An SSL Certificate is a security measure for websites that gather sensitive information from it’s visitors.

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer.

If you are going to gather sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, credit card information, or any other information that your visitors may deem private and want to keep secure, then you should get an SSL Certificate.

SSL Certificates are digital signatures that basically do two things: 1) – encrypt the information sent between your website and your visitor’s browser and 2) – verifies that your website is, in fact, the website that is getting the information passed from the visitor’s browser.

If you have an SSL Certificate installed on your website then you are allowed to use the HTTPS protocol which is a secure, encrypted protocol that checks to make sure that your website is really the website that the browser thinks it should be contacting. Your website and the visitor’s browser will send extra, secure code back and forth that will give an error if another website tries to intercept the transmission.

When the HTTPS connection is used between your website and the visitor’s browser, the data is encrypted so that it can’t be understood by anyone or anything that is intercepting the transmission.

That is a very basic explanation but should help you understand whether you need an SSL Certificate or not.

If you are sending sensitive information from your browser to someone else’s website, then you should make sure that you are using a secure connection. You should see a lock icon or some other indicator in your browser as well as the https://protocol being used in your browser’s address bar. If not, then don’t send any information that you wouldn’t want public.

2 thoughts on “What is an SSL Certificate and Do I Need One?”

    1. Sometimes very little depending on where you get the SSL certificate. You will need to compare the features. There are different types of SSL certificates. Some have stronger encryption than others. Also, it will depend on how much of your website is covered by the SSL. For instance, just covering your basic domain name is less expensive than covering subdomains as well. The SSL certificate that covers your subdomains is called a Wildcard SSL and usually costs quite a bit more. Check the features before you buy. If you have hosting with me, I can get you discounts on the SSL certificates. If you don’t have hosting with me you can still get your SSL certificate from me here – http://domains.cullenws.com

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