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Does my website need an SSL certificate?

Introduction

The Google Chrome and Firefox internet browsers have recently implemented new technology informing users on whether a website is secure or not. This message comes in the form of a pop-up box which notifies visitors that the site is non-secure when payment details or personal information are entered.

This can be problematic seeing as Google Chrome accounts for 63% of browser usage share and Firefox for 7.8%. That accounts for almost three quarters of people using these web browsers worldwide in 2017. Therefore, the likelihood is that a majority of visitors to your own site will see this message appear if you do not possess an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of people’s first reaction when this message appears is to purchase an SSL certificate. Whilst V8Media recommend an SSL certificate to any website that involves customers entering their personal information and payment details, it is not always necessary for websites to purchase one, particularly if there is no exchange of personal information.

Here is our beginners guide to run you through the options out there when looking to purchase an SSL certificate:

 

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is a form of security protocol that encrypts data between a browser and web server. Meaning that anyone who attempts to view this information will see an encrypted message. Essentially this message will be a jumbled mess making it incredibly difficult for a hacker to gain personal information, payment details etc. Which is why when you look at well-established eCommerce or online banking websites, they all have an SSL certificate in place to prevent their customers personal data being stolen. 

A non-secure site in regards to SSL certificates is a site where the traffic is not encrypted. What this means is that a potential hacker could intercept the traffic and read what information is being sent and received.

This does not mean the server or the site itself has any vulnerabilities, but it does mean that any sensitive information which is being sent and received by the site (such as payment details or personal information) is readable if intercepted.

 

SSL Certificate Options

SSL’s come in a variety of forms so if you are not familiar with how they work it can be difficult to choose a certificate which best fit your requirements. Here is our list of the different type of certificates you can purchase to give you some idea of where to start looking:

 

Standard SSL Certificate:

A Standard SSL certificate secures traffic to and from a website. This is evident by the padlock that appears in the URL bar next to the ‘www’ address, to let visitors to the website know it’s secure. One thing that sets the standard SSL certificate apart from more expensive options is that this SSL only secures one website domain. Therefore, if you are looking to cover multiple domains then this type of SSL certificate will be unable to do that.

 

Wildcard Certificate:

If you are looking for an SSL certificate which serves the same purpose as a standard SSL certificate but covers multiple subdomains instead of one single domain, then a wildcard SSL certificate will make it possible to use on multiple subdomains.

 

EV (Extended Validation) Certificate:

An EV certificate can help your website’s security appear more authentic than the previous SSL certificates mentioned. This is shown through having the name of your company appear alongside the padlock in the URL bar. See Lloyds Bank’s website as an example of this where ‘Lloyds Banking Group PLC [GB]’ is included in the URL bar -  https://www.lloydsbank.com/.

Purchasing this type of SSL certificate means your company has to go through a rigorous process to show to your visitors that you are a validated company that can be trusted with personal details. However, these certificates are more expensive and owning this particular kind of SSL tends to be more prevalent amongst financial companies or large eCommerce websites which deal with customers on a mass scale.

 

Still Unsure?

We understand that purchasing an SSL certificate can be a rather daunting task. Even with a basic understanding of the different SSL certificates that are available, knowing which companies to purchase from and which SSL certificate best suits your website (if you need one at all) can be confusing.

However V8Media are here to help. Whether you have already decided on a company to purchase an SSL certificate from or you would rather let us advise and carry out this process for you, we can work with you to ensure you make a decision that best serves your interests. Here are a couple of ways we can help:

  • If you have already chosen an SSL certificate and a company to purchase a certificate from or are in the process of doing so, then please let us know at your earliest convenience by contacting info@v8media.co.uk. This means we can acquire the correct files that you will need to complete the process much quicker, rather than you having to do this yourself.

 

  • Alternatively, if an SSL certificate is something you think your company website needs but you are not sure where to start, we can advise and carry this process out for you. This will include consulting with you on whether your website needs an SSL certificate in the first place, the type of certificate to purchase and which is the best company to purchase from.

 

If we have both decided that an SSL certificate would be of benefit to your business and you are happy to go ahead then the only thing we then need from you is generic information about your company to validate the certificate. This means you can then let us worry about the paperwork whilst you enjoy a secure website that no longer scares your customers away with non-secure messages.

 

To find out more about SSL certificates or to discuss the options available to you in more detail, please contact us at info@v8media.co.uk to speak to a member of our team.