Understanding SSL Certificates



What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and enables an encrypted connection between a server and a browser. SSL certificates use public key cryptography to encrypt data and verify server identities, helping to secure internet traffic and transactions on the web. They establish a secure link between web servers and browsers to keep internet communications and sensitive data private and safe from hackers.

Why are SSL Certificates Important?

SSL certificates are crucial for establishing trust with website visitors. They indicate that a domain is secure and that connections to the site are encrypted. This gives users confidence that sensitive data like login credentials, payment details or personal information cannot be intercepted by malicious attackers. SSL certificates are also important for SEO as some browsers may mark sites without certificates as “not secure.” This can negatively impact a website’s ranking and trustworthiness in search results. Many companies and industries also require SSL to collect and transmit sensitive data securely.

Types of SSL Certificates

There are several different types of SSL certificates available depending on needs and usage. The most common types include:

– Domain Validated (DV) – Validates domain ownership only. Lowest level of vetting and security. Suitable for low-risk sites.
– Organization Validated (OV) – Verifies legal existence and address of organization. Provides stronger security than DV.
– Extended Validation (EV) – Requires extensive validation of business. Highest level of security and trust indicated by green address bar in browsers. Reserved for financial, government and large corporate sites.
– Wildcard – Secures unlimited subdomains on a single domain like *.example.com. More expensive but covers all subdomains with one certificate.
– Multi-Domain – Secures multiple domains under same certificate but requires separate validation of each domain. More cost-effective than separate certificates for each domain.
– Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – Original SSL protocol, now outdated but some certificates still use this term.

Buying and Installing an SSL Certificate

To purchase and install an SSL certificate, you will need to:

– Choose the right type of certificate based on your site, budget and security needs. Consider factors like validation level, domain coverage and expiry date.
– Select a reputable SSL certificate provider like GoDaddy, Comodo or Let’s Encrypt and add the certificate to your cart. Prices vary depending on provider and type of certificate.
– During checkout, you will be asked to verify your domain ownership through methods like uploading a text/HTML file or modifying a DNS record.
– Once validated, you will receive your certificate and installation instructions. The certificate needs to be installed on your website server and some server configuration may be required.
– Browsers will automatically trust certificates from trusted providers but you may need to restart your web server for changes to take full effect.
– Review and renew certificates before they expire to maintain continuous HTTPS encryption of your website’s traffic. Automatic renewal options are usually available.

Benefits of SSL Certificates

By securely encrypting traffic and proving website authenticity, SSL certificates provide several important benefits:

– Improved security – Protects sensitive data from interception or modification by malicious third parties on unsecured networks.
– Increased user trust – Promotes trust by establishing a reliable security layer and indicating a website’s legitimacy via browser security indicators.
– Better SEO rankings – Many search engines give preference to HTTPS sites for visibility and ranking purposes.
– Compliance requirements – Certain industries and regulations require HTTPS/SSL deployment for data security and privacy compliance.
– E-commerce enablement – SSL certificates are crucial for online payment processing and commerce websites to collect financial information securely.

In summary, SSL certificates are an important layer of defense for keeping website visitors, transactions and personal information secure. They reinforce user confidence and promote trust online through confidential and authenticated connections.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it