What It is & Why It Makes Your Website More Secure
Have you ever noticed that some URLs start with “http: //” while others start with “https: //”?
You may have noticed these additional “s” when surfing websites that require sensitive information to be shared, e.g. B. when paying bills online.
But where do these additional “s” come from and what does that mean?
Simply put, the additional “s” means that your connection to this website is secure and encrypted. All data you enter will be securely shared with this website. The technology that drives this little “s” is called SSL and stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”.
As a consumer, you always want to see https: // when you visit a website that you trust with your important information. As a marketer, you should make sure that you have one or two SSLs for your audience.
So let’s talk about why SSL is a big deal.
What is an SSL certificate?
Let’s define an SSL. This definition comes directly from SSL.com:
What is an SSL?
SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted connection between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data transferred between the web server and the browser remain private
If you land on a page where a form is filled out and click submit, the information you entered may be intercepted by a hacker on an unsafe website.
This information can be anything from bank transfer details to what you enter to register for an offer. In hacker jargon, this “interception” is often referred to as a “man-in-the-middle attack”.
One of the most common types of attack is as follows: A hacker places a small, undetected eavesdropper on the server that has a website. This program waits in the background for a visitor to enter information on the website. It is activated to start collecting the information and then send it back to the hacker.
A little creepy, isn’t it?
However, when you visit a website encrypted with SSL, your browser connects to the web server, checks the SSL certificate and then binds your browser and the server. This mandatory connection is secure to ensure that no one other than you and the website can see or access what you type.
This connection is made instantly, and some even suggest that it is faster than connecting to an unsafe website. All you have to do is visit a website with SSL and voila: your connection is automatically secured.
SSL is security technology. It is a protocol for the server and web browser that ensures that the data transferred between the two is private. This is done via an encrypted link that connects the server and the browser.
Companies that request personal information from a user, such as an email address or payment information, should have SSL certificates on their website. If you have one, it means that the data you have collected is private and the customer is certain that their privacy is secure when they see this padlock and “https: //”.
SSL certificates are categorized according to the level of validation and encryption provided or the number of domains or subdomains under the certificate. There are three types of certificates that you can purchase based on the SSL you receive. Let’s talk about it in more detail.
Types of certificates
The screens covered by SSL certificates are encryption and validation as well as the domain number. They each have three classifications and can be applied for on the SSL website. Certificates are processed by a certificate authority (CA). This is software that was specially developed for the execution and issue of these certificates.
For encryption and validation certificates there are domain, organizational and extended validation. For certificates that are defined by the domain number, the types are single, multidomain and wildcard.
Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate
This certificate shows the padlock, HTTPS, company name and country in the address bar to prevent you from being mistaken for a spam website.
Extended Validation (SV) SSL are the most expensive SSLs you can get. However, they are helpful for showing the legitimacy of your domain in the address bar. In order to set up an EV-SSL, you have to prove that you are authorized to own the domain you submitted. This ensures that users legally collect the data required to perform certain actions, such as: B. a credit card number for an online transaction.
An EV SSL certificate can be purchased by any company and should be a priority for those who need identity protection. For example, if your website processes web payments or collects data, you would like to receive this certificate.
Organization validated (OV SSL) certificate
This certificate verifies that your organizational and domain verification is genuine. Organization-validated (OV) SSL certificates offer a medium level of encryption and are accessed in two steps. First, the certification body would check who owns the domain and whether the organization works legally.
In the browser, users see a small green padlock with the following company name. Use this type of certificate if you don’t have the financial resources for EV-SSL but still want to offer a moderate level of encryption.
Domain Validation (DV) certificate
The Domain Validation (DV) certificate offers a low encryption level, which is shown as a green padlock next to the URL in the address bar. This is the fastest validation you can get, and you only need a few company documents to apply.
This check is done when you add a DNS to the certification authority. For this certificate, the certification body checks the applicant’s right to own the submitted domain. (Note: DVs do not secure subdomains, only the domain itself).
