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What is an SSL / Secure Certificate?

SSL and Secure Certificates provide security for your Web Property by encrypting communications between the server and the person visiting the website. A green padlock icon or a green bar is displayed in the address bar at the top, right corner of the web page.

In order to use SSL on your Web Property, you need to have an SSL Certificate (also known as a Secure Certificate) installed on a server using a dedicated IP address such as those provided by GriotSites. Visitors to your Web Property need to use a modern web browser such as recent versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome.

What is it used for?

There are two main reasons why you would need an SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer). 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?  Top

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 Web Property 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 Web Property is not secure.

If customers are not entering credit card information directly on your Web Property, but rather entering it directly on a payment processing company's Web Property, 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.

Shared certificates are provided free on all of our shared web hosting plans. This allows you to enjoy the encryption that SSL provides without purchasing your own SSL Certificate.  However, because it is a shared certificate, it is not tied specifically to your domain name, which means that you must use the server name in the URL (typically something similar to https://secure###.GriotSites.com) instead of your own domain name, if you want to avoid browser warnings.  If you attempt to use your own domain name with a shared certificate, you will receive warnings in your web browser that your domain name does not match the domain name indicated on the certificate.

Shared certificates are appropriate when you desire a secure connection to your server, but do not intend for it to be used by the general public (for example, logging into an administrative area of your website that customers or visitors do not see).  Shared SSL is not appropriate for e-commerce site properties since your customers will expect your domain to have its own private SSL certificate.

Domain Validated Certificate (GeoTrust, RapidSSL, Starfield Technologies, & Comodo) Top

For situations where the general public will be visiting a secure section of your Web Property (e.g., making a payment by credit card), you'll want to utilize a private SSL certificate. It is directly tied to your domain name, letting customers know they are on the correct Web Property, and unlike a shared certificate, there will be no browser warnings.

Private SSL Certificates are appropriate for e-commerce Web Properties and for any situation where you desire secure communication between your Web Property and its visitors.

Company Validated Certificate (Comodo, Starfield Technologies) Top

A company validated certificate is similar to a domain validated certificate; however, additional documentation must be provided to certify your company's identity. The biggest advantage of a WHOIS company validated SSL certificate is the way your property is displayed in a browser. More validation means more trust, and your visitors will have more confidence in the security of your Web Property.

Extended Validation Certificates (GeoTrust, Starfield Technologies & Comodo) Top

EV certificates provide secure connections, verify the business' identity, and help to prevent fraud through a thorough set of checks and validations.

These certificates are designed to provide a higher standard of assurance for visitors to authenticate the business behind the domain. The green HTTPS address bar is exclusive to EV SSL certificates and reassures website visitors that they are interacting with a verified business on a secured domain.

Wildcard Certificates (RapidSSL, Starfield Technologies, & Comodo) Top

A Wildcard SSL Certificate enables SSL encryption on unlimited subdomains using a single certificate. The subdomains must have the same second level domain name (i.e. domain.com).

Multi-Domain Certificates (Starfield Technologies, Comodo) Top

Multi domain certificates make it possible to secure up to 210 domains with a single certificate. You can mix all your different second level domains (i.e. domain.com, www.domain.com, domain.net, and otherdomain.com).

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