If you own or operate a website, you’re probably familiar with the concept of SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer. A form of security technology, SSL creates an encrypted link between web browser and web server. The end result is that businesses can protect their customers’ payment information – and thus their own reputations – during transactions.
While SSL is a crucial aspect of web security in the modern age, not all traffic encryption options are created equal. Understanding all the services at your disposal – including Let’s Encrypt Free SSL/TLS certificates – is key to protecting your website, your e-commerce shoppers, and your livelihood moving forward.
SSL Connections and HTTPS
To form an SSL connection, you will need an SSL certificate, which contains a cryptographic key of your company’s private data. After you install an SSL certificate, web traffic between your site and the server will be secure. Doing this effectively changes your site from HTTP to HTTPS (hyper text transfer protocol secure).
When customers visit your secure website, they will see a green padlock (Chrome and Firefox) or a gray padlock (Safari). This symbol lets shoppers know they can use their credit cards with confidence, resting assured that their sensitive data is safe.
Additionally, having an SSL certificate can help your SEO endeavors. According to Google, transitioning to HTTPS will provide your site with a small ranking boost. The end result is more eyes on your products.
Choosing the Right SSL for Your Business
These days, e-commerce shops have numerous options when it comes to achieving web security. In an effort to cut costs, web sellers are often tempted to go with a free SSL rather than a paid service. A newer product, Let’s Encrypt, is a free, automated, open certificate authority that allows companies to set up an HTTPS server and secure a certificate without human involvement. Although convenient and free, this SSL option is not without its drawbacks.
No-cost SSL’s from Cloudflare, and Let’s Encrypt are supported by ClickHOST. And while these services do encrypt traffic, it’s important to realize that the website owner is not verified. This means that your visitors have no way of knowing that they’re on the site they intended to be on as opposed to an imposter.
Moreover, studies found that malvertisers had developed subdomains under the authentic ones. In this way, Let’s Encrypt enables certain malware subdomains to achieve legitimacy online. As the owner of a web-based company, you should know that Let’s Encrypt gives out DV certificates, but does not monitor them moving forward. So, even if Google flags a domain down the line, Let’s Encrypt won’t take away its certificate.
On the other hand, paid SSL services offer a number of advantages. While free SSL certificates are often shared among multiple businesses, paid ones belong to you and you alone. Additionally, paid certificates are less likely to set off security alarms or be compromised. After all, if a hacker gets hold of the private keys for a shared SSL, all the websites that use it are at risk. Finally, paid SSL tends to provide superior customer support compared to the free options available.
The moral of the story is that website operators need to take steps to protect their domains and make sure subdomains aren’t being developed against their will. Hiring a reputable hosting company can assure you’re using the right SSL option, and taking precautions where necessary.
Contact ClickHOST for Your Web Hosting Needs
ClickHOST was founded with a belief that domain services should be uncomplicated. Our goal is to provide customers with improved customer service, lower prices, and increased uptime. To find out more about what we can do for your business, compare our hosting plans.