The Ultimate Guide To Understanding SSL Certificate

Today, we’ll take a look at what SSL means? Why is it important for your website? and How you can buy one from HostGator? So without further ado, let’s begin!

Ultimate Guide To Understanding SSL Certificate

When it comes to maintaining the online security of your website, half-hearted attempts can result in colossal damages, not only in terms of money but also in terms of your brand’s reputation. Any vulnerability on your site can be misused by prying hackers. Thus, to avoid this, implementing a digital certificate on your site is vital as it will help secure your data and provide your customer with a positive user experience.

In this guide, we’ll look at the importance of SSL for your business, how to obtain and install one on HostGator, along with how it plays a vital role in the overall growth of your business.

To begin with, let’s first understand what SSL means.Top

#1 WHAT IS SSL?

Short for Secure Sockets Layer, SSL is an encryption technology that protects sensitive data such as bank transactions, credit card details, user information etc, from being misused by hackers.

Since there are high chances of personal data being intercepted by hackers, an SSL certificate helps to create an encrypted connection between your web server and your visitors’ web browser, thereby ensuring secure transmission of private information without the risk of data tampering.Top

#2 HOW SSL WORKS?

An internet security protocol, SSL is designed to provide secure communication through means of a two-fold method, namely, encryption of data and authentication of website

  • By encrypting your data, SSL intercepts any hacking attempt, thereby ensuring that any information passed between your web server and your visitor’s browser is safe.
  • By authenticating your website, it assures visitors that your website is legit and you are really who you claim to be. For example, when you visit Amazon.com, the SSL on it will help you verify that the website you are currently visiting is actually Amazon and not a fake website created by a hacker.

Thus, by implementing SSL on your website, you are able to not only secure the transmitted data, but you are also able to assure your customers that you are a brand that they can trust.
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#3 WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SSL CERTIFICATES?

There are several types of digital certificates that you can choose from. However, the three most popular SSL Certificates are

  • Domain Validation SSL Certificates (DV SSL)
  • Organization Validation SSL Certificates (OV SSL)
  • Extended Validation SSL Certificates (EV SSL)
 Different Types of SSL
  • Domain Validation SSL Certificates: One of the cheapest SSL certificates available, Domain validated SSL certificates or DV SSL are encryption-only certificates that require no validation from the certificate authority. These certificates can be obtained easily and are affordable, however, they are less secure than EV SSL certificate
  • Organization Validation SSL Certificates: In the case of an OV SSL certificate, a strict authentication process is carried out by the certificate authority and includes validating the company’s physical address, business credential, etc. This is a standard certificate required for public-facing websites that deal with less sensitive transactional data and provides a certain amount of trust compared to DV SSL.
  • Extended Validation SSL Certificates: Providing maximum security, EV SSL certificate is the highest level of authentication available and involves rigorous evaluation procedures done by the certificate authority. It is mostly used by eCommerce and other websites that carry out business transactions that involve credit cards, bank details, etc and comes with the green browser URL address bar that indicates strong security.

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#4 WHY DO YOU NEED AN SSL CERTIFICATE?

While the obvious advantage of SSL is that it helps you to secure information between your visitor’s web browser and your website, it also has other benefits such as

  • It makes your website look more professional
  • It guards your site against cyber crimes i.e. hacking, phishing scams, forgery, etc
  • It reduces bounce rate – as a visual cue, SSL indicates that you are a trusted site.
  • It helps to gain customers trust and assures them that their online transactions are secure
  • The HTTPS sign signals to Google that you are a secure site, which helps to improve your site’s ranking.
  • Lastly, it attracts more visitors leading to improved ROI.

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#5 HOW TO GET AN SSL CERTIFICATE?

