What Is the Use of SSL Certificate And What Does It Do?
Security on the internet is the foremost concern of any website owner, whether a personal blog or a renowned multi-national eCommerce store. When we talk about online security, the first thing that crosses our mind is the green-colored sign of an SSL certificate that appears next to the address bar of internet browsers.
However, what are SSL certificates exactly, and how much would it cost to get one for a website?
Today, we are going to go through an overview of what is SSL certificate for website. At the outset, you will have a clear idea about SSL encryption meaning and know about the SSL costs for your site.
What Is SSL Certificate Meaning?
One of the common questions among users is that what does SSL stand for. SSL certificate stands for Secure Sockets Layer which gives your website a secure connection to process the information on the server. Site moves from HTTP to HTTPS secure connection after the SSL is applied to your website. It includes the data file that gets added to your primary server. SSL certification process keeps the data encrypted while sending and receiving information between two applications. SSL/TLS encryption is only possible with the SSL certificate.
What Is the Use of SSL Certificate?
Every SSL certificate contains a unique public key that represents the identity card of the website. When an application tries to communicate with the website, the server’s origin is verified using the public key to build a secure connection between two parties. The private key is never presented to the user. It is always kept secret and secure while exchanging the information on the server.
When it comes to the secure socket layer question, an SSL certificate ensures that the transmitted data between a server and a browser is secured through encrypted connections. It stands for Secured Socket Layer. Despite being deprecated after the introduction of TLS (Transport Layer Security) in 1999, the term SSL is still used by internet users to talk about these security algorithms and technologies. To be more specific, we should address it as “SSL/TLS.”
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Different Types of SSL Certificates
Typically, there are three different kinds of SSL certificates available to implement on a site. DV SSL (Domain Validated Certificates), OV SSL (Organization Validated Certificates), and EV SSL (Extended Validated Certificates). Depending on your website and the safety you need for it, your choice might differ. To put it in perspective, here is a quick overview of each service and the associated features.
1) DV SSL
Domain Validated Certificates are the widely-used kind of online safety certificates. You can get a DV SSL within a few minutes by proving that you own the website, but you should be aware that it has the lowest level of security among its counterparts.
DV SSL can best be used for personal blogs or not very big websites that don’t require users to submit any personal information or have online transactions.
2) OV SSL
Organization Validated Certificates is much like the DV SSL, and it is commonly mistaken to be the same. The main difference is that you should take an additional step to prove your identity, and that’s the verification of your organization. Certificate-issuing firms charge OV SSL applicants a higher fee compared to the DV SSL. You should be aware that both DV SSL and OV SSL certificates appear as a grey-colored padlock in Google Chrome, and that’s the reason this type is not very popular.
This type is also recommended to website owners who don’t send and receive sensitive information.
3) EV SSL
Extended Validated Certificate is the top choice with the highest level of safety and assurance. EV SSL is the most expensive item to acquire, and it is more challenging to get issued. Those who want to have EV SSL on their website should also provide personal information about themselves, plus the items we mentioned for OV SSL.
EV SSL is most applicable to larger websites where users enter their personal information and purchase services or products. It shows a green padlock to users, and many now consider it the most crucial safety feature of eCommerce platforms.
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4) Wildcard SSL Certificates
The primary use of the Wildcard SSL Certificate is to secure the entire website, including the subdomains. A single SSL certificate protects the website’s primary domain, also known as the home page and its internal pages. But when it comes to safeguarding the subdomains, the ordinary certificate will not work. You need special permission to apply the SSL to your subdomains.
Single SSL Certificate:
The Wildcard certificate gives you the power to secure subdomains pertaining to the same website.
5) Unified Communications (UCC) SSL Certificate
Unified Communication (UCC) SSL Certificate is a one-stop solution to securing your multiple domains and subdomains with the single SSL Certificate License. Secure the entire chain of the websites owned by your organization under a single SSL certificate. It offers unified communication between all the websites through a central authentication branch that ensures data safety and prevents hacking or injection to the server files.
UCC SSL Certificate gives you control over the hostname management while applying the certificate to your website. You can add hostname, subdomain in the subject alternative name field. UCC SSL certificate enables the large organization running multiple domains to save on obtaining the SSL and secure domain names under the SSL.
6) Multi-Domain SSL Certificate (MDC)
A Multi-domain SSL Certificate (MDC) is a single SSL certificate that applies to the multiple domain names on a single IP address. The encryption of the MDC is similar to the standard encryption used on the website. A multi-domain certificate enables you to secure domains between 2 to 2000 with a single SSL certification. It saves time in the SSL management process and allows the users to operate the SSL certificate from an original location.
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What Does SSL Certificate Contain?
When you apply for the SSL certification for your domain name, you have to provide information that will be used to authenticate your domain.
Here is the list of the item that every SSL certificate contains
- Name of the domain that the certificate is authorized
- Name of the person, organization, or device
- Type of certificate authority issued it
- Digital Signature of the Certificate authority
- Associated subdomains, if any
- Date of issue
- Expiration date
- Public Key (Remember the private key is kept a secret)
How SSL Certificate Works?
The public and private keys are the string of random characters used for the data’s encryption and description. The packets encrypted with the public key are only decrypted with the private key and vice versa when communicating on the web server. The absence of a correct key would result in the restriction of the information on the server. No data will be shared until you authenticate both private and public keys. The SSL certificate ensures that only genuine applications are accessing the data to which the permission is granted.
