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What Is An SSL Certificate And Do I Need One?

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With the cyber crime and security breeches occuring at an ever increasing rate, it is crucial to have an SSL Certificate suitable for your company website(s).

Without an SSL Certificate, your client’s data is transmitted over the internet unencrypted. Google and web browsers are increasingly looking to rank and use only trusted websites with a valid SSL certificate.

What Is An SSL Certificate And Do I Need One?

SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organisation’s details. 

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is used to encrypt the connection between web browsers and your website.

In other words, SSL certificates make data transferred over your website unreadable to third parties. 

An example is when someone buys from your website, enters their credit card details, fills in your contact us form or logs in to your member area.

Credit cards, personal details and private information are all encrypted if an SSL certificate is installed.

What Is AutoSSL?

If you are hosted with us at Bit Loud Hosting all sites have access to a free SSL certificate through AutoSSL.

AutoSSL is a feature built in to cPanel which allows you to easily install a free SSL certificate. These SSL Certificates are issued from cPanel via the vendor Comodo and are a basic Domain Validated (DV) type SSL Certificate that will auto renew every 90 days and stay active as long as the domain remains active and pointed at our nameservers.

These certificates are encrypted with 256-bit encryption, however they don’t provide you with the same level of warranty, trust seal or support that you get with a paid SSL certificate.

If you bring your own SSL Certificate or have us install a paid SSL certificate for you the AutoSSL feature does have to be disabled in your cPanel account.

The Difference Between A Free And A Paid SSL Certificate

Unlike AutoSSL, a paid certificate with a trusted certificate authority requires manual installation, validation and renewal every 1-2 years.

You can choose between three types of validation depending on your needs:

  • Domain Validation - typically for for small websites, blogs and online portfolios
  • Business or Organisation Validation - typically for for e-commerce companies and medium-sized businesses
  • Extended Validation - typically for e-stores, organisations, and financial institutions that want or need to provide the highest level of trust to their customers.

Both AutoSSL and Regular certificates have the same security standards offering 2048-bit key encryption and up to 256-bit certificate encryption. 

What commercial certificates provide that free options don't:

  • Validity up to two years;
  • Ability to secure multiple domains under a single certificate
  • Ability to secure multiple sub-domains under one SSL installation (Wildcard SSL)
  • Static or dynamic site seals
  • Warranty

Not having an SSL certificate with warranty protection can be detrimental to the reputation of your business and may even mean you’re financially liable 
if your customers’ data is stolen. Therefore, if you sell a lot of goods from your website, it’s recommended that you purchase a premium SSL certificate.

An SSL Certificate, tells your customers indirectly that you care about them, and you invest in their information security. Cyber criminals can use free certificates for malicious purposes, but being a website owner willing to pay for an SSL Certificate is a guarantee to customers that you and your business are trustworthy.

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Bit Loud Digital is a full service digital agency operating in Melbourne since 1998.

We are in business to connect you with more customers, get the phone ringing and broaden the reach of your brand.