What is an SSL Certificate? Why & When Do You Need It?

SSL Certificate for Website

Online surfing may be frightening when personal information is involved, particularly if exposed to important news about cyberattacks, eCommerce Security, and other information leakages. Of course, hackers hack websites for common reasons like getting passwords, credit card details, and social security numbers.

Numerous uses for this information draw hackers to social networking, banking websites, and online businesses. Even the sale of such data via dark web networks is possible. However, safeguards are in place to prevent the user’s data from being taken.

The purpose of this article is to provide you with a better understanding of what SSL certificates are and why they are necessary. In order to prevent the warning sign “Not Secure” from appearing while visiting your website, you must have an SSL certificate.

However, some people may ask: what exactly is an SSL Certificate? What does it do? Why should someone care about having one? And how can one get one? In this post, we’ll look at these questions and more as we dig deeper into why securing your site with an SSL certificate is important and what exactly these are anyway!

Let us move on and understand more about the concept before you plan to buy SSL certificate. 

What is an SSL certificate?

What Is an SSL Certificate & Why Do You Need It

What an SSL certificate is? The answer is- The information that travels between the web server and browser and can communicate securely due to an SSL certificate, a digital certificate that businesses or individuals can acquire. It accomplishes this by associating an organization’s specifics with a cryptographic key. The certificate holder’s public key, the serial number, the expiration date, the certificate holder’s name, and the digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority are all included in the certificates.

This authenticates the website, demonstrating that it is who it claims to be, not hackers impersonating it. An SSL certificate is a shield that protects the data from being intercepted. Installing an SSL certificate on a WordPress website is essential for ensuring the security and privacy of the information shared on the site. SSL certificates are no longer a costly deal; you will find many low-priced or cheap SSL certificate providers in the market.

What is the purpose of an SSL Certificate?

Are you confused about whether you need to possess the certificate or not? Let us look at the purpose it solves to help you decide to renew SSL.

Offers Authentication – A valid SSL certificate offers authentication in addition to encryption. Consequently, you can be confident that the data you provide is encrypted and that a fraudster cannot sniff your data.

Protects Private Information – SSL is primarily used to protect sensitive data transferred over the Internet by encrypting it. The only person who can view it is the intended receiver. This is important since the details you transmit over the Internet must go through several computers before it reaches the intended server. Hence, it makes it worthwhile to buy SSL certificate, which can protect sensitive information transited between the server and the browser.

Supports PCI Compliance You must pass specific audits that demonstrate your adherence to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards before you may take credit card data on your website. Using an SSL certificate correctly is one of the prerequisites.

Establishes Faith Web browsers include visual clues to tell users whether their connection is safe, such as HTTPS, or a lock icon. People are, therefore, more likely to trust your website when they encounter these signs and make a purchase from you. The trust you inspire in your clients will also grow thanks to the trusted certs and authentication that SSL suppliers will give you.

Role of an SSL in WordPress Security

To ensure WordPress security, SSL is a standard certification to authenticate website protection and safety. Considering the high cost of the certification, some organizations are still avoiding it. Now, there is good news the cost at present has been reduced and the installation methods have become much simpler and easier. Most of the service providers have taken the initiative to provide a free SSL certificate for WordPress websites.

SSL provides a standard for encrypted communication between servers and browsers. A browser receives and interprets this certificate and verifies its authenticity. After the verification, the data sent through the secure connection is encrypted. A browser displays the existence of this connection with a closed padlock icon and adds HTTPS before the website address.

HTTPS is a combination of HTTP and SSL protocols. This way the transmission and receiving of data from browser to server and vice versa becomes secure. A typical SSL certificate contains the following:

  • A domain name and a public key
  • Validity information and a serial number
  • Signature of a certificate authority

Normally, the validity of SSL is for 90 days. With the usage of HTTPS, SSL certification is mandatory for websites containing personal data and sensitive financial information.

Google’s initiative to give SSL

 Google ranks SSL-certified websites higher than normal websites. There is a massive growth of WordPress sites acquiring this certificate. SSL is used to secure websites offering various advantages such as;

  • Trust: SSL certificates provide visitors with assurance that their connection to the website is encrypted, making them more confident and trustful.
  • Legitimacy: All activity occurs on a known and properly secured website. It adds value to your WP website.
  • Security: Since the information is encrypted, visitors are assured that the data is safe from unauthorized third parties.
  • Ranking: SSL-encrypted and HTTPS-encrypted web pages are crawled by Google on the top priority

SSL certificates are especially recommended for businesses that handle customer data online, such as online stores.

Do you know much about the SSL certificate but are unsure of its importance? Here is a rundown to help you understand the same.

Client Satisfaction

From the consumer confidence perspective, SSL certificates are essential in addition to encryption and authentication. Users are informed that the obvious signals will protect the data they provide. They can also see information about your company if you have an OV or EV SSL setup. They are far more inclined to do business with you or even return to your website once they have established that you are a real company.