In contrast to EV-SSL, the certification authority does not check identity data, so you do not know who receives your encrypted information. However, if you are part of a company that cannot afford parent SSL, a DV will do the job.
Wildcard SSL certificates
Wildcard SSL certificates are in the “Domain and subdomain number” category. Wildcard SSLs ensure that when you buy a certificate for a domain, you can use the same certificate for subdomains.
For example, if you bought a placeholder for example.com, it can be applied to mail.example.com and blog.example.com. Such an option is cheaper than getting multiple SSL certificates for one number or domain.
UCC SSL certificate (Unified Communications)
Unified communications certificates (UCCs), also known as multi-domain SSL certificates, allow multiple domain names to be on the same certificate. UCCs were created to bridge communication between a single server and a browser. Since then, however, they have been expanded to include multiple domain names from the same owner.
A UCC in the address bar shows a padlock to display the check. They can also be considered EV-SSL if they are configured to display green text, padlock, and home country. The only difference is the number of domain names associated with this certificate.
Multi-domain SSL certificates cover up to 100 domain names. If you need to change the names in any way, you can do so with the SAN (Subject Alternative Name) option. Some examples of multi-domain names that you can use are: www.domain.co.uk, www.domain.com, mail.example.com and checkout.example.com.
Single domain SSL certificate
A single domain SSL protects a domain. Please note with this certificate that you cannot use it to protect subdomains or a completely different domain.
For example, if you purchase this certificate for example.com, you cannot use it for blog.example.com or 2ndexample.com.
How can I get an SSL certificate for my website?
The first step is to determine what type of certificate you need. For example, if you host content on multiple platforms (on separate domains / subdomains), you may need different SSL certificates.
For most, a standard SSL certificate will cover your content. But for companies in a regulated industry – such as finance or insurance – it can be worthwhile with your I.T. Team to ensure that you meet the specific requirements for SSL certificates set in your industry.
The cost of SSL certificates varies, but you can get a free certificate or pay monthly to get a custom certificate. On the free side – Let’s encrypt offers free certificates, but I would strongly recommend that you have someone who is familiar with the DNS and technical setup of your website. These certificates also expire every 90 days. So make sure they are up to date.
Another important consideration is the validity period of a certification. Most of the standard SSL certificates you purchase are available by default for one to two years. However, if you are looking for longer-term options, you should consider extended certificates that offer longer periods.
Is SSL Good For SEO?
Yes. While the main purpose of SSL is to secure information between the visitor and your website, SEO also offers advantages. According to Google Webmaster Trends analysts, SSL is part of the Google search ranking algorithm.
Let’s also assume that two websites are similar in content, one is SSL enabled and the other is not. This first website may get a slight increase in rank as it is encrypted. As a result, enabling SSL on your website and pages has a clear SEO advantage.
How can I tell if my website has SSL?
When you visit a website with SSL, there are some significant differences that appear in the browser. Click here for a free SSL verification tool..
1. The URL is “https: //” and not “http: //”.
The URL should look something like the following screenshot. Remember that an SSL-encrypted website always has the “s”, which stands for “secure”. This text can also be displayed in green and follows a green padlock (another indicator that is explained below).
2. A padlock icon appears in the URL bar.
The padlock is displayed on the left or right side of the URL bar, depending on the browser. For example, in Chrome and Safari, it’s on the left. You can click the padlock for more information about the website and the company that provided the certificate.
3. The certificate is valid.
Even if a website has “https: //” and a padlock, the certificate may have expired. This means that your connection is not secure. In most cases, a site that displays as https is secure. However, if you come across a site that requests a lot of personal information, it may be worth checking the validity of the certificate again.
To find out if the certificate is valid in Chrome, go to View> Developer> Developer Tools. From there, you need to navigate to the Security tab to determine if the SSL certificate is valid or has expired. If you click the “View Certificate” button, more information about the SSL certificate and the date until which it is valid is displayed.
The next time you visit a website, check the encryption status. I love to know that by clicking on a small padlock I can see if my data is safe. If you’re part of a company that doesn’t have SSL Certificates, make them part of your next goal so you can protect your customers’ data and privacy.