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SSL Certificate Meaning Unpacked: What Is It and Which Type Is Best for Your Website?

Your website offers you direct access to customers and potential customers around the world. Website security is therefore fundamental. One of the first steps to securing your website is through an SSL Certificate. The SSL Certificate meaning is that it provides a layer of security that encrypts communication between a website and its visitors.

In this comprehensive guide, we unpack everything you need to know about SSLs. We explore the benefits of owning one, look at the various types, and help you determine which one is the perfect fit for your business website.

Understanding SSL Certificate Meaning

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is a Secure Sockets Layer, meaning a standard of technology to establish an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This encryption ensures that all data transmitted between your website server and the browser of your site visitors will remain private and secure.

7 Benefits of owning an SSL Certificate

1. It enhances security

Perhaps the most significant benefit of an SSL Certificate is the enhanced security it provides. As mentioned before, it encrypts data transmitted between your website and your website visitors, making it unreadable to anyone trying to intercept it. This encryption protects sensitive information such as login credentials, payment details, and personal data from being accessed by cybercriminals.

2. It ensures data integrity

An SSL not only encrypts data, but it also ensures data integrity. SSLs use cryptographic algorithms to detect any tampering or modification of data during transmission. This ensures that the data received by your website visitor’s browser is exactly as it was sent from your server, without any unauthorised changes.

3. It encourages trust and credibility

A website with encryption in place will display a padlock icon and HTTPS in the address bar. This visual indication of security could instill trust and confidence in your website, leading to higher conversion rates, increased customer loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

4. It improves Search Engine Rankings (SEO)

Do you want your website to rank higher? Done! Search engines like Google prioritise websites with SSL Certificates in their search results. Having this encryption can therefore contribute to higher rankings, as Google considers HTTPS as a ranking signal. This means increased visibility and organic traffic for your website.

5. It ensures that your website complies with security standards

If you want to sell online, you must have an SSL. Many regulatory bodies and industry standards, require certain websites to have an SSL encryption. It is therefore a good idea to get one to ensure compliance with these standards and help avoid penalties or legal issues.

6. It can offer peace of mind

Cybersecurity is a growing concern, and people are becoming very sceptical about the sites they visit. Phishing sites often try to mimic legitimate websites to steal sensitive information. With an SSL in place, you can verify the authenticity of your website thereby providing your visitors with peace of mind.

7. It is mobile compatible

With the growing use of mobile devices for browsing and online transactions, SSLs ensure secure communication between mobile browsers and web servers as well desktops, etc. This is crucial for maintaining security and trust across all devices used to access your website.

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Types of SSL Certificates and Their Meaning

While all types of SSL Certificates offer the same level of encryption (256-bit), the meaning, purpose, and price of each differs to some extent.

Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificate

A DV SSL Certificate is a budget-friendly option that quickly verifies domain ownership for basic website encryption needs. While it lacks the extensive validation of higher-level certificates, it still boosts SEO, builds trust with visitors by displaying HTTPS security, and meets compliance requirements for some industries.

Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificate

An OV SSL Certificate offers a higher level of trust and professionalism than that of a DV, providing rigorous validation of domain ownership and an organisation’s details. An OV Certificate not only enhances security but also complies with industry standards and may offer SEO benefits, making it a preferred choice if you need more credibility and trustworthiness for your website.

Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate

An EV SSL Certificate provides the highest level of validation. It undergoes extreme vetting processes to verify an organisation’s identity, legal status, and operational existence. Websites with this level of SSL display a green address bar in browsers, indicating a highly secure connection.

Wildcard SSL Certificate

A Wildcard SSL Certificate secures a primary domain and all its subdomains. For example, if your primary domain is www.example.com, a Wildcard Certificate would also secure blog.example.com, shop.example.com, etc.

There are additional specific SSL Certificates and you can read more in our Knowledgebase: What are the Different Types of SSL Certificates, which include descriptions for: Self-Signed, Server-Gated Cryptography (SGC), Subject Alternative Name (SAN), and Code Signing.

Which SSL Certificate is Best for Your Business Website?

Now that you know what each SSL means, you are probably wondering which type you should sign up for. The type you choose will be dependent on the nature of your business, the level of validation required, and the specific security needs.

Here’s what we would recommend for:

Small Businesses and Personal Websites
If you have a small business website, portfolio website, blog or vlog, online resume, personal branding website, hobby-based site, and or an event/project website, a DV SSL will be sufficient. They are more affordable and offer the basic encryption your site needs.

E-commerce and Business Websites
For e-commerce and business websites, especially those handling sensitive customer information like payment details and personal data, opting for an OV SSL is highly recommended. Its meticulous validation process instils greater trust and confidence in your website, as customers can see that your site is authenticated and associated with a legitimate business entity.

