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Keeping your private information private in the internet age is extremely important. As a website owner, you want your customers to feel confident that the information they provide to you is kept secure.  That being the case, the best way to offer your customers this is the addition of an SSL Certificate.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate also is known as a “Secure Socket Layer” is used to:

  • Confirm the identity of a website.
  • Encrypt information sent to the server.

To work properly an SSL Certificate authenticates the

  • Name of the holder of the cert
  • A unique serial number
  • The expiration date (certs need to be renewed)
  • A copy of the holder’s public key
  • The digital signature of the issuing authority.

Once an SSL Certificate is successfully added to the website the URL will reflect this in the prefix, the Http will become an Https. As a result of this authentication process, the data being sent from the website to the server cannot be intercepted by an improper server.

Who needs an SSL Certificate?

Probably every website since there has been a significant change by the browser “police” in how a non-secure website connection is treated.  As a consequence of this browser “policing”, the current version of Firefox returns a warning if that you are not connected over a secure connection. (HTTPS) in the web site’s URL, in fact, does not have SSL installed.

So, you need an SSL. Should You get a shared dedicated one?

Different SSL certificates are available, shared and dedicated. A Shared SSL is added to a server and can be used globally on that server to secure any sites. In fact, it is generated for the hostname of the server and may cause a certificate warning message pop up on your site when used as it won’t matching the domain name(s).

Shared SSL Certificates maybe
  • Low cost.
  • Must be renewed frequently.
  • May reduce website loading speed.
  • May not be as safe as you would like.
  • Should never be used for a payment website.
Dedicated SSL

A dedicated SSL, on the other hand, is added directly to your website and is not available for other sites to use.

  • Costs can vary from $10’s of dollars to over $100.
  • Allows you to maintain your website URL.

To some this change of URL is acceptable,  however, if you have a large following changing your URL in any way will affect the way you conduct business. If the change of URL is unacceptable for your business, you may require a dedicated SSL.  In contrast, this will allow you to maintain your websites URL, however, there can be a large cost associated with a dedicated SSL. In addition to the increase in cost for a dedicated SSL, your site may also require a dedicated IP address. these are the most secure choice when dealing with an e-commerce site that requires credit card information be exchanged.

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