or authority will need company documents and proof of ownership for verification. From there, they will verify the legal and physical existence of the business and make sure it matches official records.
Certificates can also cover a single domain, a single domain and its subdomains, or multiple domains. Generally speaking, the more domains you cover with a single certificate, the more difficult the certificate is to verify initially and the more costly.
- Single Domain Certificates: These cover exactly one domain you own, such as “example.com.”
- Wildcard Certificates: These cover one domain you own, plus all subdomains of that domain, including “example.com,” “images.example.com,” “blog.example.com, and so on.
- Multi-Domain Certificates: These certificates cover multiple domains such as “example.com” and “mysite.com.”
Pair Offers FREE SSL Certificates
When you host your site with Pair, we offer your domains FREE SSL certificates through the industry-trusted Let’s Encrypt. It is renewed automatically for you every 90 days.
Pair also offers PairSSL for only $10 per year; you get an easy setup and a 24/7, 365 days/year support team that’s always there to help. And finally, we offer a variety of other paid SSL certificates to meet your individual business/commerce needs.
Paid Certificate Warranty — Extra Insurance
If a paid certificate malfunctions, the providing certificate authority has a warranty in place that will help pay for losses.
Comodo, a trusted authority in the SSL industry, backs our PairSSL certificates. Click here to check out their warranty.
Certificate Management in Our ACC
With a pairSSL certificate, you can easily manage your certificates from our Account Control Center.
Paid certificates are usually purchased yearly, and renewal is often automatic. A Pair, you can also choose to pay for more than one year upfront. In this case, you wouldn’t have to renew (manage) the certificate and would enjoy multi-year discounts.
To activate your SSL, you simply:
- Log in at my.pair.com
- Click Security
- Click Manage Your SSL
- (for free) Enable Let’s Encrypt
- (to buy) Order pairSSL
It’s that easy!