When most people hear the term SSL or Secure Sockets Layer they assume that all types of certificates and all types of Certificate Authorities are the same. In reality, there are different types of TLS/SSL certificates for different website needs and for different levels of trust and assurance.
How to Protect Your Website Using SSL Certificate
As a website owner, it is important to realize the different options and to choose the best Certificate Authority to provide the technology. Unfortunately, making the incorrect choice in either the SSL certificate or the Certificate Authority may result in problems with the installation of the product. Problems with users getting warning messages about potential cyber security risks on your site or warning that the site may be an attempt to access your personal information.
The good news is that it is possible to find cheap SSL products from a quality Certificate Authority like. The SSL by Comodo is a great example of a low-cost data encryption and security technology option that is just pennies a day. Even for the most advanced EV SSL certificate.
Choosing an SSL Certificate
There are several factors to consider when choosing the best product for your internet security. The first decision will be the type of certificate that is the best option.
1) Single certificates
These are used to secure and encrypt data from a single Fully Qualified Domain Name or Common Name. For example, these certificates could secure one of the following (but not more than one):
2) Wildcard SSL certificate
The Wildcard SSL certificate will secure the main domain as well as the associated sub-domains. This is an ideal option for a larger site where different pages are set up as sub-domains. This allows different pages to show up in search engine results and also to allow customers to be directed to pages rather than the main domain page.
The key thing to remember is that the pages secured by the certificate are the main domain and only those sub-domains associated with that main domain. To clarify, the cheap wildcard SSL certificates could be used to secure all of the following:
3) Multi-domain certificate
This is more like the wildcard, but it is not restricted to just one domain and the associated sub-domains. It can be used to secure multiple domains and sub-domains using SAN or Subject Alternative Name options. This is the best option for businesses that may have multiple independent or related websites with different Fully Qualified Domain Names and sub-domains.
This is a specialized type of SSL certificate that is used for Microsoft Exchange and Office Communications servers. This is typically only used by companies with extensive enterprise network needs. It can be combined with other types of certificates to provide full protection for all domains, sub-domains and communication server needs.
5) Personal Authentication certificates
These are used to secure emails by encryption as well as through the addition of digital signatures. Often this SSL technology is used when sending contracts or other types of legal documents, sensitive, confidential or private information via email within our outside of a network.
Once you have determined the correct type of security certificate needed, the next step will be to determine the validation level. This is the amount of verification the Certificate Authority will complete and will provide with the certificate that will be associated with your website.
The most basic level is the domain level validation. This includes the verification that the applicant for the SSL/TLS product matches the name and contact information provided for the Fully Qualified Domain Name in WHOIS. Typically, this is used for websites not used for transferring any sensitive data or information.
The next level is the organizational level. This is considered a good option when a more advanced level of security, trust and assurance is required. This will display the green padlock in the address bar and will include the Certificate Authority (CA) verifying the domain information as well as the organizational information. This will include the business location and their credentials as a legal business entity.
The EV SSL certificate offers the highest level of validation. This displays the full green address bar along with the green padlock and the CAs information also in the address bar. The validation is more complicated for this type of certificate and requires all the steps for domain and organizational validation plus additional checks with databases to ensure the business has a physical location and other specific information to verify all information provided.
Customer Support and Technical Services
In addition to choosing a type and a level of SSL/TLS certificate to provide security for your website. It is also important to choose a reputable, recognized Certificate Authority.
It is worth your time to spend time reviewing the company. Some CAs only provide SSL/TLS products while other companies offer complete enterprise network security management systems.
Make sure also to take a close look the level of tech and customer support you can expect from the CA you select. You need to know that if you do have a question or need support, you will have professionals able to respond quickly to resolve any issue you may experience. :)