There are many questions surrounding SSL (Secure Sockets Layers), particularly now there is so much more emphasis on website security due to fraud, hacking and phishing.

Today we will address four questions that our customers frequently ask us:

1. What is an SSL Certificate?
2. Do I Need SSL for My Website?
3. What is the Best SSL Certificate to use on My Website?
4. How to Install SSL on My Website?

1. What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL is an acronym for Secure Socket Layer, and it comes in the form of a certificate that you install on your hosting server to a specific domain name.

An SSL certificate is responsible for creating a link between HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) and HTTPS  (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) which encrypts data between the hosting server and browsers (Chrome, Torch, Firefox, Opera, etc.)

In a nutshell, an SSL Certificate will ensure that data passed through a HTTPS connection is secure and private; and because the information is scrambled, it’s virtually impossible to read.

An SSL Certificate will keep yours, and your visitor’s information secure and safe by eliminating the risk of forced entry to your website.

Characteristically an SSL Certificate will activate the green padlock in any browser and show basic details about your company along with the authority and authenticity of the SSL certificate.

If the SSL Certificate is expired or not installed correctly, the browser will read the website as unsecured, the same as it would over a HTTP connection.

As far as your visitors and customers are concerned, for the majority, the complexity of an SSL Certificate ends at seeing the little green padlock in the browser.

When you purchase an SSL, it will come with a warranty.  It is important to remember that the warranty will only cover you against compromised data due to a weakness in the SSL Certificate itself.

SSL Certificate Levels & Trusted Names

Now let’s look at the type of SSL Certificates you can use to secure your websites information. Here are just three brands, there are many more to choose from.

Here are the SSL variations that you can purchase, all of which come with a different price tag. DV being the most budget friendly, priced at around $16 annually.

DV (Domain Validation) SSL Certificates

DV  (Domain Validation) SSL certificates provide an easy to install solution and are extremely affordable. Domain Validation Certificates verify that you or your business owns the domain.

Domain Validation SSL Certificates will activate the padlock in the browser and show that you take the privacy of your visitors and customers seriously.

Average Warranty Value $10,000 to $500,000

OV (Organization Validation) SSL Certificates

An OV (Organization Validation) SSL Certificate provides Instant identity and strong encryption.  Aside from security and depending upon the nature of your business and target market, OV SSL Certificates will give you instant credibility and potentially set you apart from your competitors.

Average Warranty Value $1,250,000 to $1,500,000

EV (Extended Validation) SSL Certificates

An EV (Extended Validation) SSL Certificate is the highest level SSL Certificate and will show a green padlock and the name of your organization next to the green padlock.  The EV SSL Certificate is extremely prominent within the browser demonstrating that you take extreme security precautions.  You will find that most large Corporations use an Extended Validation SSL Certificate.

Average Warranty Value $1,500,000 Upwards

Wildcard SSL Certificates

A Wildcard SSL is used to secure a single domain name and any associated of its subdomains using a single SSL Certificate.  With a Wildcard SSL Certificate, you can safely secure as many subdomain pages or websites as you wish without having to purchase additional SSL Certificates.

Wildcards come with, DV and OV Certificates

Average Warranty Value $10,00 to $1,250,000 depending upon the level

2. Do I Need an SSL Certificate for My Website?

Now you know what an SSL Certificate is, the next decision you would need to make is whether you need an SSL Certificate for your website.

First of all, let’s take a look at the mindset of your visitors and customers.

Imagine that you are booking a vacation for you and your family in a beautiful secluded mountainous area.  You have two accommodation choices, and they both cost the same:

  1. A bungalow without any form of security and poorly fitted locks
  2. A bungalow with well-fitted security locks and a security system wired to a 24 hours emergency service.

The choice is easy!  The mindset of online users is rapidly moving in the same direction.

SSL Certificates have become the norm for serious website owners and corporations. It’s extremely evident that website visitors and customers want peace of mind in the knowledge that their private information is safe and secure whether it be completing a simple form or making an online payment.

Make a “WE Care” Statement

Before we look at the main reasons for adding an SSL certificate to your domain name; let’s first address websites that typically do not collect private information or pose any risk to visitors.

In these cases, SSL Certificates are not critical when it comes to visitors security.  However, not having an SSL Certificate could potentially send the wrong message to your audience.

For around $16 a year you can safeguard your websites information with a DV SSL Certificate.  But most importantly, demonstrate to your visitors and followers that you are serious about your online presence, and you care about their security when they are browsing your website.

So, if you are still in two minds about implementing an SSL Certificate on your domain, here’s a good question to ask yourself:

What impression do I want to give my visitors when they are land on my website.

Here are five Advantages You will Benefit From With an SSL Certificate on Your Website

Data Encryption
Sensitive information becomes unreadable

You have peace of mind that data is being sent to the correct server and not anywhere else

Better SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Google gives a ranking boost to a website with HTTPS, giving you priority over similar content uses HTTP

Trust & Credibility
Build trust and credibility in an instant; the little green lock says it all!

Protection from Phishing
Protect your visitors and customers from fraudsters leading them imitation websites designed to unethically; collect and adversely use private information.

Choose the Right SSL Certificate

If you operate a website that is collecting payments over your server connection, SSL is imperative.  The next step is to decide which SSL certificate you want to deploy: OV or EV.

If you are using a third party payment gateway with SSL, for example, Paypal,  a DV Certificate would suffice.

If you are collecting sensitive information, we suggest, at the very least using an OV SSL Certificate.

How Do I Install an SSL Certificate for My Website?

Installing an SSL Certificate is easy! If you host your website with a reputable hosting company, it’s just a matter of purchasing the SSL certificate you want.  You will need to provide some information about your business, but that’s about it. Installation should be automatic or done manually by your hosting company.

After installation, all you need to do is add a small command to your websites .HTACCESS file found in the public HTML folder.

Copy and Paste the following to force SSL


RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond {9453281acf49a58980aaa207603c68ca0ee5ecab0c75fd5aead2e0071bb76704}{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R,L]

#END Force SSL

Add this to the top of your .htaccess file.  Be sure not to delete any other commands while pasting your force SLL command.

If you have any further questions about adding an SSL Certificate to your website, do not hesitate to contact us via our live chat.

WP Webdesk offers a FREE SSL Certificate when you create a desk account.