What is an SSL certificate?
SSL is an acronym for secure socket layer. An SSL certificate is evidence that a website is secured by an encrypted connection between a website's server (the physical location where the website files and database exists) and the browser being used by the site visitor.
An SSL works by encrypting the data the is being sent between the website and the browser with an encryption key, usually 128 bits or 256 bits long. The more bits being used in encryption the more difficult it would be to hack the data being transferred.
Small business websites can use a lower bit encryption but larger websites, such as bank and large corporate ecommerce websites should use higher encryption SSL certificates in addition to taking many other steps to protect visitor information.
It is very difficult to break a website encryption and most hackers usually will not waste their time with smaller websites, though it is usually better to be safe than sorry and more customers look for SSL security before they buy.
SSL certificates range in price, they can cost anywhere from $25 to $2000 or more, depending on the features and services that are included in the security packages. Aside from bit size, there is little difference between SSL certificates, a $50 certificates can be just as good as a $400 certificate.
Browsers can tell if a website is secure if they can see an icon of a small lock in the bottom right hand corner of a website and the https:// protocol rather than the http://
You will need to verify business and personal information when signing up for an SSL certificate, afterwards you can either install it on your server yourself or send your certificate request to your website administrator or host to have it installed.
Certificates from any of our affiliates below will provide a high level of website security. The differences are mainly in your brand preference and additional features that come with the SSL.