As you’re shopping around for a web hosting company or just setting up your site, you may come across the term “SSL Certificate.” What is an SSL Certificate and is it something you really need?
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate, which is also sometimes called a digital certificate, encrypts data as its being transferred from a web browser to a server. Normally, this data would be sent as text, but with an SSL Certificate, it adds a layer of security to prevent it from being obtained and utilized by a third party. This is useful for websites that handle sensitive information like social security numbers, credit card numbers, phone numbers and home addresses. If your website is an online store, membership-based organization, or other site that requires your customers’ personal details, then you probably want an SSL Certificate. If your website is purely information-based, like a blog or online resume, then you probably don’t need one.
Your web hosting company may offer SSL Certificates bundled in their packages. At A Small Orange, all of our business plans come with an SSL Certificate included. If your web hosting company doesn’t offer SSL Certificates, you can purchase them through third party organizations like digicert.
There are many types of SSL Certificates available and they’re offered at a wide range of price points, so do your research first to make sure you’re getting one that fits your needs.