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In an internet-dependent world, website security is a critical component for online success. As online interactions and transactions increase, it is essential that sensitive information transmitted between a user’s browser and a website’s server stays protected from prying eyes, malware, and other potential security threats.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are a fundamental necessity for your website’s security and functionality.

Still a little hazy on SSL certificates? For an average website viewer, the little lockbox icon next to a URL, along with an “https” is the most common way to recognize that a site is secured by reliable SSL.

What are SSL’s?

SSL certificates are a type of online security technology that encrypts the communication between a user’s browser and a website’s server. When a website has an SSL certificate, the data transmitted between the browser and server is encrypted, helping to obstruct interception of data by hackers. 

An SSL certificate is issued by a trusted third-party organization known as a Certificate Authority (CA). When a website has an SSL certificate, it means that the website has been verified by the Certificate Authority, and the website is who it claims to be. When a website imitates another website in order to steal a user’s data, it’s called website spoofing. An SSL certificate can protect your user’s data, and their trust.

Types of SSLs

With multiple different types of SSL certificates available, choosing the right SSL can get confusing. Picking the best SSL will depend on the level of security you need and the number of domains you want to secure.

Domain Validated (DV) SSL

As the most basic and affordable SSL, a Domain Validated SSL verifies that the domain name is registered and that the certificate holder has control over the domain. DV SSLs are suitable for personal websites or small businesses that don’t handle sensitive information.

Organization Validated (OV) SSL

For a higher level of security than a DV SSL, consider an Organization Validated SSL. It verifies the domain name and also vets that the organization behind the website is legitimate. OV SSLs are ideal for e-commerce websites and other businesses that handle sensitive information.

Extended Validation (EV) SSL

An Extended Validation SSL certificate provides the highest level of security. It verifies the domain name, organization, and legal existence of the entity behind the website. EV SSLs are crucial for financial institutions, government agencies, and other organizations that interact with highly sensitive information.

More important than “just security”

For any website handling sensitive information, such as personal data, login credentials, or financial information, SSLs should be a fundamental component of your site. By encrypting the communication between the browser and server, SSLs help protect this information from being intercepted by malicious third parties.

For a lead or potential customer to engage with your site, they need to know that any information they enter via their site is as safe as possible. When a website has an SSL certificate, it indicates that the website is secure and that the information transmitted through the website is protected. This can help increase visitor confidence and reduce bounce rates.

Not having an SSL, however, can even disrupt your site’s visibility and deter viewers from proceeding to enter your site. SSLs are becoming increasingly important for search engine optimization (SEO). Google has stated that SSLs are a ranking factor, and websites that have SSL certificates are more likely to appear higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) than websites without SSLs.

Some browsers even directly prohibit a viewer’s access to a site if the site doesn’t have an SSL certificate, or if the browser doesn’t trust the site’s security. When a site starts with “http” and lacks the little lockbox icon next to an “https,” the browser may send users a warning not to enter the site. 

Get warrantied SSLs

By investing in an SSL certificate, you can help ensure the security and integrity of your website, protect your visitors’ sensitive information, and foster consumer confidence. SSL certificates are no longer an optional feature but an imperative component of any website that requires user interaction. Quickly secure your site with an inexpensive DV SSL like a Rapid SSL, or lockdown your security with advanced SSLs like TierraNet’s Extended SSL. For higher-security needs, consider a warrantied SSL, which offers warranties of up to $500,000 if your site is somehow compromised. Safeguard your site’s data, visitor privacy, and company credibility with an SSL certificate today.