An SSL certificate ( SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer ) is a digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection. Install SSL on a web server, it activates the padlock and the HTTPS protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.
SSL is an essential security measure for any website that collects personal information from users. If you’re looking to add an SSL Certificate to your website, we’ve got everything you need to know.
This overview will teach you everything you need to know about SSL Certificates and how they can protect your website and customers from harm. You will find the recommendations for the best SSL Certificate providers today.
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Why do you need an SSL Certificate?
SSL certificates are used to create a secure connection between a website and a user’s web browser. This secure connection ensures that all data that passes between the two is private and cannot be intercepted by third parties. SSL certificates are therefore essential for any website that handles sensitive information, such as credit card details or personal information. It also improves SEO rankings because Google values websites with HTTPS as more trustworthy than those without it.
How do SSL Certificates Work?
SSL certificates are used to create a secure connection between a website and a user’s web browser. The encrypted data is impossible to read without a secret key, called a decryption key. The process works like this:
- The type you secure URL is indicated by HTTPS (https://icncomputer.com).
- The web server sends a public key along with its SSL certificate. Valid SSL certificates are digitally signed by a third party, establishing the server’s identity and domain ownership.
- Whne the certificate’s signature is verified, your browser displays a padlock icon in the URL bar.
- Your web browser sends encrypted data to the web server along with a secret key.
- The server uses a private decryption key to read the data and access the secret key.
- The browser and server will share data using the secret decryption key. Information is unreadable to hackers who do not have a shared secret key.
Benefits of having an SSL Certificate
- Secure Website: Every connection is secured, and a random third party can’t access all the data transferred through it. Your visitors will trust your website more if they see a secure HTTPS connection.
- Encryption: SL certificate helps to protect sensitive information such as logins, passwords, account details, and cardholder’s information) for e-commerce websites during Internet communication.
- Authentication: It is important to know that the website you would like to visit and where you want to make a payment is authentic and trustworthy. This means your visitors can be sure they have reached the correct website and feel secure about any personal information being shared.
- SEO Boost: Google is contently making algorithm updates, in 2014 Google announced HTTPS as Ranking Signal. Deploying an SSL Certificate to your website will make your site secure and browsers will show a trust indicator (Pad Lock) in the address bar.
- Affordable: Cheap web Hosting services offer SSL certificates at discounted prices, and you can choose from different brands and types such as Namecheap and Hostinger.
Types of SSL Certificates
- Domain Validation (DV):
DV is the simplest form of SSL certificate validation and only applies to domain ownership verification. It’s usually done through email verification and doesn’t require any further investigations from the CA. It’s also the cheapest and fastest way to acquire an SSL certificate.
- Organization Validation (OV):
OV is the next level up when it comes to validation. In addition to validating your domain, the CA also verifies your business by directly contacting you or your business. The CA verifies that you own the domain and that it’s for a legally registered business. These certificates are considered very reliable.
- Extended Validation (EV):
EV is typical among business websites and offers the highest level of trust and reliability. It involves a full background check of your business. Acquiring this certificate involves a strict vetting process by the CA.
What Details Does an SSL Certificate Include?
An SSL certificate includes the details of the party to whom the certificate has been issued. It includes the following information:
- Domain Name
- Certificate Validity Period
- Certificate Authority (CA) Details
- Public Key
- Public Key Algorithm
- Certificate Signature Algorithm
- SSL/TLS Version
- Thumbprint Algorithm
How to Get a Free SSL Certificate?
Here are some of the most popular hosting companies that provide free SSL certificates as part of their plans:
Bluehost offers affordable hosting packages to fit your needs. They also have WordPress-specific features like one-click installation and 24/7 access to WordPress experts. Packages with free SSL certificates start at $2.75 per month.
Dreamhost has WordPress hosting plans with a 97-day money-back guarantee. Their basic monthly plans start at $2.59 with a free SSL certificate included.
Hostinger, like many other cheap hosting services, offers shared web hosting. It comes with WordPress features such as WordPress installers, which makes it easy to get started with a website quickly. You can see these features in the Website section, under Auto Installer in your Hostinger dashboard.
HostGator has a reputation for offering faster speeds than most shared hosts. It’s also quite affordable and user-friendly for beginners. Their plans are backed by a 99% uptime guarantee with an SLA promise that includes a Free SSL Certificate and one hour of free customer support per month.
How to Install an SSL Certificate?
There are a few steps that need to be followed to install the SSL certificate for your website.
Step 1: Select the appropriate certificate
Various websites offer varying levels of security, so first, select the certificate you want. Also, there are various free SSL certificate providers ( such as cheap web hosting services ) which can make things easy for you.
Step 2: Certificate Signing Request (CSR)
After selecting the certificate for your website, generate a Certificate Signing Request, which is exactly like filling out a nomination form where you have to mention basic details. These basic details include:
- Common name (domain name): The fully-qualified domain name. (e.g., www.domainname.com). You can choose an appropriate domain name through our blog.
- Email Address: Mail address that helps verifies your SSL certificate and sends mail including additional details.
- Organization: Your company’s legally registered name.
- Organizational unit: The name of your department within the organization. This entry will usually be listed as “IT“.
- City / Locality: The city where your company is legally located.
- State/Province: The state/province where your company is legally located.
- County/Region: The country/region where your company is legally located. Use the drop-down list to select your country.
Note: The form will generate the Private Key file and the CSR. Save both of those, as the certificate will be unusable without them.
Step 3: Complete the Order Process
After the CSR process, you will then receive the order confirmation report in your mail and you need to verify the order for further proceedings.
Step 4: Validation of your chosen Certificate Authority
After you have verified your email, your request will be checked and the levels of checking will be based on the certificate ordered by you. After the request is checked, your certificate will be released.
Step 5: Upload CSR and Generate SSL Certificate
Log in to your web hosting account, navigate to My Account > My Products > SSL Certificates. Click on the Manage for the domain you want to add a custom SSL certificate to and select Add custom SSL certificate from the dropdown menu.
Step 6: Add SSL and Private Key
Now, You will then be able to add your private key (.key) and certificate (.cert, .cer., or .crt file). Paste the contents of your .crt file in the .cert file contents field first and then the contents of the .ca-bundle file below that, in the same field. Once you’ve inputted the Certificate Files into the correct boxes, click Install Certificate.