Last updated: 23/03/2017
You need to order an SSL certificate? But what is an SSL certificate? And why is everyone saying that it gives a boost of confidence to your visitors?
An SSL certificate is a digital file linking a cryptographic key to company data. Once installed on a webserver, the SSL certificate allows for an encrypted connection between the visitor's browser and the website through the HTTPS protocol. More info on SSL can be found on the « What is SSL? » page.
Encryption of the data exchanged between the website and the browser is the main point, but SSL certificates also guarantee web visitors:
Without SSL certificates, there's no way to know if a certain site is not a false copy used for phishing purposes, or who's running a specific website. And that's exactly why websites with an SSL certificate give a boost in confidence to their visitors.
Certificate requests are vetted by Certificate Authorities, entailing audits of a varying nature depending on the type of certificate validation needed - domain validation, organization validation or extended validation.
Certificate Authorities work as a trusted third party, whose identity is built-in in web browsers, and trusted as a result. An SSL certificate approved by a Certificate Authority will be trusted by the browser too, since the emitted certificate is signed digitally by the Certificate Authority.
The most perfunctory validation, Domain Validation (DV), implies only a check to establish that the certificate requester's identity is also that of the domain owner. Thus, a certificate for www.example.com will only be issued to its domain owner. but no further identity checks are involved.
Organization Validation (OV) requires a check of the requesting organisation's company details, guaranteeing to visitors that the comapny details contained in the certificate are correct.
An even greater degree of certainty is offered by Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates, that are only issued after extensive identity checks and a company audit by the Certificate Authority. This type of certificate is more expensive, cannot be obtained as quickly, and has a maximum validity of two years, but its owner will see his exertions rewarded by the prized green address bar in the visitor's browser, as well as a mention of the company name in the address bar. It is clear that Extended Validation offers the most confidence and trust to your website's visitors.
Kinamo's SSL start page offers a wide choice of SSL certificates for diverse purposes.