To buy or not to buy an SSL certificate is not the question anymore. With increasing cybersecurity concerns and threats, security tools, measures, best practices, and protocols such as HTTPS transfer protocols have become crucial. If you do not have adequate security measures and protocols to protect your website from security threats, you are treading on a path full of cybersecurity threats.
A lot of emphases is being placed on SSL certificates. Search engines and IT officers/experts will advise you to get an SSL certificate for your website. Usually, this can be a bit tricky for you, especially when you do not know why you need an SSL certificate and the type of SSL certificate to get. We will briefly discuss why you need SSL for a business website. We will then look at the kind of SSL certificates that you need for your websites.
Types of SSL Certificates
It is necessary to take necessary measures to protect your users’ data and your data from cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Risks such as malware infections infiltrate the internet, leaving most websites and their users with adverse effects. Over 18.5 million websites, representing about 1% of the total websites, have been infected with malware. In addition, Man-in-the-middle attacks, privacy intrusions, eavesdroppings, among many other data breaches, have been common on the internet.
One of the perfect ways to secure your website from such vulnerabilities is by having an SSL certificate. SSL certificates have now grown to become the standard security protocol component for websites and eCommerce platforms. They act as a gatekeeper that protects website data from unauthorized entries. The certificate is vital in encrypting sensitive data such as passwords, personal data, and payment details. Encryption is a broad topic that applies the cryptographic keys technology to operate. It would help if you considered learning more about SSL encryption to know how it secures your data.
Most web admins acquire SSL certificates for security purposes. However, apart from security, SSL certificates have other benefits. For instance, you can use SSL for business SEO. You can also use it to improve credibility and customer trust, satisfy the PCI/DSS requirements, and affirm your identity.
Types of SSL Certificates
Before we look into the different types of SSL certificates, we will address the question of which kind of SSL certificate is best for security? As mentioned earlier, SSL works through encryption. Encryption is when plain text data is converted into ciphertext. No one can read nor understand the information in the ciphertext form.
Most have a notion that expensive SSL certificates offer more encryption strengths than cheap SSL certificates. However, this is not true. You must know that all certificate types offer equal encryption strengths- 256-bit encryption. So, when getting SSL for security purposes, you should consider other factors and not the encryption strengths. Let us now look at different types of SSL certificates that you should choose for your website.
SSL Certificates Based on Number of Domains and Subdomains
One of the best SSL buying tips that you should never miss out on is determining how many domains the SSL certificate will secure. For instance, it will be unwise to buy multiple domain SSL certificates when you only have a single domain. On the SSL certificate market, there is an answer to every need.
1. Single-domain SSL certificate
First, we have the single-domain SSL certificate. If, for instance, you are a small business with a single domain and without subdomains, then you will need to purchase a single-domain SSL certificate. Single domain SSL certificates tend to be more price-friendly than others, like multiple domains and wildcard SSL certificates.
2. Multiple domain SSL certificates
Multiple domain SSL certificates, as the name suggests, secure multiple domains. If your website has several domains, you do not have to shop for several single-domain SSL certificates for all your domains. All you need is a single multi-domain SSL certificate. Multi-domain SSL certificates are types of certificates that usually form the Subject Alternative Name field.
When acquiring the multi-domain SSL certificate, you will have to select the name of your website and list it as a Fully Qualified Domain Name in the certificate signing request. You will then list any extra site as a Subject Alternative Name. Upon issuance of the SSL certificate by the certificate authority, all your listed domains will be covered by it.
3. Wildcard SSL Certificates
A wildcard SSL certificate is one of the best certificates, especially when your website has several subdomains. The wildcard SSL certificate secures the primary domain and an unlimited number of first-level subdomains. So if you have such a website with a single domain and several first-level subdomains, all you need is a single wildcard, and you will be good to go.
When filling out the certificate signing request form, all you need is to replace the subdomain’s level with an asterisk key (*).
4. Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL Certificates
Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL Certificate protects multiple domains and an unlimited number of subdomains where wildcard character is inserted. This is because of the Wildcard SAN field, which functions both ways. Using a multi-domain wildcard SSL certificate is easy. You need to list a fully qualified domain name to secure all domains and then use an asterisk key to include all the subdomains.
SSL Certificates According to Validation Levels
SSL certificates can also be classified according to the validation levels. But, again, you have to note that all validation levels offer the same level of encryption. What makes them different are the vetting and verification procedures the certificate authority undertakes before issuing the certificate.
1. Domain Validation
Domain validation (mostly abbreviated as DV) is the lowest level of SSL validation. The only thing you need to do before acquiring the certificate is to prove that you are the legitimate owner of the domain. This is best suited for blog sites that are not involved in financial transactions.
2. Organization Validation
Organization Validation (OV) is the intermediate validation level. The certificate authority issuing an OV SSL certificate will first need to do a light vetting on the business that has requested the certificate. The vetting takes time, and this explains why DV SSL certificates are issued faster than OV certificates. All company details will be available for the public to see. A website with an OV certificate will have a secure padlock symbol available next to the address bar. The OV SSL certificates impart more trust in users than other SSL certificates.
3. Extended Validation
Extended Validation is the highest validation level. The certificate authority will do a complete business vetting to establish every detail about the business. A website with an EV SSL certificate will display the company name next to the URL on the address bar. Therefore, Extended validation SSL certificates offer instant identity assurance. Due to the lengthy validation procedures, EV SSL certificates usually take time to be issued.
There are many reasons why one needs to acquire an SSL certificate. Security, SEO, and trust are some of the reasons why you need a certificate. However, most website owners do not know which type of SSL certificate will be ideal for them. There are several SEO buying tips you can consider. For instance, you can check the number of domains and subdomains the certificate will secure and consider the validation level. This article has explained the reasons to acquire an SSL and the type of SSL certificate to consider.