Which SSL Certificate Is Right For You?

SSL CertificateHey there, folks. Today’s piece is going to be a sort of primer on SSL Certificates. See, most of you probably already understand how important it is that you encrypt your communications. What a lot of you may not know is what actually goes into selecting the right certificate for your business.

That’s where we come in. We’re going to go over all the stuff you need to take into account when you’re choosing an SSL Certificate for your site. Best be sure you don’t ignore them – if you simply blunder out and buy the first certificate you come across, you’ll regret it.

What Do You Need To Account For When Choosing A Certificate?

Certificate selection is ultimately a matter of knowing exactly what you need to use your site for and then finding a vendor that offers a reasonable balance of cost, convenience, and effectiveness.

That’s simplifying it a bit, of course. Before you set out to find a vendor, you’re going to need to do a little bit of research. How profitable is your organization? How much of your budget can you afford to devote to data encryption?

Most importantly, how secure does the data being sent to and from your users need to be – and do your users need to know you’re keeping them safe?

Although some vendors offer a range of additional features (such as unlimited validation, ‘scaling,’ warranty, SGC Encryption and tech support), your choice is going to end up being between three basic ‘types’ of SSL:

  • Domain Validated/Low-Assurance Certificates don’t do much except secure your website and verify that you own the domain. Your users have no idea who it is they’re doing business with unless you tell them directly.
  • Organization Validated/High Assurance is the most common type of SSL Certificate, and provides both domain ownership and business registration details. Basically, this shows your visitors that there’s actually an organization behind the site they’re browsing.
  • Extended Validation is the most complex, extensive (and expensive) form of certificate and is designed to provide advanced protection against phishing attacks. It requires a great deal of authorization in order to set up, but adds a green ‘box’ on your user’s address bar to let them know they’re safe.

Which of the three is the best fit depends entirely on what you’re doing – and the sensitivity of the information being sent back and forth. If you’re just a small, independent blogging network, Low-Assurance should be more than enough for you. If, however, you’re running a digital storefront – and hence regularly dealing with sensitive financial details – then you’re going to want to spring for Extended Validation.

Makes sense, right?

In Closing

These days, security is more important than it’s ever been. As we begin to store more and more information online, the reward factor for hackers looking to steal that information climbs ever higher. It falls to businesses and webmasters alike to make sure that the information they deal with is kept safe – llest they suffer the results of a data breach.

SSL certificates are one of the many ways you can (and should) secure your data. Just make sure you choose the right one. This is one area where you can’t really afford to make any mistakes.

Matthew Davis is a technical writer and Linux geek for Future Hosting.

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