SSL Certificates are the abbreviation of Security Socket layer certificates that are installed on a web server by the website owner. SSL Certificates enable the website to run on the HTTPS protocol, instead of the insecure HTTP protocol and encrypts the communication exchanged between a server and a client or between two mail servers. So, when you submit your personal details on a website, then SSL Certificates activate the HTTPS protocol which prevents the in-transit data from being intercepted by unauthorized persons. This upholds the integrity of the data that is exchanged and retains its confidentiality.
SSL Certificate and Cryptography
An SSL Certificate is a bunch of small files that make use of cryptography to verify server and client authenticity. The SSL Certificate links the domain name and the server name that you can get from your web hosting service provider. Its successful installation is denoted by a green padlock in the URL box but that only means that the communication between the server and the client computer is encrypted.
The Green Padlock does not indicate that the business is legitimate or otherwise because any website owner can get an SSL Certificate. So, the sole interpretation of the green padlock is the secure transmission of data from the cybersecurity point. The website could still be fake and created by scammers unless they make use of a specific type of SSL Certificate which we shall discuss later.
Why Use an SSL Certificate?
As SSL Certificates help prevent illegal access to personal and confidential information such as phone numbers, credit card numbers, emails, usernames, and addresses from hackers, installing one is strongly recommended. Doing that helps create a safe and trustworthy environment for buyers and sellers to transact online.
Moreover, the HTTPS protocol, which is HTTP on SSL Certificate is now a globally accepted security standard, which is also prescribed under laws and regulations such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). So, if you are involved in any type of online business then it is obvious that you accept online payments or personal information, or both.
Since this involves the exchange of financial data and personally identifiable information, you would be required to comply with the PCI DSS requirements. If you are operating in the EU region then you would also be liable to comply with the GDPR requirements. One of the key requirements under both GDPR and PCI DSS is to enable the HTTPS.
Who issues SSL Certificates?
SSL Certificates can be issued in two ways — self- signed SSL certificates and SSL certificates that are signed by reliable neutral third parties known as Certifying Authorities. Some well-known certifying authorities are GlobalSign, Symantec, Thawte, etc… So, you need to first decide which type of SSL Certificate you need.
For the most part, we recommend using SSL certificates that are signed by reputed third parties because most operating systems and browsers come pre-loaded with their public keys. This may not be the case when you use a self-signed SSL certificate and the browser may not identify it as secure and shoot out a warning to the user.
Who Should Invest in an SSL Certificate?
If you own or manage a website or an online business that makes use of a website, then you must invest in an SSL certificate and there are many benefits of doing so. Nobody wishes to browse through a website that their trusted browser warns as insecure. So, to gain customer trust and to operate in a safe manner, you must make use of SSL certificates on your websites.
Benefits of Using an SSL Certificate
Now that we are through with what is SSL certificate and all the relevant basics, its time to understand the core benefits of installing one. SSL certificates offer more than just security for your users and come with several direct and indirect benefits. Moreover, there is no reason for you to not install one, since there so many cheap SSL certificates available. In fact, you can also get a free SSL certificate, which leaves you with no reason to skip installing one on your website. Let us now discuss some of the most important benefits of having an SSL Certificate installed for your website.
To begin with, SSL certificates play a pivotal role in enhancing the security of a website and earning all-round credibility. Regardless of how big or small your website or online business is, not having an SSL certificate exposes you to the possibility of being held liable for security breaches. With the sharp increase in cybercrimes, Governments all over the world are framing data privacy and personal privacy laws or making necessary amendments to their existing laws in order to protect the best interest of their citizens.
You will notice that most of these laws place a larger burden on the website owner, who is expected to adopt critical security measures such as installing an SSL Certificate and ensuring that the website runs on HTTPS. So, besides protecting your credit card numbers, the SSL certificate plays a more significant role — compliance. In case of a security breach, you could be held liable unless you guard necessary caution by fulfilling the mandatory requirements.
So, if you have a website or blog, then you must consider buying one and there are several cheap SSL certificates available. Personal data is precious and any security breach can lead to serious issues such as identity thefts and financial frauds. With an SSL certificate, your data is encrypted, and no one can retrieve it without having a decryption key.
Rank Better in Google with an SSL Certificate
An SSL is also used to boost your website’s ranking and brand value. Recently, Google updated its page ranking algorithm and added HTTPS as a ranking signal. This is a welcome initiative from Google which provides website owners with an incentive to install an SSL Certificate. So, if your website or blog has a working SSL certificate installed, then you are likely to rank better. Higher page ranking and a security cue in the URL Box is sure to win the trust of your visitors and make it easier to convert them.
Google made SSL mandatory to ensure a superior user experience and better safety. Although other websites that do not have an SSL certificate installed would continue to be there on the internet, such sites won’t rank high. You can easily identify such websites due to the security cues shown in the URL box. The browsers will be quick to notify you of the insecurity by showing a red cross mark indicating an insecure website.
PCI DSS Requirements for Secure Online Transactions
SSL certificates also enable your website to satisfy the PCI DSS requirements. If you do any business online, you must know something about the Payment Card Industry (PCI). To receive any form of payments on your website, it has to be a PCI DSS compliant website. One of the 12 primary requirements set by PCI is having an SSL certificate installed on your website. Therefore, SSL is mandatory, especially for e-commerce and freelancing sites.
Low Bounce Rate
Besides making your website appear trustworthy, SSL certificates also improve your search engine rankings and result in better conversions. That’s because visitors don’t bounce off your website, as they do when they notice that it is marked insecure by their browser.
Finally, if you think from a customer’s point of view, then you would know how difficult it is for them to trust a website that their favorite browser does not approve of. On the other hand, when they see the green padlock appear on your website, then they are more at ease while making online payments or submitting confidential data.