Online Security

How to Choose an SSL Certificate

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Category: Online Security , Securing Your Website

Website security is a top priority when it comes to closing a sale online. It doesn't matter how great the product, offer, or website – if your customer doesn't feel safe providing payment details and sensitive personal information, you'll lose a sale. An SSL Certificate provides your customers with a visible indicator of website security, proof that you are a trustworthy vendor and that their online transaction will be protected.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) works by encrypting and protecting data transmitted between your Web server(s) and your customer's Web browser over the Internet. It's a world standard for Website security that ensures confidentiality of data involved in an online transaction, authentication of an ecommerce retailer, and integrity of the data throughout the sales transaction. Depending on the complexity of your business and the number of transactions you expect to process, there are different levels of encryption and protection required. So, how do you choose the right SSL Certificate for your website security? Here are a few factors to consider:

Ecommerce Website Security

Some vendors offer SSL Certificates with different levels of assurance. If you are accepting online payments, you will benefit from adding the strongest level of encryption and assurance to your ecommerce hosting package. When you consider the customer confidence you'll ensure by providing the best level of website security, you'll realize that the additional fee for maximum assurance is insignificant if it boosts sales.

Issuance Speed

How quickly do you need your SSL Certificate? It's an important question and may help determine your selection. If you are ready to start accepting payments online immediately, then you may need to select an SSL Certificate that can be issued instantly so you don't lose out on potential sales. You may decide to install a temporary low assurance SSL Certificate while you go through a more thorough validation process for a stronger SSL Certificate with higher website security levels or a greater warranty.

The speed of issuance is directly related to the level of validation of your business and the guarantee behind the SSL Certificate. Validation ranges from simply checking the domain name against the registrant information in the WHOIS domain database to reviewing your business credentials including your Dun & Bradstreet rating, articles of incorporation, licenses, etc.

SSL Certificate Warranty

The guarantee amount included in your SSL Certificate gives your customers an indication of how seriously you take website security. The more highly-assured SSL Certificate includes a higher guarantee - since the validation of your business is more thorough. If any fraudulent activity occurs as a direct result of a customer's transaction with a website containing an SSL Certificate, the issuing SSL Certificate Authority will reimburse the affected customers up to amounts from $1,000 to $1,000,000. Online visitors can immediately indentify the level of Website security based on the warranty.

Price and Number of Domains

Do you have to secure one domain or are key pages of your website contained on multiple domains? SSL Certificates can be purchased for individual domains and are also offered in bulk for sub domains, and to secure Virtual Private Networks (VPN). You will need an SSL Certificate for each domain that is part of the online transaction to secure transactions and to protect your customer's data at every step of the online transaction process.

You also want to make sure you don't put your website security at risk by forgetting to renew your SSL Certificate. Website security is paramount in a customer's mind and losing your secure site status can lead to dramatic loss in customer confidence. Many Web browsers will show an error message when the visitor accesses a page where the SSL certificate has expired. The time and technical requirements to install and update your SSL Certificate are especially worth considering when you factor in multi-year options to buy. If you're planning on selling online for a while – there may be cost savings in buying multi-year or an ongoing renewal for your SSL Certificate.

Website Security Seals

Does the SSL Certificate you wish to buy include a website security seal? Displaying a seal is another visible indicator of trust that will give your visitors confidence in your website security. These seals are often used on landing pages or home pages so that from the very first interaction with your website your customers are assured that you are a credible company. Building trust with your visitors is a key part in the relationship that will convert visitors to loyal and profitable customers. Website security seals can be particularly useful for companies with little brand awareness who are seeking additional means to build online credibility.

Customer Support

Being able to reach a real-person 24/7 can be a life-saver when you're experiencing any problems – especially if it is affecting your customer's perception of your Website security. Check to make sure there are customer support representatives available to you by email, phone, online chat or whatever method of communication will work best for your business. Knowing someone can help identify your problem and resolve it with you in real time can be valuable if ever a problem actually occurs!

An SSL Certificate assures your customers that you take website security seriously. It provides a visible sign that you are exactly who you say you are, that all credit card numbers will be encrypted and cannot be intercepted, and that data transfer is secure. Concern about website security is still the biggest motivator behind abandoned online shopping carts, so installing and prominently displaying a valid SSL Certificate helps lessen that fear, instill more confidence, and help convert sales.

Watch this video to learn more about SSL certificates!