All About SSL Certificates-Including Free vs Paid
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I’m giving a breakdown all about SSL Certificates. Whether you have a website or not, SSL certificates are something you should know about. As a consumer, you need to make sure your information is protected. As a website owner, you need to make sure you are protecting your visitors and your site’s reputation.
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL Certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology.
Why Is It So Important?
In the past, if you weren’t collecting credit card information on the site, it was thought that you didn’t need an SSL Certificate. The internet is ever evolving and changing and therefore to make it easier for consumers to protect themselves against cybercriminals and fake sites adding an SSL Certificate helps do that.
There are many reasons that an SSL Certificate is important to a site, some of the top reasons are:
1. It Encrypts Sensitive Information
Meaning usernames, passwords, payment information, and more are sent so that it is
Unreadable to everyone except for the server that you are sending the information to.
2. Cyber Criminals
Encrypting information is a way to fight cybercriminals from being able to get your personal data and use it.
3. Helps Build Trust and Brand Power
When you have an SSL certificate shows the lock icon an in some browsers will turn the address
Bar green. This lets customers know when they visit your site that their information is protected and secure.
4. Google is flagging non-SSL sites.
When using Google Chrome users will be notified that the page is “Not Secure”. It’s also worth mentioning that secure site also rank higher in Google than non-secure sites.
Google breaks it down like this-
- protects the integrity of your website
- protects the privacy and security of your users
- is the future of the web
Do I Need One?
Does your website take text inputs for- Login panels, contact forms, or search bars?
Do you want to avoid visitors getting the big red Google Warning telling them the site in un-secure?
Are you wanting to increase your SEO?
If you answered Yes to any of those questions, then you need an SSL Certificate.
Free SSL Certificates
Domain Validation Only- This is ok for a small site or blog but is not the best option for larger sites collecting personal information.
Unsuitable For E-Commerce- These are NOT recommended for securing credit card and personal information on an e-commerce site.
Limited Lifetime- Free SSL Certificates are issued for a limited period. Typically it is 90 days. (Paid Certificates are 1-2 years)
Slow Support- There is usually limited support available for free certificates.
Paid SSL Certificates
Recognition- Having a certificate from a known provider can ensure consumer confidence in the site
More Options- Paid SSL Certificates offer Domain, Business, and Extended Validation options
Extended Lifetime- These are issued typically for 1-2 years.
Liability- With paid SSL Certificates, you get a warranty that covers damages as a result of a hack or data breach due to a flaw in the certificate.
FREE VS PAID
There is not a difference in the Free vs Paid certificates when it comes to the level of encryption. The differences in the two come down to support and the lifetime of the certificate
Single domain, good for 90 days
Support, warranty, long validity
Paid HTTPS Examples-
Comodo- this is one of the largest SSL certificate providers. They provide additional features and tools like “point-to-verify” technology which shows customers real time validation. Prices start at around $76.95/year
NOTE: Due to issues that Symantec has had Google has depreciated Chrome’s trust in the Symantec certificate authority.
Google has also stated that beginning March 15, 2018, Chrome 66 will distrust GeoTrust certificates prior to June 1, 2016, and Chrome 70 will eventually distrust all GeoTrust certificates issued under the current infrastructure. Also affected are Thawte and RapidSSL certificates.
Have you added an SSL to your site?
Are you ready to start your site and need some help? Contact Me!