SSL certificates form a key part of all websites that process financial transactions. SSL means “Secure Sockets Layer”, and allows the customer to complete a transaction through a website securely, without any chance of the data entered by the customer becoming known to a third party. When data is transmitted from the customer’s computer to the destination, the data entered will transmit through many different computers. To prevent any unauthorized access to this data, the information transmitted is encrypted. If the data was transmitted without encryption, which can only be provided by an SSL certificate, there is a chance of the data falling into unwanted hands.
In order to identify if a website has an SSL certificate or not, simply look in the address bar. If you see that the URL contains https:// rather than just http:// without the “s”, then the website has an SSL certificate. There should also be an icon in the address bar which shows the websites accreditation, normally in the form of a padlock.
So, what SSL certificate provides should you consider? Trying to find the best SSL certificate provider can be rather difficult. Here are our recommendations:
This company are owned by global giants Geotrust. Many large global companies make use of the Geotrust certificates, so they can certainly be trusted. From their website, you can get a RapidSSL certificate from just $12 per year – not bad! But some websites will require some more protection than others. It also comes with a warranty of $10,000, which should be enough for most small e-commerce websites. Obviously, if you have a greater sales volume, you will have to have greater warranty cover available.
The support that RapidSSL offers is also very useful. You can have 256 bit encryption, which is the minimum amount of encryption you should have in my view.
GoDaddy are most commonly associated with being a domain registrar, so they are not a specialist SSL certificate provider. Godaddy offer a wide range of certificate options, so you should be able to find the right solution for you. Prices start at around £49 per year for a certificate, so they are quite cost effective. The cheapest SSL certificates will only cover you for just one domain name.
AlphaSSL are another SSL provider to consider. Prices start at $50. Alpha SSL has a slight advantage over the two providers discussed above as they will cover your website both with the www and non www versions of your website, aswell as any mobile variations that may exist. Alpha SSL is backed by industry heavyweight Verisign, who’s parent company Symantec actually invented the certificate system back in 95. One disadvantage of this certificate is the rather low warranty cover of just $1000.