Identity Security

Authenticating a website is the second primary function of an SSL certificate. One of the most critical components of website security is identity verification. No one can dispute how the Internet is becoming more deceitful for small businesses’ websites. Several cyberattacks happen every day over numerous media platforms and websites. People have occasionally lost thousands of dollars on fake or phishing websites. Herein lies the role of the SSL certificate.

Data Security

Secure server-client communication is the primary goal of an SSL certificate. Every piece of information is encrypted when SSL is installed. In plain English, the data is locked, and the only person who can open it is the intended receiver (a browser or server).

SSL enables you to safeguard against the sneaky army of hackers and skimmers while working with sensitive data like IDs, passwords, credit card details, etc. The unbeatable encryption technique of SSL certificates makes hacker abilities useless against it since the data is transformed into an unreadable format by SSL certificate.

Higher Ranking

Google Ranking Systems designed its algorithm in 2014 to favor websites that support HTTPS as a ranking signal. Numerous research carried out by SEO specialists throughout the world has shown this. According to research by Backlinko creator Brian Dean, HTTPS and better search engine results are strongly correlated.

How to Get an SSL Certificate?

Are you planning to get an SSL certificate? Here are the steps that you need to follow to get one easily.

Possess Accurate Website Information

A company called a Certificate Authority is responsible for issuing SSL certificates (CA). When you are ready and have the data, the CA requires, getting an SSL certificate may be a quite simple procedure. This data consists of:

  • Individual IP Address
  • A WHOIS Record that is Correct

Choose the SSL Certificate You Require

There are several sorts of SSL certificates, and they may be divided into groups according to:

  • Levels of Validation
  • Number of Domains

Select a Certificate Issuing Body

An organization that grants SSL certificates is known as a Certificate Authority (CA). More than 50 CAs active globally, yet just a small number of them control the lion’s share of the SSL industry.

Certificate Signing Request (CSR)

Before requesting an SSL certificate from a CA, a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) file must be created on your web server. The CA will then use the information in this file to issue your SSL certificate.

The CSR generation procedure may vary depending on your website’s web server and hosting.

Send Your Certificate Authority the CSR

The following action is to go to the website of the CA you selected and buy the kind of SSL certificate you require now that you have produced a CSR. The CSR file you created in the preceding action must be sent to the CA after finishing the checkout procedure.

Wait for your validation

Depending on the SSL certificate type you purchase, the CA may need a few hours to a few days to verify your information and issue an SSL certificate for your website. Meanwhile, you need to complete the configuration process for your certificate and validate the received email.

After processing your SSL certificate request, you will receive an email with instructions on accessing your SSL certificate. The web server operating system (OS) of your website determines how an SSL certificate is installed. The same steps are needed when you want to renew SSL certificate. 

Why an SSL Certificate is So Important for Website

How Much Does the Average SSL Certificate Cost?

An SSL certificate costs around $60 a year, although prices might vary considerably. To give you an idea, it can cost anything from $5 and a staggering $1,000 each year, depending on the security requirements of your website. Good research is needed to get your hands on low-priced or cheap SSL for website security. 

Additional steps to take to secure SEO rankings

Using a plugin like Really Simple SSL helps immensely, but there’s often a lot more that needs to be done to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS without going down in ranking on Google.

Some additional steps you can take to prevent your site’s SEO rankings from dropping after adopting HTTPS are:

Update hard-coded links

Hard-coded URLs may not redirect properly. Use a plugin to replace the search from “http://yourdomain.com” and replace it with “https://yourdomain.com”.

Migrate CDN from HTTP to HTTPS

 While using the CDN for the content and documentation, you must switch over to the settings from CDN URL to HTTPS.

Fix mixed/not secure content

Your site may send mixed content or non-secure content warnings to browsers, which users will see. Use a tool like SSL Check to scan your site for mixed content.

Update Google Search Console

Create a new profile in Google Search Console after migration to HTTPS. You need to resubmit the site map. Download all the HTTP files and resubmit with HTTPS settings

Monitor Web Ranking of your Site

 Migration from HTTP to HTTPS might drop your search ranking. Don’t worry, this will eventually improve. Just make sure that the drop is due to migration and that there is no other serious conflict on the website like a mismatch of URLs.

Final Word

This was a comprehensive guide to help you understand what an SSL certificate is. It plays a crucial role in stating the reliability of your website. Look at the guide mentioned above to help you buy SSL certificate. Several industry service providers offer a cheap SSL certificate to help you if you do not have a huge budget. 

As you’re probably aware, encrypting your website with SSL provides an extra layer of security for your online business. If a hacker were to try to intercept traffic while you were visiting a website, they would have to decrypt this data in order to get the information they needed.

This is because some browsers won’t display unencrypted content unless it is requested by the user (for example, by clicking on a link).

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