Large Enterprises and High-Value Transactional Websites
Enterprises dealing with high-value transactions, financial services, and sensitive data should get an EV SSL to match their high level of security needs. As mentioned above, EVs display additional visible assurance of authenticity and security which customers need.

Websites with Multiple Subdomains
Businesses with multiple subdomains can benefit from a Wildcard SSL to secure all subdomains under one certificate, ensuring comprehensive protection. It makes it easier and more cost-effective to manage their site’s encryptions.

Domains.co.za’s SSL Certificate Selection

At Domains.co.za we are passionate about our customers’ online safety, and we know how important it is for you to do the same for your clients. We therefore offer all the various SSL types mentioned above. This way we can be there your business from its onset throughout each phase of growth.

Only the best in the industry is good enough for our customers which is why these are the companies we’ve partnered with for all your SSL needs.

  • Comodo:
    Comodo is a well-known Certificate Authority (CA) that offers a range of SSL Certificates, including DV, OV, and EV certificates. Comodo Certificates are known for their affordability, reliability, and compatibility with a wide range of browsers and devices.
  • Certum:
    Certum is another trusted CA offering DV, OV, and EV SSL Certificates. Certum Certificates are known for their strong encryption, robust security features, and compatibility with modern web standards.
  • Rapid:
    Rapid SSL Certificates are budget friendly DV Certificates that provide basic encryption for small businesses and personal websites. They are easy to set up and offer quick issuance, making them suitable for businesses looking for cost-effective security solutions.
  • True Business ID SSL Certificates:
    True Business ID Certificates, often offered by companies like GeoTrust, provide OV and EV validation levels. They are ideal for businesses looking for enhanced validation, trust, and security features, such as green address bar display for EV certificates.

CTA:

Looking to get an SSL certificate for your website? Domains.co.za has got DV SSL certificates, OV SSL certificates & Wildcards.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • SSL Certificate Meaning: SSL Certificates establish secure encrypted connections between web servers and browsers, ensuring data privacy and security.
  • Types of SSL Certificates you can choose from: Domain Validated (DV), Organization Validated (OV), Extended Validation (EV), Wildcard SSL offer varying levels of validation and encryption.
  • The differences between these SSL Certificates lie in factors such as validation levels, pricing, and visual security features.
  • Consider your website’s needs, the level of validation required, and the number of domains or subdomains, so as to determine the best SSL Certificate for your business.

FAQs

Why is an SSL Certificate necessary for payments on a website?

An SSL Certificate is a digital certificate that encrypts data exchanged between a web browser and a website’s server, ensuring secure payment processing on a website and that clients’ payment details are protected.

How can I ensure that my online payments are secure?

To ensure secure online payments, use reputable payment gateways, update software regularly, and implement strong authentication measures.

Why are HTTPS websites preferred for online transactions?

HTTPS websites are preferred for online transactions because they use SSL/TLS encryption to protect data during transmission, reducing the risk of data theft.

How is the SSL protocol used for a secure transaction?

The SSL protocol encrypts data exchanged between a client (web browser) and a website (server) using cryptographic algorithms, ensuring secure communication.

How secure is an SSL?

An SSL is highly secure when implemented correctly on a website’s server, encrypting data to prevent unauthorised access during transmission.

Is an SSL Certificate necessary to run an online store?

An SSL Certificate is of paramount importance to run any online store because it encrypts all sensitive payment data like credit card information, protecting customers’ privacy and building trust.

Why is an SSL more important for an e-commerce website?

An SSL is more important for e-commerce websites because they handle highly sensitive customer data like payment information, and the prevention of criminal activity requires a higher level of security.

If an SSL certificate is not used, what provides security for an online shop?

Without an SSL certificate, other security measures like HTTPS, firewalls, and secure payment gateways may provide some level of security for a small online shop, but it is incredibly risky to take that chance and end up losing your business and your reputation.

How does encryption ensure safety in online transactions?

Encryption ensures safety in online transactions by scrambling data into a format that can only be read by authorized parties with the decryption key.

What are the safest ways to process transactions on the web?

The safest ways to process transactions online include using SSL/TLS encryption, reputable payment gateways, secure authentication methods, and regular security audits.

Is Extended Validation SSL worth it?

Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates offer enhanced validation procedures, verifying the identity of the website owner and providing a higher level of trustworthiness. Whether it’s ‘worth it’ depends on the business’s needs and customer expectations.

What will an SSL Certificate bring to my business?

An SSL Certificate brings trust, security, and data protection to your business, enhancing customer confidence and compliance with security standards.

Why should web users care about SSL Certificates?

Web users should care about SSL certificates because they indicate a secure connection, protecting their sensitive information from cyber threats like data breaches and identity theft.

What is an EV SSL Certificate and how does it work?

An Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate provides the highest level of assurance, displaying the company’s legal name in the browser’s address bar to confirm its identity and build trust with users.

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