Top 5 Checks before purchasing an SSL Certificate (Infographic)
What is an SSL certificate?
An SSL certificate is a combination of algorithms that creates a secure tunnel between your browser and the web server. This secures data transfer from your server to the browser.
Are you still unsure about how an SSL works?
Take a look at the image below to get an idea.
As you can see, two processes occur when a user types a query into their browser.
- The server is notified of the request
- The web server sends data to the browser in response to the request.
If you don’t have an SSL Certificate, then data can be stolen by hackers or intruders. However, this is not the case with an SSL secured connection.
Video guide: SSL certificate explainer
This path is protected by the SSL Certificate. Take a look at the video below to learn more.
What are the benefits of an SSL certificate?
As you can see, the purpose of an SSL certificate is to protect your data. Among all the reasons for SSL certificates, the most important is the security of customer data.
Imagine you have an e-commerce site with a payment gateway. The visitor clicks on the link to purchase the product. However, the payment gateway does not have SSL. All the information that the visitor has provided is then vulnerable to hackers.
See! Why it is so important to have SSL?
Let me tell you another reason why SSL Certificates are important. Have you heard about the Chrome68 update? Many might have. Let me tell you what I mean. This update states that if you don’t have an SSL certificate for your website, visitors to your site will see the following image.
As a result of the recent spat between Symantec and Google, the World’s Largest Web Browser distrusted SSL certificates from the World’s Leading CA.
It’s a terrible sight, though! What website owner wouldn’t want a “Not secure” tag on their site?
But I won’t!
This is not a reason to tell you how it will impact your website’s traffic.
You run the risk of if your server doesn’t have an SSL Certificate. You should now understand why an SSL certificate is so important. Let’s find out why you need an SSL Certificate to protect your website.
Selecting an SSL Certificate
An SSL wizard is the easiest way to select an SSL certificate. This tool is an automated method of selecting an SSL certificate. It only requires you to answer 2-3 questions. The tool then displays a list of recommended products, from which you can select anyone. This tool can only be used if you are familiar with the types of SSLs.
The above-mentioned AI tool can help you select the right SSL certificate to fit your website if you’re completely new to SSL. You can also read this article to learn more about the steps and checks involved in choosing an SSL certificate.
Check these 5 things before you buy an SSL Certificate
These checks cannot be performed by any automated tool. These checks must be followed carefully to avoid spending more money on SSL that isn’t right for you.
Your website’s requirements will determine the budget required for an SSL. It is important to understand your exact requirements.
This is the first step: get to know your requirements.
Understanding your Multi-domain requirement.
The first thing you need to know when discussing the requirement is the number of domains that you wish to secure. You can have one or several. Keep in mind that domains and subdomains can be two completely different things.
A domain is similar to abc.com and xyz.com
Subdomains can be likened to *.abc.com and *.xyz.com
Once you have understood the concept, you can begin to list the domains that you wish to secure. Multi-domain SSL certificates are useful if you have 5 domains in your organization.
Let’s look at the role of multi-domain SSL Certificates.
These certificates can be used to solve the problem of shared web hosting, which requires a single IP address to host multiple domains. If you have multiple websites hosted on a single server, then you will need a multi-domain SSL.
Multi-domain SSL can be used to secure between 100 and 250 additional domains. These SANs require extra money. However, some CAs (Certifying Authorities) offer free SANs. Geotrust offers four additional SANs.
Once you’ve determined whether you have one domain or many, you can select the SSL Type that suits you best.
Understanding your Subdomain requirement
Let’s now look at subdomains. Assume you have one domain, but several subdomains.
Domain – Google.com
Sub-domain – abc.google.com
xyz.google.com, and others
In this instance, you will need a Wildcard SSL certificate. You can secure multiple sub-domains at level one with a wildcard SSL Certificate. A Wildcard SSL Certificate can save you money as it protects both your main domain and unlimited sub-domains.
