What is an SSL certificate?
An SSL or Secure Socket Layer certificate is a global security standard that allows the transfer of encrypted data between your browser and a web server where the sites you visit every day are stored. It is used by millions of companies, businesses of all sizes, and individuals online to reduce the risk of theft and manipulation of confidential information (such as credit card numbers, user names, passwords, e-mails, etc.) by hackers and identity thieves.
Simply put, the SSL layer allows the connection between your browser and the web server to become a private “conversation”.
The way to tell if the website you visit every day has an SSL certificate is easy. Beside the name of the site (e.g. sentinelstudiomx.com) it should have a green padlock or candidate that shows that the SSL certificate that keeps your navigation within that site secure is active.
Another way to know if the website I’m visiting uses an SSL certificate is in the access URL (e.g.: https://www.sentinelstudiomx.com), the “s” added after the “http” means that an SSL certificate is kept active within the site.
To install a secure connection, a “SSL Certificate” or also called a “Digital Certificate” is installed on a web server and will have two functions:
- Authenticate the identity of the website, assuring visitors that they are not on a fake site.
- Encrypt the information transmitted between your browser and the web server.
Are all SSL certificates the same?
The short answer is, no. But let’s go further into the subject, there are different types of SSL certificates depending on the number of domain names and/or sub-domains you have, among which are:
- Single: Secures a complete domain or sub-domain name (FQDN)
- Wildcard: Covers one domain name and an unlimited number of its sub-domains.
- Multi domain: Secures several domain names.
There is also another classification depending on the level of validation required, for example:
- Domain Validation: This validation level is the most economical and provides basic encryption and verification of the domain name registration holder. This type of certificate is delivered in a few minutes or a few hours at most.
- Organizational Validation: In addition to basic encryption and verification of the domain name registration holder, it authenticates some details of the owner, such as the name and address. This type of certificate takes a few hours or a few days at most.
- Extended Validation (EV): Provides the highest level of security because of the extensive research that is conducted before this certificate is issued according to guidelines set by the SSL Certificate Industry Consortium. In addition to authentication of identity and ownership of the domain name registration, the legal, physical and operational existence of the identity is verified. This type of certificate is delivered within a few days or a couple of weeks at most.
May I need a SSL for my website?
Under our recommendation and all the web development services we offer we strictly recommend that yes, your site should have a basic certificate as a minimum.
Any individual or organization that uses your website to request, receive, process, collect, store or display confidential information. Some examples of this information is:
- Login information and passwords.
- Financial information (such as credit card and bank account numbers).
- Personal information (such as names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, etc.)
- Proprietary information.
- Legal documents and contracts.
- Customer lists.
- Medical records.
Another benefit of having an SSL certificate is the trust it generates in search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing among others. Thanks to the certificate can help your website is found in higher positions in search results.
Where can I buy or get an SSL certificate?
As mentioned above, in each of our web development services we buy and manage the necessary and optimal level of SSL certificates for your project.
Just as we buy and manage the certificates for you, you could do it yourself, most hosting and domain registration companies also offer the certificates.
We recommend our hosting provider or it may be a hosting provider or domain registrar of your choice.