There are a number of reliable SSL Certificate providers on the web from whom you can buy an SSL certificate for your website. One such providers is SSLs, that provide the best SSL certificates at an affordable price.

best SSL certificates at an affordable

However, since the primary purpose of SSL Certificate is to ensure a safe environment wherein people can buy products or services without the risk of running into any scams, the certificate authority has a process for ordering a certificate wherein they require three things to validate your business or organization. These are:

  • A Dedicated IP Address: To ensure maximum security, only one SSL certificate is issued per cPanel account and thus, if you want to buy a digital certificate for your business or organization, then having a dedicated IP address is a must.
  • A Certificate and Signing Request (CSR): CSR is an encrypted text that contains information about your business, such as organization name, locality, domain name, and country, which you need to send to the certificate authority in order to obtain a digital certificate. Read this guide to know more about CSR and how you can generate one for your business.
  • WHOIS record: To verify whether or not your company name and address is legit, the certificate authority will cross-check your submitted application with the WHOIS record. Therefore, it is important that you fill in your site’s data correctly on the WHOIS record, as chances are that the certificate authority, may call or email you based on the information available on the WHOIS site. Check the WHOIS record for your domain name here

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#6 GENERATING CSR, PURCHASING & INSTALLING SSL CERTIFICATE

For this example, I’ll be using my hosting account with HostGator to show you how to generate a CSR, how to buy an SSL Certificate and how to install an SSL Certificate.

A] Generating a Certificate and Signing Request (CSR) on HostGator

  • Step 1: To begin with, login to cPanel Account via WHM.
  • Step 2: From the WHM Main Menu, select the “SSL/TLS” icon.
  • Step 3: Click on “Generate a SSL Certificate and Signing Request” icon.
  • Step 4: Fill in the required data; email, domain, company name, etc appropriately (it should match your Whois record) and click on Create.
  • Step 5: Copy the generated text into a notepad and save the file. This file contains CSR, RSA key, and CA bundle which you’ll need to complete installation of SSL Certificate.

B] Purchasing an SSL Certificate on HostGator

Before you purchase an SSL certificate, you need to first figure out

  • What type of SSL certificate does your website need?
  • Do you need a standard SSL or an advanced SSL?
  • How many domain do you need to secure?

Also, it is important to check the validation period of a certification. Since most certificates usually come with a 1-year validity, for longer validation you need to purchase an advanced SSL package.

Now to purchase SSL on HostGator, follow these quick steps

  • Step 1: Visit HostGator website, click on Add-ons icon and select Digital Certificate from the drop-down. Choose an SSL Certificate that suits your need and click on Buy Now.
  • Step 2: Review your order & make changes. Add HostGator coupon, if any and click on Continue to proceed further.
  • Step 3: Log into an existing account or Create a new account.
  • Step 4: Select your mode of payment. Click on “I Agree to the new customer agreement” and select Pay Now.

C] Installing SSL Certificate on HostGator

After you have generated a CSR and purchased an SSL certificate, the validation team will verify and process your certificate request. Once validated, they will issue your SSL Certificate and send it to you via email. Open the email and approve the certificate request and download your SSL Certificate to your server.

The certificate is now ready to be installed on your web server.

Also note, that each web host is different and thus if you are facing any trouble while installing your digital cert then contact your hosts support staff for help.

  • Step 1: Login to cPanel Account via WHM.
  • Step 2: From the Main Menu, select the ‘SSL/TLS’ icon.
  • Step 3: Click on “Install an SSL Certificate on a Domain” icon.
  • Step 4: Copy and paste the saved CSR Text into appropriate boxes.
  • Step 5: Once you have entered information into all three fields – CSR, RSA key, and CA bundle, scroll to the top of the page and click on the Submit button.

If everything goes through properly on installation, you’ll receive a notification of completion. If any errors have occurred, you’ll get a not installed notification in which case you need to contact your web host support staff.
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#7 WHAT DOES A WEBSITE WITH AN INSTALLED SSL CERTIFICATE LOOK LIKE?

On completion, the new certificate should work immediately. You can verify it by checking your website’s URL address bar in your web browser. It will look like this.

SSL-Certificate-look

In this, the small lock icon denotes that an SSL connection is established between your computer and the remote web server. Also, you can get more information on your certificate by clicking on the lock icon.

Now, while this guide is primarily based on how to set-up SSL on HostGator if you have purchased an SSL certificate from a 3rd party vendor, you need not worry about installation as most web hosts are courteous enough to install them for you.