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There are many elements when it comes to protecting your website visitors. While these can dramatically vary, perhaps one of the most important security levels is an SSL, also known as a Secure Sockets Layer. This protocol is standard throughout the digital community as it’s able to confidentially transmit sensitive data, such as credit card numbers and other confidential information. Due to its widespread use, customers find this level of security necessary in order to interact with many businesses.
How SSL Works
In order to fully understand the importance of an SSL certificate, it’s imperative to actually know how this security feature operates. In the most fundamental sense, an SSL works by utilizing a private and public key to effectively encrypt personal data before it’s transmitted. Once the receiving server obtains the encrypted data, the matching key unlocks, or decrypts, the transmission. Because of the severe threat posed by hackers, utilizing an SSL can provide essential protection for not only yourself, but also your visitors and customers.
Dedicated and Shared SSL
There are two primary types of SSL certificates: shared and dedicated. While both of these certificate types feature the same purpose, which is to safeguard private information for transmission between two servers, the primary difference is the visual layout of the SSL. When you use a shared SSL, the URL will look like a subdomain while a dedicated SSL will be relatively unnoticed within the layout of the domain URL. Two mainstream shared hosting providers, Bluehost and HostGator, both offer very similar SSL encryption options with their hosting plans. The difference is minimal, but the importance of having an SSL certificate is not. When deciding between bluehost or hostgator consider the parameters of their SSL before choosing one.
Although shared SSL certificates are just as secure as a dedicated SSL, the appearance may not be appropriate for serious businesses. Because website visitors may not be well-versed in how SSL certificates operate, it’s best to utilize a dedicated SSL certificate. Upon doing so, the domain URL will feature a lock icon on the left-hand side of the URL, which is a visual cue that all data being transmitted is secure and safe from prying eyes.
How to Get an SSL Certificate
Now that you understand the importance of an SSL, you’re likely wondering how you can get one. Thankfully, this is one of the easiest ways a website administrator can safeguard their digital presence. The majority of website hosting providers offer a built-in option for an SSL certificate. In many cases, installing an SSL is as easy as simply clicking the “Add SSL Certificate” button within your control panel. There are many third party vendors capable of providing an SSL; however, if your website hosting provider offers this tool, it’s typically easiest to go with their own.
For more info on SSL and the best options out there, see this thread.