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Deciding If Your Website Needs An SSL Certificate

When it comes to online security, what you don’t know can hurt you. Consumers and business owners alike benefit from understanding Internet security and applying safe practices. Being aware of encryption, SSL certificates and other security tools is especially important for e-commerce website owners.

If your website isn’t secure, people will be nervous about making purchases from you and will choose other retailers. Keeping your customers’ information safe is one of the best things you can do for your business. These certificates help keep you and your customers safe as you exchange sensitive information online. Not every website needs one, but many do. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to obtain one.

What is it for?

An SSL certificate is an electronic document that confirms the identity of a website or server and encrypts information transmitted over the Internet. When personal information (like a credit card number or password) is encrypted, it is transferred in a complicated code so no one can read it while in transit. When the information reaches its destination, it is put back into plain text.

What information needs to be protected?

Any personal information your customers give you needs to be secured. That includes credit card information, usernames, passwords and other sensitive information. If customers submit these through your website, you need an to get a certificate. You might think that a password used only for making comments in your forum doesn’t need to be protected, but unfortunately many people use the same passwords for forums as they do bank accounts. Any information that could be potentially harmful if compromised should be protected, including simple passwords.

What are my options for obtaining an SSL certificate?

If your site needs an SSL certificate, there are a few ways to go about getting one. First, you can purchase one online. Different websites provide certification with varying levels of security for a variety of prices. You should research SSL certificates carefully before deciding which one to purchase.

You can also use a third-party payment processor and avoid purchasing a certificate of your own. This method allows you to redirect customers to a third-party website like PayPal to make purchases. Because no information is submitted on your website, you won’t need an SSL certificate. Just make sure customers make purchases on the third-party site and no personal information is submitted when the address bar shows your domain name. If it does, you will need an SSL certificate.