Now you know when and where to choose a Multi-domain SSL Certificate.
Let’s get on with the next step.
Is your organization registered?
This might make you wonder why there is a check.
It is an important one, however.
An SSL Certificate is required for any website that you run, whether it’s a blog or an eCommerce site. However, each case is unique in terms of the type of certificate used.
Let’s now discuss the different types of certificates that are required for websites.
There are three types of SSL certificates
- Extended Validated SSL Certificate (EV SSL Certificate) )
- Organization-Validated SSL Certificate (OV SSL Certificate). )
- Domain Validated SSL Cert (DV SSL Cert. )
Here is a brief overview of the differences between each type of cert.
If you’re running an e-commerce site, and your company has a registered address, this certificate will likely be required. An OV or EV SSL certificate is recommended.
What is the relationship between buying an EV and OV?
Here’s the deal: Any CA can issue an OV SSL certificate or an EV SSL certificate. Only if the organization has been registered. Most e-commerce businesses choose the highest security SSL Certificate, an EV SSL Certificate. An EV SSL Certificate will give you a Green Address Bar, just as in the image below.
An OV SSL certificate can be purchased if you have a company website. Even an OV SSL certificate can be obtained, as explained above. You must be a registered company. The issuance of an EV SSL certificate takes approximately 7-10 days. OV SSL certificates take around. 1-2 days.
A DV SSL certificate will be required if you own a blog website or a non-registered website.
A Domain Validated SSL Certificate is issued quickly and doesn’t require any verification, unlike OV or EV SSL certs.
Choosing a DV-SSL certificate. It will not give you an address bar in the green, but it will give you a secure sign with green color.
Now you may be asking yourself whether your company has been registered. You can now decide which SSL certificate you need for your website based on the information above.
The next check is…
Are you using a shared hosting plan or dedicated hosting?
Shared Hosting refers to hosting multiple websites on one public IP. However, all websites can be yours and can be hosted by other people. Dedicated hosting is when a single IP is used to host a single website.
You might now be able to understand the difference between dedicated and shared hosting.
Are you unsure how to do this check?
Let’s suppose your website is hosted on shared IP (shared Hosting). There is a feature called SNI, which stands for Subject Name Indication. You can now have your website as well as other websites on the shared IP. Now, a single SSL certificate can be used for one IP. How will it work with a shared IP?
Here is where the SNI feature can help. This feature is supported by almost all servers. This feature allows you to install SSL certificates on your website, even if your IP is shared.
Before you buy an SSL certificate, ask your hosting provider if the server SNI supports it. If they say yes, ask them if SSL access will be granted to your C-panel. Some hosting providers grant you access, while others require you to provide the certificate. This is fine.
This is not true for dedicated hosting. Here you have full access and control over your server. No other websites are hosted. This allows you to install an SSL certificate easily. Both will allow you to install the certificate quickly, but you’ll need to ask a few questions in case you have a shared IP.
ECC Certificate or RSA Certificate. Which certificate should you choose?
This one is a bit more technical.
We will clear this up in the easiest way possible. An SSL uses a key to encrypt data. ECC cert. has a key size 256 Bit and RSA certificate. 2048 bit key size. This sentence might lead you to conclude that RSA’s key is larger and will therefore provide greater security. This isn’t the case.
Although ECC’s Key is smaller than RSA, it offers greater security.
Let’s now see which one we should choose.
It all depends on the individual’s requirements. An ECC certificate is recommended for websites that are E-commerce and require more security. or else even RSA cert. If you need it, this would be a good choice. They are both the same price and there is no difference in their prices. Simply inform your SSL Provider of the need for an ECC certificate or an RSA certificate.
This concludes our guide to choosing an SSL certificate.
These are the most important checks you should make before purchasing an SSL Certificate. While there are many technicalities, these are the most important.
If you feel that we missed any other important checks, please share them in the comments section. We will add them to our list and make them useful for others.