Have a website? If you haven’t already, you should buy an SSL certificate. A fundamental element of website security, an SSL certificate will enable HTTPS on your site, which will encrypt the connections between your site and anyone wishing to access it. This means that any data sent over this connection is kept safe from prying eyes. Not only will it make your site a safer place to be, but it should inspire trust in your website visitors.
The problem is, buying an SSL can seem like a daunting task from the outset. With so many different types at varying price points, how do you know which to choose? Fortunately, we’ve broken it down into three steps which should make your buying journey a lot easier.
Keep reading to find out more.
1. Choose a type
SSL certificates can basically be broken down into three main categories: Single-domain, multi-domain, and wildcard. Let’s take a closer look at what each one is for.
Single-domain certificate: This type of SSL secures just one website.
Multi-domain certificate: This type of SSL secures multiple domains under one certificate.
Wildcard certificate: This type of SSL secures a single primary domain and multiple subdomains of one level linked to it (for example, if your website was “site.com” a potential subdomain could be blog.site.com).
Just by seeing the main SSL categories, it should become apparent pretty quickly which one you should go for based on the type of web property you have. If you have a single website and will probably keep it that way, the single-domain certificate is perfect for you. Multiple sites? Then the multi-domain should suit you best. If you have a single site and related subdomains, or if you think you will add subdomains to your site in the future, a wildcard SSL is likely your best bet.
2. Choose a validation level
The next significant consideration is the validation level. Validation refers to how much the issuing Certificate Authority (CA) will investigate you or your company before issuing an SSL. As a rule of thumb, the more background checks they perform, the more information that will be available to website users when they click on the SSL padlock indicator in the browser address bar. This is especially important for businesses offering a product or service. If you want people to buy from you, letting them know who you are is a good way of inspiring trust.
The three validation levels are:
- Domain validation (DV): DV is the least invasive validation level of the three. The CA will merely check that you have access to the website to make changes to it. As a result, there won’t be much information available to users. This kind of certificate is fine for simple websites.
- Organization validation (OV): More extensive than DV checks, with OV, the CA will check that your company exists through a phone call and other means.
- Extended validation (EV): Recommended for larger enterprises, the CA will check government records to ensure that the company exists.
3. Choose a seller
You can choose to buy straight from the issuing CAs themselves, but typically resellers sell them at a more affordable, discounted price. Generally, price isn’t a great indication of quality when it comes to SSL certificates since all SSL certificates actually have the same strength. So the main thing you should research is the seller’s reputation. Do they have good customer support? Will they help with installation? How’s their refund policy? Think about your needs when it comes to web security and choose your SSL shop accordingly.
Buying an SSL certificate isn’t rocket science. By taking the time to think about the kind of site you have and what you would like from a supplier, you should be able to start your SSL journey in no time.