What is an SSL Certificate?

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate is a small data file installed on a website server that contains information concerning the entity to whom the certificate was issued.

SSL Certificates serve two important functions:

They authenticate the identity of the website, guaranteeing that visitors are not on a fraudulent site and encrypt any data that is exchanged between the visitor’s computer and the website server.

SSL certificates contain the following data:

• The name of the certificate holder.
• The serial number and expiration date of the certificate.
• A copy of the certificate holder’s public key.
• The certificate-issuing authority’s digital signature.

When an SSL certificate has been successfully installed on a website server, the address bar will show various changes to what is displayed. Different browsers will display different information depending on the type of certificate installed, but they will all display a padlock and you will notice is the HTTP has been changed to HTTPS, the “S” standing for “Secure.”

The following is a list of the different types of SSL certificates that can be bought and installed:

• Extended Validation Certificate. (EV SSL)
• Organization Validated Certificate. (OV SSL)
• Single Domain Validated Certificate. (DV SSL)
• Wildcard SSL Certificate.
• Multi-domain SSL Certificate. (MDC)
• Unified Communications Certificate. (UCC)

The type of certificate you purchase and install will depend largely on your needs.

• Extended Validation Certificates. (EV SSL)

An Extended Validation SSL certificate provides your website more credibility when compared to using an SSL Certificate validated by an organization or domain. This is the most expensive and highest-ranked SSL.

• Organization Validated Certificate. (OV SSL)

The primary purpose of the Organization Validation SSL certificate is to encrypt sensitive information about the user during transactions.

• Single Domain Validated Certificates. (DV SSL)

This SSL certificate type is one of the least expensive and fastest to obtain. Although this certificate is the least expensive, it still affords the user a degree of site security.

• Wildcard SSL Certificate.

A Wildcard SSL certificate is used to protect unlimited sub-domains and a base domain. It’s cheaper to buy a wildcard SSL certificate than purchasing multiple single-domain certificates.

• Multi-domain SSL Certificate. (MDC)

Using a single certificate to save time and money, multi-domain certificates can support up to 100 different domain names and subs domains.

• Unified Communications Certificate. (UCC)

A Unified Communications Certificate is also considered a Multi-domain SSL certificate.

If you have multiple websites, then using a wildcard SSL may be the answer. Creating sub-domains to accommodate the websites can save money in the future. Cheap Wildcard SSL certificates are available from various vendors online. If you decide to look for a cheap wildcard SSL certificate vendor, then examine closely the price per year and how long it takes to issue the certificate.

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