What are SSL certificates

Guaranteeing website security and ensuring the privacy and safety of the ECommerce clients working with you online is extremely crucial towards building their faith and trust.

This is set up by securing any kind of communication between your client’s Web browser and your own Website, usually by using a digital SSL Certificate. What are SSL certificates?

You can either set up an SSL Certificate yourself or get one from your Web hosting provider or an external, third-party transaction processing organization with different kinds of SSL certificates.

When one of your customers tries to initiate an online transaction from your website, his browser tries to check your website’s authenticity by asking for an SSL certificate that confirms the identity of the website’s proprietor.

Once that SSL certificate is checked and approved, a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) association is built up to ensure site security.

And encrypting or scrambling any information transmitted between you and the buyer, including things like Debit/Credit Card numbers, Bank account numbers, etc.

Companies or organizations nowadays have the option to insure their site’s security by choosing between three types of SSL Certificates:

What are SSL certificates: Different kinds of SSL certificates

1. What are SSL certificates: Shared SSL Certificates

Shared certificates are given out for free on several web hosting plans. These let you use the encryption that SSL provides by itself, without having to purchase your own SSL Certificate.

Nonetheless, since it is a shared certificate, it is not attached specifically to your own domain name, forcing you to use the server name in the URL (for example https://secure(site name).(domain name).com) rather than your own domain name, if you want to avoid being flagged by your browser.

If you do try to use your own domain name with a shared certificate, you will get warnings from your web browser that your domain name does not match the domain name on the certificate.

These are suitable when you want a secure connection to your server, but don’t want it to be used by everyone else (for instance, signing into an administrative area of your site which clients or guests don’t see).

Shared SSL is not suitable for ECommerce websites since your clients would expect your domain to have its own private SSL certificate. However there are different kinds of SSL certificates to choose from.

2. What are SSL certificates: Wildcard Certificates

There are different kinds of SSL certificates among those is Wildcard SSL Certificate can enforce SSL encryption on several subdomains using the same certificate. These subdomains, however, must have that second level area name (e.g. domain.com).

3. What are SSL certificates: Multi-Domain Certificates

Multi-domain certificates allow securing up to 210 domains under the same certificate. You can combine each and every one of your second level domains (e.g. domain.net, www.domain.com, and otherdomain.com).

4. What are SSL certificates: Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificates

Among the different kinds of SSL certificates, the validation process for these certificates is quite less thorough compared to the other two, since at the time of issuing a DV SSL Certificate, the Certificate Authorities (CA) only check whether the applicant’s name and contact data correspond to the enrollment data in the WHOIS database for the domain name connected to the application.

The certificate is provided only when proof has been obtained of the owner’s right to use that particular domain.

Displayed as a padlock, it only contains the domain name, so inspection of the certificate won’t show the company’s name since it was never validated.

CAs aren’t obligated to approve the authenticity of an applicant’s business, so these certificates offer the lowest level of security, and should only be used for organizations where clients won’t be transmitting delicate information or who are less worried about site security issues like identity affirmation.

5. What are SSL certificates: Organizational Validated (OV) SSL Certificates

For OV SSL Certificates, the level of SSL site security validation, provided by several CAs, guarantees the legitimacy of a website by confirming that it is a real business.

Before providing the SSL certificate, the CA has a strict validation process, which includes checking up on the company name, the domain name as well as verifying their business qualifications, (for example, the Articles of Incorporation) and confirming the validity of its physical and Web addresses, using business registry databases hosted by the government.

The certificate which is issued contains the name of the company as well as the domain name for which it was issued.

An OV SSL Certificate follows the X.509 RFC standards and is an exceptional site security option for any organization which carries out online transactions and accepts sensitive information, like card numbers, from its clients. The different kinds of SSL certificates have varried use for the the your typical use.

6. What are SSL certificates: Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates

The latest and most secure form of certification available, the EV SSL certificates were launched towards the beginning of 2007 and are the very first to strictly follow the industry-wide certification guidelines set up by the top Web browser vendors and Certificate Authorities.

The application process for EV SSL certificates is a lot more exhaustive, with the validation requirements being even stricter. Applicants for EV certification, at least at first, are restricted to specific kinds of businesses and government organizations.

Among some of the latest features added to the EV SSL Certificates is the color coding of the Web browser’s address bar to indicate secure or insecure connections.

The browser navigation window changes to green to show that the website is legitimately validated with an EV SSL Certificate, and is properly encrypted as well, and changes to red when it detects a commonly known phishing website or any other kind of suspicious websites.

There are different kinds of SSL certificates that you can explore, however, these shall serve your purpose.

Due to the extensive and thorough screening methods that CAs use to check the data about the applicant, the final issuing of EV SSL certificates takes a lot longer than its counterparts.

However, all organizations should still try upgrading to them, provided they meet the validation requirements since they have the highest level of website security to offer in the SSL Certificate market, at present. After all, it is time to go green!

Share your experience with our blog on What are SSL certificates and the types in our comment box!

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