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What is an SSL Certificate and does My Website Need One?

internet security

In short, yes, your site needs one. An SSL Certificate is a security protocol that helps keep your website’s data safe from hackers and cybercriminals. Here’s what you need to know:

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is a security certificate that helps encrypt data between your website and its users. It ensures that any information entered on your website, such as passwords, credit card details, or personal information, is protected from unauthorized access. Even if your website has only a simple contact form, then take the extra step to install a certificate.

Why does a website need one?

Having an SSL Certificate is essential for protecting your website and your users from cyber threats. Without an SSL Certificate, your website is vulnerable to attacks, such as phishing scams, malware infections, and data theft.
Furthermore, without an SSL, your website will be penalized in searches. Most modern web browsers now flag websites without SSL Certificates as insecure, which can harm your website’s reputation and discourage users from visiting it—even if your website is strictly a static one, which does not collection any information from its users.

Types of certificates

There are several types of SSL certificates available, such as Domain Validation (DV), Organization Validation (OV), and Extended Validation (EV). The level of validation required for each type of SSL certificate varies, with EV being the most rigorous.

A Domain Validation (DV) certificate is the most basic type of SSL certificate, and it only validates the ownership of the domain. This type of certificate is usually issued quickly and at a low cost, making it a popular choice for smaller websites or blogs.

An Organization Validation (OV) certificate, on the other hand, provides a higher level of validation, which includes verifying the organization’s details, such as its name, address, and legal existence. This type of certificate is ideal for websites that handle sensitive information and require a higher level of trust and credibility.

The Extended Validation (EV) certificate is the most rigorous type of SSL certificate, and it provides the highest level of validation. To obtain an EV certificate, the Certificate Authority (CA) performs a thorough validation of the organization’s legal, physical, and operational details. Websites that use an EV certificate display a green address bar in the browser, indicating that the website has undergone extensive validation and is considered highly trustworthy.

SSL certificate

How to obtain an SSL Certificate

To get an SSL Certificate, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Choose an SSL Certificate provider: There are several SSL Certificate providers available online, and you need to select one that suits your needs and budget.
  2. Select the right type of SSL Certificate: There are various types of SSL Certificates, such as Domain Validation (DV), Organization Validation (OV), and Extended Validation (EV). Each has different levels of validation and pricing.
  3. Apply for an SSL Certificate: To apply for an SSL Certificate, you need to provide some information about your website, such as its domain name, business details, and contact information.
  4. Install the SSL Certificate: Once you have obtained the SSL Certificate, you need to install it on your web server and configure your website to use HTTPS instead of HTTP.
  5. Renewal: SSL Certificates will need to be renewed periodically. Follow the issuers’ process for renewal.
privacy and security
Security is crucial for today’s websites. (Image by Darwin Laganzon)

How much do they cost?

The cost of an SSL certificate can vary depending on several factors. The type of certificate, its validity period, and the level of validation required are some of the most significant factors that can influence the cost of an SSL certificate.

Free SSL certificates are available from some providers, but they typically offer limited features and lower levels of security. These certificates are suitable for basic websites that do not handle sensitive information, but they may not be sufficient for websites that require higher levels of security.

Paid SSL certificates are a better option for websites that require stronger security features, such as higher encryption levels, better customer support, and more extended warranties. The cost of a paid SSL certificate can vary depending on the level of validation required, the type of certificate, and the provider. However, paid certificates are generally considered to be more reliable and offer better security features.

When selecting an SSL certificate provider, it’s essential to consider factors such as pricing, customer support, and the range of features offered. Look for providers that offer competitive pricing, good customer support, and a wide range of features that suit your website’s needs. Some providers may offer additional features such as vulnerability scanning, daily malware scans, and website backup options, which can add an extra layer of security and convenience to your website.

With all that being said, expect to pay $50 to $300, depending upon the provider and the type of certificate.

Final Thoughts on SSLs

Having an SSL Certificate is critical for website security and protecting your users’ data. By following the steps mentioned above, you can obtain, install, and renew an SSL Certificate and ensure that your website remains secure and trustworthy. All websites hosted with Morgan Web Solutions will be provided with an SSL.


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