Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a form of encrypting information and data that gets passed through your site, e.g. customer details, payment information, etc.
SSL certificates come in all shapes and sizes, offering different levels of security and can cost up to £200.
However, not all SSL certificates cost money. Why? Because they are an important factor for all websites and can affect how Google and other search engines rank your website, many hosting providers include them for free.
When you are setting up a business, there is so much that you do need to consider. Whether you sell custom inflatables or beauty products, you need to market your business well and ensure the payment process is secure.
Security is critical, and both SSL and hosting are critical in this, which is why we are going to take you through this in full in this post.
What is the best SSL?
There are multiple types of SSL available, all providing different security features and levels of security. For eCommerce and business websites, we would recommend an Organization Validation (OV) or Extended Validation (EV) certificate.
Basic SSLs like Domain Validation certificates are suitable for personal websites, blogs, or smaller websites, but the extra security an OV or EV certificate offers is essential as your site grows larger, or obtains more personal information.
Can you use a free SSL? Will it be good enough?
Like most technology providers, there are good ones and bad ones. If you use a reliable provider like Let’s Encrypt, or SSLs issued by the recommended hosts on our website, a free SSL certificate can definitely be trusted.
If you don’t recognise a provider, I’d delve a bit deeper to see if they can be trusted. If in doubt, always refer back to our website for a list of trusted and recommend hosts who offer a range of SSLs, including free and paid for SSL certificates.
What is Let’s Encrypt?
Let’s Encrypt offer automated SSL certificates to keep your website secure. Even if you choose not to use one of our recommended SSL hosting providers, you can still obtain an SSL from Let’s Encrypt.
Let’s Encrypt provides Domain Validation (DV) certificates which offer a standard level of security. They are secure and basic, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do a great job. They encrypt data processed on your website in order to protect it.
How do you know if a website has SSL?
Websites with an SSL certificate installed will have HTTPS in front of the URL. You’ll also notice encrypted websites contain the padlock symbol (which may differ depending on your browser).
If your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate, visitors will likely stay away from your website and search engines will penalise you for not having one. Why? Because websites need to be secure and offer a high level of trust for their users.
Which hosting providers offer free SSL as well?
- Bluehost – Your Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate will be automatically installed and activated on your website, but if for any reason it isn’t, it’s easy to install with the click of a button. If you’re hosting a WordPress site with BlueHost, all you need to do is log in to your control panel and click “get started”. Here you’ll see an option for WordPress Free SSL which you can install to start securing your website.
- SiteGround – As well as being recommended by WordPress, SiteGround provides free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates on all of their hosting plans. SSLs are automatically applied to the domains on your account and will automatically renew too, so you won’t have to worry about your security. If this level of SSL isn’t suitable for your website, you can choose to add a Premium Wildcard or Premium SSL certificate as an optional paid extra, so you can choose what’s best for your site.
- Hostinger – Security is incredibly important, whether you’re hosting a personal site or online store, your users must feel secure. Right down to capturing IP addresses and email information for newsletters up to taking payment details, Hostinger’s free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate will do the job. Installing Hostinger’s free SSL certificate is easy peasy. Simply log in to hPanel (Hostinger’s control panel), manage your hosting account, then select SSL from the advanced options. You’ll see that your SSL certificate is already installed, showing the level of security and which domain it’s registered to. If you wish to assign a custom SSL to your website, you can do that from the same place and click install. Simple!
Previous Magazine happily uses both Let’s Encrypt and CloudFlare, and has done for many years with great success, combined with our Media Temple hosting.
Image Credits: Unsplash