What is an SSL Certificate, and what are the different types?

SSL is what makes https domains work.

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This technology creates an encrypted connection between the server hosting your website and the web browser your visitors are using. This allows private information to be transmitted securely, for example credit card details for online purchases.

You will usually see a padlock icon in your address bar if a site is using SSL, or alternatively the address bar could be green. Plus, the website address will begin with https rather than the standard http (without the s on the end). If you want to use https on your website, you need an SSL certificate. 

Do I need an SSL certificate?

Short answer: yes, all sites should now have an SSL certificate. Read this blog post for more information about why this is.

If you have an online store, it is particularly essential to have an SSL certificate, otherwise the data your customers send you will not be encrypted, putting them at risk of identity theft. Also, potential customers won’t trust you if you don’t have this layer of security.

How can I get an SSL certificate?

Performance Foundry can help you to buy and install your SSL certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA) using the https upgrade package we created for our hosting clients. Pick up our https upgrade package here.

What are the different types of SSL certificate?

There are three different types of SSL certificates available. All three of the certificates will encrypt information, the difference is in the level of information that is verified about the owner of the website.

1. Domain Validation (DV)

A Domain Validated SSL certificate is the most basic of the certificates, and is designed to prove that the owner of the URL has the right to use that domain name. The CA will send an email to the domain owner, and once the owner responds, the certificate is issued. The certificate does not show a validated company name as this will not have been checked during the validation process.

2. Organizational Validation (OV)

The next level of SSL certification is the Organizational Validation (OV) certificate. This is the minimum level of certification recommended for ecommerce transactions, as it contains an acceptable level of information about the company running the transaction. In this case, the CA will validate the company name and the domain name (and possibly other information related to the domain) by using public databases. The certificate will include the company name and the domain name that the certificate was issued for.

3. Extended Validation (EV)

EV Certificates are the most authenticated of the three options, as more information about the company running the website is validated. The CA will validate the company name, the domain name, the company’s address (place of business), the registration entity and registration number, and any other pertinent information about the company. 

Which SSL certificate should I buy?

Every site is unique, contact our support staff to talk through the pros and cons of each option.