What is a SSL Certificate... and Do I Need One?
DIY Sprocket Solutions
Alright, all of you tech geniuses out there -you butt out of this one. This is for those of us who are still learning. Back to the basics here. If you have a business, (of course that would mean you also have a website for your business...ahem) this is something you need to know. So what exactly is a SSL Certificate and do you need one for your website? Well, I'll tell you.
What is a SSL Certificate?
SSL Certificates encrypt the information that is sent between your website and a visitor's web browser so that it can't be read as it's sent across the internet. What? Well, it's actually really simple. If you have ever bought anything online (cough, who hasn't, cough) then you've probably already used SSL and you're not even aware of it. SSL (secure sockets layer) is mostly used when you have a website that requests sensitive information from visitors to the site. This includes things like passwords or credit card numbers. It is a file that contains the fingerprint of your server and domain name. This "fingerprint" is encoded for security. Why? So that it can't be forged. Specifically, the certificate is uploaded to a specific location on your server. From there, when a page on your website is loaded in a secure environment it will look for that certificate. It keeps everything secure, it keeps private information private, it gives an extra layer of reassurance.
How can you tell if a site has SSL?
Well, there are a few ways to tell this. The first is the address of the pages you see. The address of pages viewed over SSL usually start with https:// instead of the other http://. Another way to tell is that many web browsers will show a little padlock symbol when you're viewing a site over SSL. It gives the visitor a sense of added security.
Do I need to purchase a SSL Certificate for my website?
Most likely. SSL certificates are recommended if your site is requesting customer’s sensitive information through your website. SSL certificates are necessary if you accept credit cards on your site, if you're having customers choose a password for your site, etc. etc. etc. It allows customers to feel at ease on your site and trust that they are in a secure area where their personal information won't be compromised. Increasing customer confidence, in effect, increases sales.
Now, where can I get one?
Well my friends, that is the easy part. Lucky for you, you can find them right here.
You know I'm really starting to feel like this relationship is a little one sided. Drop me a line, leave me a comment, send a messenger pigeon. Oh, and if you have friends with business sites -by all means share this info!