What Are SSL Certificates?
An SSL certificate plays a critical role in regards to website security. The acronym SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. The more modern term is TLS which stands for Transport Layer Security. An SSL certificate simply encrypts the data that travels between the website’s server and other computers, including that of the website visitor. Website pages that use this technology can be identified by their URL starting with “https” instead of just “http”. The “s” signifies that the connection is secured by an SSL certificate. On most browsers you may see a small lock icon, and or the URL field may be displayed with a green background. These are all identifiers to make clear that communication with the web page is encrypted, and therefore deemed secure from third parties.
Do I Need An SSL Certificate?
Most web pages don’t need one. Where it should be used is when sensitive data is being sent through the internet. This may be a form that is being filled out with personal information, credit card numbers, financial data, and so on.
If you have an online store and you accept credit card payments through your own website, it’s crucial that you have an SSL certificate in place. Not only does it help protect your customer’s data, but it also gives them peace of mind. Most people would never buy anything from an online store that doesn’t use SSL certificate security. Using this technology increases trust and confidence for your website visitors.
There are different types of SSL certificates. The general ones are quick and easy to setup with relatively little involvement. The most secure ones require that you apply by filling out numerous forms. They may take longer to implement, but they also display additional security assurances for your website visitors.