A Simple Guide to What That Means
If you are reading that heading and thinking – huh? Or what is SSL, and do I have it or need it? Then carry on reading. We also discussed why you need an SSL certificate on an earlier post.
SSL – What exactly is it?
To explain it simply, let us use something that we are all familiar with, Word of mouth.
You know what I am talking about, you have found the best fish and chips place which sells the best fish ever, now whilst catching up with your mates or family you mention that you have found this gem and that they need to try it out, so your friends and family trust the place because you have vouched for it.
Well SSL is just like that, but for the internet browser.
So imagine that your customer types in your web address, however, because your site does not have an updated SSL Certificate that has been issued to it, the browser blocks them from going to that site, this causes them to now panic thinking that your business is some fly-by-night operation.
Other Benefits of SSL Certificates
The other principal benefit/protection of having and using SSL is the encryption of the data between your website and your clients.
Once again imagine you are at the fish and chips place, the queue is quite long. You have your family waiting outside, the order is for several items, and you do not feel like walking backwards and forward all the time, so you see what appears to be a decent chap just outside, you ask him if he would mind sending the order through to your family waiting in the car, you hand him the first order, and promptly he runs away.
Now imagine the same scenario, but this time the parcel is sealed in a container with a padlock, your family in the car has the key, the chap now hands over the package as he knows he cannot open it without the key – Well that’s exactly what SSL does – it locks the information being transferred between your website and the clients so that no-one in between can read the information.
Why is This Happening?
Understanding why we need SSL, perhaps we are thinking but surely longer is better? We will not go there, in a fast-moving digital age that we live in the answer is no.
That is partly the reason why there was this push to drop the validity period from multi-year down to 398 days (If this seems like a random number, It’s one year plus the renewal period)
By reducing the validity period, they are hoping to speed the demise of dodgy sites and especially as GDPR and other related digital privacy acts start to be implemented across the world this will ensure that you can trust the site you are on and that your data will be protected with recourse if it is abused.
I Need and SSL Certificate, how do i get one?
Having seen the need for and no doubt you want to ensure that your website does not return as unsafe, you will be eager to implement SSL right away, does that mean you need to contact your local IT guru who will charge you an arm and a leg to become secure? Great news – do not panic.
Most domain hosts, including our own managed hosting, already have the means to provide you with an SSL, or at the very least they will be able to put you into contact with the SSL Certificate Authority.
The application process is relatively quick and painless depending on what type of service certificate you are looking for.
The simplest SSL is known as a domain certificate, they verify via the email address used in the domain registration process, and you would then click on an HTTPS link to confirm that you are indeed the person with that email.
A more in-depth validation process may be required if you are doing any sort of payment processing on your site, this is called an OV (Organization Validation) or EV (Extended Validation) this would include amongst other things the CA (Certification Authority) checking your physical address, business registration and other details.
I have SSL – now what?
Great you have now announced to everyone that you mean business and that you take the protection of your client's information seriously. However, you would just need to keep an eye on the renewal notice after 365 days and ensure you renew in time or make use of the various auto-renewal programs on offer for peace of mind.