A Complete Guide To Different Types of SSL Certificates

Security is not only for your website but also for those who visits the website.To be safe from potential risks it is wise to partner with a reputable internet security company.

What is an SSL certificate?
SSL certificates are a small piece of codes or digital files that give protection and provides the secure connection from the web server to a browser. Any private information like username, password and other user data’s can be viewed when sending a request from a browser to the web server. It is not encrypted and it is not safe for any sensitive data to be viewed publicly. It may lead to data theft. To make it hidden from hackers and data theft a secured connection has to be maintained between the browser and the web server. SSL certificates provide safety to the user data by encrypting the sensitive information when sending a request to the web server.

There are two main functions in SSL certificate. They are

  1. Authentication and verification:
    SSL certificate has information about the authenticity of certain details regarding the identity of the person, business or website which it will display when a user clicks the browser’s padlock symbol. To make the website more trusted it should follow the criteria of the certificate authorities.Extended Validation (EV) Certificates secure a single domain name and comes with an added feature of displaying the organization’s name on the address bar.

2. Data encryption:
The SSL certificate enables encryption for the sensitive information not to be read by anyone other than the authenticated user.

How does data encryption work?
Just like you use a key to start the engine of a car and lock the doors of the car, Encryption makes use of keys to show and hide data. Unless you have the right key, you will not be able to access the information or data.

There are two keys used in data encryption technology to secure the information of the users, public key and private key.

The private key is used to encrypt the data and the public key is used to decrypt the data.

CA certified authorities issues a digital certificate for the server or domain that request for SSL certificate entity issue to their website or server. Digital certificates are verifiable small data files that help websites, people and devices represent their authenticated online identity.

How to identify that a website has a valid SSL certificate?

The http:// before the address of the website displayed is not SSL certified.

The https:// before the address of the website indicates the valid SSL certified website.

The significance of Http and Https are very well known by a SEO professional as their ultimate task in monitoring the traffic of the website through Google analytics require secured domain address which is primarily considered by Google as the genuine website to show in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

Http stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol which is the conventional way of transmitting messages over the internet.

Types of SSL certificates:
Web server authentication certificates
It is a type of certificate that is issued to secure website traffic or other data connections. It is the most popular certificate for securing a website.
Although their main use is to secure web servers, they are also used to secure email servers, file transfer, and other data connections.

SAN certificates or Unified communications certificates:
It is a type of web server authentication certificate that secures multiple domain names. It is also called Subject Alternative name certificate as it secures servers that have multiple domain names. Example: www.domain.com, domain.com, mail.domain.com, etc.

Wildcard certificates:
It secures the unlimited number of first-level subdomains on a single domain name.
Example: *.domain.com you can get a wildcard certificate as common name and it secures www.domain.com, mail.domain.com, secure.domain.com, anything.domain.com etc. it will work on any sub domains that replaces the wildcard character (*).

Extended validation certificates:
It is the new type of certificate used to prevent phishing attacks. The address bar turns green to indicate that the website is EV certified. Extended validation certificates can be used instantly and it is cheaper to use. Assurance level is low.

Domain validated certificates:
The business or organization’s name is not included in the certificate instead only the domain name of the website is included. CA can verify that you own the domain name by checking the WHOIS record. The WHOIS record contains the data of all the verified domain owners. WHOIS is the query and database protocol that stores the registered users of an internet resource such as domain name, IP address block and a wide range of other information.

Code signing certificates:
It enables to digitally sign an executable or script to verify and confirm the software author and gives a guarantee that the script or code has not been modified or corrupted from the time it’s been signed. Standard web server authentication certificates cannot do it so you need to get special code signing certificate.

Email certificates:
An e-mail or S/MIME certificate is primarily used to sign an email to encrypt and ensures authorship to the e-mail.

Root signing certificates:
Root signing certificates are used to sign other certificates that are in the link to the root of the trusted certificates. You become the own CA of your organization and you can issue the certificate that is trusted by all browsers/clients. The root signing certificate providers are GeoTrust’s GeoRoot, and GlobalSign’s Trusted Root CA Certificate. GeoTrust GeoRoot is used for Microsoft certificate services CA and they allow installation on unlimited servers. GlobalSign’s Trusted Root CA Certificate is used to certify browser compatibility.

Shared SSL certificates:
It is used to prevent phishing and name mismatch errors. Name mismatch error occurs when the certificate is used on different domain name than what is listed on the certificate. A shared SSL allow multiple websites to host on same IP address so there is no need to get the certificate for each website independently.

Name mismatch error can be avoided by using a folder or subdomain on their domain so that the address bar matches the hostname in the certificate.

So the significance of SSL is very well understood from the above information and it is now mandatory for every website on the internet to get SSL certified to get high rank in the search engine’s SERP.

Every Digital marketing agency should get SSL certificate to get their website ranking higher in search results. Google favors the websites that have all the requirements that meet their terms and conditions and give more preference to these certified sites in the search results page.

So it is time for websites with efficient SEO techniques implied for getting higher rank to shift from HTTP to HTTPS secured and trusted the site.

Google has provided the following tips for best practices when switching to HTTPS:

  1. Identify the kind of certificate you need for your domain: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  2. Implement 2048-bit key certificates
  3. Use relevant URLs for resources that are placed on the same secure domain
  4. Utilize protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  5. Allow indexing of your WebPages by search engines. Avoid the no index robots Meta tag.
  6. Google has also updated Google Webmaster Tools to better handle HTTPS sites and the reporting on them.
  7. Track your HTTP to HTTPS navigation of your website for issues in Google webmaster tool.

SSL certificates can be used in securing information to your online business websites or your online store which gives potential profit to you as only trusted websites are given more priority by the visitors. Visitors to your website feel safe once they get to know it is technically protected against data theft and similar malpractices.