Advantages of SSL Certificate
If you are wondering does my website need SSL, we should say the widely-used functionality of SSL certificates is safe web browsing using the HTTPS protocol. Having an SSL certificate on your site ensures you of three main advantages:
- Integrity: Being equipped with SSL means a great defense against online hacks and data breaches. The online documents that SSL has signed don’t get changed by another user during data transfers.
- Encrypted connection: SSL certificate brings a more reliable connection that has protected data transmission and maintains good traffic at all times.
- Better reputation: An SSL certificate increases your reliability and visibility on SERPs since search engines’ algorithms prioritize safe websites over unsecured ones.
What Is SSL Certificate Used For?
One of the common questions you have to answer is, “do I need an SSL certificate?” The primary purpose of applying the SSL certificate is to keep users’ data secure. It verifies the ownership of the website and prevents the hacker from attacking the server to steal data.
Here is how the website protects the information with the use of the SSL certificate.
SSL certificate uses the public and private key to communicate with the encrypted data while sending and receiving the information between two applications. If there is a breach while the data is in transition, the end-user will not read the data without having a private key.
The packets are secured with the encryption code. Clients such as web browsers must access the public key to open a TLS connection on the server’s SSL Certificate before rending the data and present to the user.
SSL certificate verifies the connection built on the server is between the client and owner of the domain name. SSL prevents domain spoofing and different types of attacks on the server.
A business that saves the private information of the users such as personal contact details, credit card information must need a secure connection to safeguard the user’s report on the server. HTTPS ensures a high level of securities while processing the data on the web server. Every input is moderated carefully, and hacking is blocked instantly as soon as the browser detects it. HTTPS website will have a traffic encryption facility using the SSL/TLS methods.
HTTPS also helps the users to trust the website and the data stored on the server. Modern browsers also started tagging the website security based on HTTPS encryption to make it noticeable to the end-users. HTTPS website also receives an SEO boost which helps in improving the organic keyword ranking.
How Can I Tell if My Website Has SSL?
There are distinct features that are easily identifiable when you visit the website.
1) Check for “https://” and not “http://”
When a site applies the SSL certificate, the website URL turns to “HTTPS” from the original “HTTP” status. The additional “S” in the HTTP stands for the secure. Also, the text may appear green if the site is secure.
2) Padlock Icon in the URL Bar
Check for the padlock icon at the beginning of the website URL. Padlock confirms the site is secure and protected from data violation. Click on the padlock icon to get more information about the type of security used by the website and the company name that offers the SSL certificate.
3) SSL Validation and Expiration
In some cases, the site may appear SSL validated with the padlock icon and HTTPS encryption in the URL bar. However, this information is also visible when the certificate is expired. It means the connection on the website is not secure. HTTPS ensures that the site is protected, but you should double-check the certificate validity when the website asks for too much personal information.
Usually, the top browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari block such websites or indicate the users with the red hash trick on the HTTPS to inform the users about the non-secure connection. You should not provide any personal information to the website that is not authenticated, lacks the basic validation, or has expired SSL. Trust only authentic websites with a genuine SSL certificate.
How Much Does SSL Cost?
There are several CAs (Certificate Authorities) to get an SSL certificate from, and they offer different plans and prices for their services.
- ssl.com is a leading website in this regard with almost two decades of experience. They offer several features and services with a reliable team of support. The range of the prices starts from $36.75 a year and reaches up to $319.20 for enterprise types.
- Namecheap provides an assortment of SSL certificate plans for every budget. No matter how much the SSL cost would be, you can be sure to find an option as per your needs. The packages provide free SSL replacements and are equipped with 256-bit encryptions. The standard plans start from $8.88 yearly, and you should expect up to $169 for premium certificates.
- GlobalSign is another reputable US-based SSL certificate authority that was founded in 1996. The company has made a name for itself by offering cloud-based PKI solutions for website security. The offered services can be used for domains both with and without “www” and come equipped with free tools for installing and managing the SSL certificates. The prices fall between $249 and $599 a year, and all can be issued in the shortest time possible.
- DigiCert company puts great emphasis on security and can be a proper choice for all types of websites. It is a member of the CA/Browser Forum that involves developing of new technologies based on SSL and can offer all three kinds of DV SSL, OV SSL, and EV SSL services. Pricing plans of Digicert range from $175 a year up to $579.
- Thawte is an experienced company that has become popular for affordable SSL solutions. Their list of products is highly comprehensive and is the best choice if you are on a budget. If you want to put things to the test before paying money, you can use a free 3-week trial of SSL certificates from this company. The cheapest plans go for $149 a year, and you can get the most professional packages for $260 a year.
Considering the comparison between the popular websites above, you might be wondering how much money you should spend on an SSL certificate.
It’s essential to know more expensive services do not necessarily mean a better option for you. The reasonable packages meet all the needs of regular websites, and you should only consider upgrading to expensive solutions if you have a big eCommerce website. The number of daily payments and visits on these sites requires reliable services that ensure complete safety.
In this article, we clarified what is an SSL certificate definition. It brings a reputation for your site as a trustable online presence. There’s no doubt that you need one on your website, but the SSL security you choose highly depends on your activities. Determine the appropriate service for your site from DV, OV, or EV SSLs and apply them right away to benefit from the SSL certificate advantages. For more details, check this article .
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