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Online Security: SSLs (Secure Socket Layers)


What is an SSL

A secure socket layer that provides a secure connection between a website and an internet browser. The connection is heavily encrypted, making it nearly impossible for hackers to snag any information being passed back and forth. This type of connection is ideally suited to handle sensitive information such as credit card numbers or other personal data.

Are there different types of SSLs

Do I need an SSL

Not everyone is asking for sensitive information from their website visitors, so not everyone needs an SSL. However, if you sell online or ask for any personal information, you will need an SSL to ensure that your visitors' information is kept safe.

I sell online. Do I automatically get an SSL through my payment provider

Some online payment providers (such as PayPal) come packaged with an SSL and handle all of your online payments directly through their website. In these cases, you would not need an SSL to sell online because the actual transaction never happens on your site.

However, if you want to handle financial transactions directly on your own site, you will need to purchase an SSL. Many payment providers will refuse to serve you unless they detect that your website is secured with an SSL.

Why does it sometimes show that my website is not secure even though I have an SSL

An internet browser will sometimes indicate that while a valid SSL covers a website itself, not all of the content on the page comes from a secure source. This most commonly happens when a web page displays images or other content hosted by an external website.

To prevent this from happening, try to host all of your website's content on the same server that your domain is pointing to. If this is not possible, you can consider designing your website in a way that only the critical web pages are covered by the SSL (such as the pages where you are asking for credit card information) while the remainder of the website remains uncovered.

How do my site visitors know that my website is protected by an SSL

Each internet browser has its own way of showing that a web page is secure, usually through a simple icon or the search bar turns green. However, you can also place an SSL certification badge directly on your site.

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