SSL is the most widely used security protocol on the Internet, protecting sensitive information as it is transferred over computer networks around the world. It is therefore essential to protect your website by guaranteeing the confidentiality and integrity of the data and personal information of Internet users browsing your site.
The SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is an electronic certificate that secures information between web servers and browsers : it materializes by a data file that must be added to your server to establish an encrypted connection. Once this is set up, a green padlock will appear in the address bar to indicate that the site is secure.
The different SSL certificates
There are currently three types of SSL certificates, offering different levels of trust for users.
Domain Validation (DV) certificates
This certificate is issued after the owner has been able to prove that he is authorized to use his domain. This is usually done by sending an email to the owner on behalf of the certification authority : the certificate is then generated following the owner’s response.
In addition to its faster delivery time than the other two types of certificate, it is also the cheapest and easiest to obtain. It is perfectly suited for websites and blogs.
Organization Validation Certificates (OV)
Validated certificates from the organization guarantee visitors that they are browsing a site managed by a legitimate company. They increase security and require human verification of the organization’s identity. The name of the organization appears directly in the certificate, which then reinforces trust in the website. This type of certificate is generally used by businesses, governments and other entities wishing to provide an additional argument for trust to users.
Extended Validation (EV) Certificates
Extended Validation Certificates allow maximum trust to be established between the website and Internet users, but they are also the ones that require the most effort to be validated. This requires providing documentation to certify the company’s identity and then validating a set of specific steps and verifications. This type of certificate is the most recommended because it displays the green address bar with the company name in the URL, thereby certifying the legitimacy of the company and assuring users that the information transmitted is secure.
Depending on the number of domains and subdomains you have, you have different choices for selecting your certificate type :
Single Domain : As the name implies, a single-domain SSL Certificate protects a single domain name. Subdomains will not be protected.
Multi Domain : If you use several domains or subdomains, then you should choose a multi-domain certificate. This type of certificate allows you to protect several domains and subdomains (up to 100).
Wildcard : With the Wildcard SSL certificate, all subdomains of your main domain will be protected. You can add an unlimited number of subdomains without having to redeploy the certificate, which makes things much easier. This is the ideal solution if you use a lot of subdomains and regularly add new subdomains.
In concrete terms, all SSL certificates have the same role : to encrypt data during SSL / TLS negotiations. If these are set up correctly, the padlock and https:// will be displayed in front of the URL. Neither the level of validation nor the number of secure domains affects the level of security offered by an SSL certificate.
The importance of the SSL certificate
At a time when security requirements are ever higher on the web, having an SSL certificate is now almost mandatory for a company. This certificate allows you to benefit from many advantages, including :
- The strengthening of your company’s image and reputation.
- The establishment of a relationship of trust and security with visitors to your site.
- The protection of sensitive data.
- The HTTPS and padlock in the address bar.
- The protection of your site against cybercriminal attacks.
- The increase of the SEO ranking of your site, especially since January 2017 (penalties infigured by Google towards sites in HTTP).
- The respect of the data security standards of the payment card industry.
In case your website receives users who interact with you via the transfer of sensitive data, it is essential that you install an SSL certificate. More than just a mechanism to guarantee the security of transactions, SSL is also a mark of trust towards users, who are assured through the SSL icon that their financial information is well secured.
The list of advantages offered by SSL certificates is therefore very long, and benefiting from such a certificate on your site is nowadays essential if you want to give a serious and trustworthy image to your visitors.