Secured Sockets Lock (SSL) certificates are the talk of the cyber security world these days. They have taken the internet by storm. From a small online retail store to massive financial institutions, from a website owner to a blog writer, everyone needs an SSL certificate to ensure the security of data exchanged over their site.

SSL certificates were initially only a requirement of the website, but it has become a mandatory standard nowadays. SSL certificate importance is not limited to data security. SSLs help build user trust, improve SEO rank, and much more. In this article, we will explain what SSL certificates are, their types, how they are important, and who needs to use an SSL certificate.

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL (Secured Sockets Lock) certificates are small data files used on the server-side and add a cryptographic key to the server. When SSL certificates are installed on a server, it activates a secure connection between the server and the browser.

This signifies that the data transferred over this secure connection is encrypted. Therefore, a third party cannot hack or tempered the data. Even if a hacker peeps into the site, they will only witness a mix of numbers and alphabets, which are difficult to crack.
When an SSL certificate is installed on a server, HTTP protocol changes to HTTPS, where 'S' stands for secure.

Types Of SSL Certificate

Various types of SSL certificates can be used as per need and budget. Here is a list of these types:

Single Domain SSL Certificate: A single-domain SSL certificate is applied to only a single domain/subdomain. No other domain or even the sub-domain of the applied domain can use it.

Wildcard SSL Certificate: A wildcard SSL certificate covers a single domain and sub-domains. It cannot be applied to any other domain. All the sub-domains will be listed within the certificate.

Unified Communications (UCC) SSL Certificate: Multiple domains can be covered under a single SSL certificate. Near to 250 domains (depending upon the provider) and their sub-domains can be listed in a UCC SSL certificate.

  • Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificate: Probably the lowest validation certificate. In this certificate, you only need to prove that you control the domain. Bloggers, portfolio sites, etc., purchase it.
  • Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificate: OV certificates make the owner's site much more trustworthy as it contains the organization's name and address. In this, the CA might look for an in-depth investigation of business-related documents.
  • Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate: The organization's full detailed background check occurs here. It is the most trustworthy certificate and is costly also.

Why Is SSL Essential For A Website?

Apart from the primary facility of encrypting the website data, there is much more than you expect while using an SSL certificate. SSL certificate importance can be ascertained from the list below.

1.    Protects User Data

An SSL certificate protects the communication between a server and a browser. All the data that traverse between client and server is encrypted and cannot be read by a third party. The SSL certificates also have the facility to enlist who can access the secured data.

2.   Gives You More Protection Against Hackers

What one does look for is the security of their personnel information like credit card details, their log-in credentials, etc. SSL certificate makes sure that no hacker gets access to this vital information. In addition, an SSL certificate helps to encrypt the data and saves the user in case of a man-in-the-middle attack.

3.   Increases Search Engine Ranks.

Who doesn't want to top the search engine's ranking? However, many search engines, especially Google, provide an upper hand to websites with SSL certificates. For better search engine optimization and to attract more traffic to the website, SSL certificates are essential.

4.   Meets PCI Standards

If your website deals with online payments, you must comply with the PCI (Payment Card Industry) Data Security Standards. Among the 12 requirements stated by PCI, one is to have an SSL certificate. If you don't have an SSL certificate, you might suffer hefty penalties from credit card companies.

5.   Establishes Trust With Users

Apart from encrypting the data, an SSL certificate helps build user trust in your website. When a website has an SSL certificate, you are sure that your data is secured, and you freely use the site and even revisit it. Also, by clicking on the SSL certificate, you can get the organization's information if there is OV or EV certificate.

6.   Requires Security Identification

Cases of fraudulent purchases or stolen identities have been lowered with an SSL certificate. Before inputting any information, it verifies the identity of the user. It further authenticates the third party before sending your personal information to it.

7.   Identifies Risks

What makes SSL certificates important is the prior notification of a potential hack or threat to the website. You can immediately check the website data for tempering or change important passwords or log-in credentials.

Who Uses SSL?

Are you thinking about whom all can use SSL certificates? SSL certificates should be used by everyone who owns a website. Here is a list of professionals from varying industries that uses SSL certificates:

  • IT professionals
  • Web developers 
  • Retail employees 
  • Marketing specialists 
  • Banking  professionals 
  • Education professionals 
  • Financial managers 
  • Healthcare professionals 
  • Insurance specialists 

All these professionals use SSL certificates to ensure that their client's information, be it personal, bank account-related, finance-related, medical condition, school grades, and others are not stolen by an intruder. They validate their SSL certificates depending on the organization's need and trust.

Final Words

Security of data is the need of the day. And SSL certificates strictly work to provide security of data. However big or small your organization is, it's your responsibility to secure the visitor's data being the owner. So, without underestimating the potential of traffic to your website, it is time to encrypt the data and help keep your website from being marked as "not secure."

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