What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL is an acronym for Secure Socket Layer, which is an awfully technical term for most Internet users. The ‘certificate’ is not a diploma or piece of paper. It is digital code which gets installed on your website server by your programmer, web developer or Webmaster. The code provides a layer of security for private transactions through your website. These transactions can be financial or the transfer of data requiring a secure connection, such as confidential tax prep information. In essence the SSL allows for a private conversation between the website user and the website owner.
Do I need an SSL Certificate?
Yes, if you are transferring confidential information, such as e-commerce payment processing or if your website allows for the transfer private, personal, confidential information.
How do I acquire an SSL Certificate?
An SSL can be easily purchased through most hosting companies. There is an annual fee, which can range from approximately $35 – $100. There may also be a one-time installation fee of $25 or more, but this is waived by some hosting companies if they are also hosting your website.
How do I install my SSL Certificate?
The hosting company can do this, or you can have them send you the ‘certificate code’ and have your programmer, web developer or webmaster insert this code into the website code.
How do I know that a site has an SSL installed?
Most websites promote that their site is secure by posting an icon such as that at the top of this article.
You can also check the website address (URL). If it begins with https the site has a security certificate installed. If the domain name begins with http (without the ‘s’) the page you are on is lacking a security certificate. When transferring confidential information on the Internet (such as making a purchase) always check the website address in the address bar for the https.
More on Internet Security.