What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer.
It protects sensitive data between a server & a client.
In simple words, the transmitted information between you and a website is encrypted & remains safe.
Having an SSL is a must for those who have an e-commerce site. It not only makes your site trustworthy, using an SSL on your website is a positive search engine ranking signal.
Many bloggers argue that they don’t need an SSL certificate as they are only offering information & not selling anything.
This logic looks valid, but one should know that blogging is not just a hobby & people make decisions based on information they read in blogs. Using SSL encryption will prevent man in the middle attacks, which is a serious security issue when working online.
Bloggers can take advantage of free SSLs (shared SSL’s) offered by companies such as LetsEncrypt & CloudFlare. Both of them are free & supported by all major hosting companies. Both of them also offer domain validated SSL certificates. (You will learn more about different types of SSL in the next article of this series.)
Now, let’s have a look at things you need to consider when shopping for an SSL certificate.
Dedicated SSL vs. Shared SSL
- Dedicated SSLs are fully owned by one user (and they cost money).
- Shared SSLs are usually free, but have security concerns & are not recommended for e-commerce sites.
Another major difference between dedicated & shared SSLs are the support services. Shared SSLs don’t have support & dedicated SSLs do have support.
(However, a quick search on Google, or your hosting technical support system, can help you with any issues you have.)
Level of Encryption
There are various levels of encryption available. To accept credit/debit cards, you should have an SSL certificate with a minimum of 128-BIT.
The Brand Name:
You can buy an SSL from anywhere, but consider using a brand when you are selling expensive items such as cars, jewelry, jet planes, or anything where trust factor plays a major role in a buying decision.
For high end e-commerce sites, you can purchase an SSL from companies like Verisign, Geotrust, or Comodo.
Do you need a dedicated I.P.?
- It’s important to have a dedicated I.P. when using an SSL certificate.
In short, you can use an SSL certificate on shared hosting.
But when using a shared I.P., there are some trade-offs:
- It’s common to see a certificate mismatch error.
- SNI is not compatible with many old browser versions.
- Ex: Safari on Windows XP, any version of Internet Explorer (6,7,8,9), Blackberry browsers.
- You can read about SNI in detail over here.
Can you pay for SSL bi-monthly?
The minimum tenure to purchase an SSL certificate is 1 year.
Optionally, you can choose to purchase it for 2-3 years at a time.
I hope this clarifies your SSL related questions before making a purchase. In the next guide, you will learn about different types of SSL certificates & which one should you buy.
38 thoughts on “Things To Know Before Buying An SSL Certificate”
Is Free SSL certificate good for google ranking and google AdSense approval ?
For Google ranking definitely. For AdSense approval, not sure.
Well! First off, Indeed a useful info. To choose the best ssl certificate for any organization, one needs to consult an SSL expert. One can also opt for basic ssl which is known as domain validated (DV) SSL.
Do I need SSL certificate for Affiliate Marketing?
If you asking is it important for your Affiliate marketing website? my answer is “yes”. You can use free SSL certificate from LetsEncrypt.
I think for bloggers let’s encrypt certificate will be better . if anyone starting e-commerce site they must choose paid SSL certificate from authority.
Was searching info on SSL and came across this webpage. All the info I was looking regarding SSL I got that here on this page. Thanks a lot for this post.
Thanks Harsh for sharing this guide, I was about to buy one for my website and I found this tutorial very useful please also share the method to get a free one 🙂
Hey Harsh Sir, Thanks for sharing this great post about SSL Certificates. I was searching for SSL Certificate for free. Here in your post, I got to know about LetsEncrypt, which provides us SSLs for free. Thanks Sir.