What is an SSL Certificate? Also SeeExtended Validation SSL If you're serious about doing business online, you need SSL. It's the best way to protect user data and defend against identity theft. Many customers will refuse to do business with a Web Property that doesn't have an SSL certificate. Displaying your SSL Site Seal tells customers they can shop with confidence, knowing they're protected. Different certificates provide different levels of validation.
The SSL certificate can be thought of as a lockbox for your data - while it doesn't make it any harder for anyone to get a hold of the data, it encrypts it to the point that nobody can understand it. In addition to encrypting data, the SSL shows visitors that your business is legitimate, and will not attempt to defraud them in any way. It serves as an electronic "passport," and establishes the Web Property's authenticity and credibility, enabling the browser and Web server to build a secure, encrypted connection.
Credibility is established by checking the digital certificate, which includes:
• The Certificate holder's name (individual or company). • The Certificate's serial number and expiration date. • A copy of the Certificate holder's "public" cryptographic key. • The digital signature of the Certificate-issuing authority. • Extended SSL Certificates give the site visitor an additional visual cue, displaying the Certificate holder's name against a distinctive green background in the visitor's browser.
What is it used for? There are two main reasons why you would need an SSL Certificate. The first and most common reason is because you want to accept credit card payments on your website. The second reason is that you may have confidential information that you want to keep secure while it is being accessed via the web. SSL Certificates also help to protect your passwords from being intercepted, when typed into a secure login page. Do I need one? If you are accepting credit card payments online via a merchant account, the credit card associations and networks require that you use SSL whenever you transmit credit card information, such as the card number, card holder's name, expiration date, CVV code, etc. (such as when a customer enters their credit card on your shopping cart order form or payment page). This is an important part of making your website PCI compliant (a set of rules that must be followed in order to accept credit card payments).
In addition to being PCI compliant (which is required by Visa, MasterCard, Discover Network, American Express, Diners Club International, JCB and your payment processing company), your customers also look to see if your order form or shopping cart is secure before entering their credit card information. You can easily lose sales if your customers see that your site is not secure.
If customers are not entering credit card information directly on your website, but rather entering it directly on a payment processing company's website, such as PayPal, Google Checkout or Amazon Payments, then you do not need an SSL Certificate, since you are not transmitting or storing credit card information.
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