Jul 31,2018
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A Short Guide On Choosing SSL Certificates For E-Commerce Websites

Thinking of expanding your e-commerce business? Want to grow your business into the one from your dreams? We can help.


If you are new to e-commerce, you must have heard of a little something called SSL certificates. If you’re here for getting some guidance on how to select an SSL certificate, we’re here to help. Let’s get down to it, shall we?!


As netizens, we are almost always using SSL certificates without quite acknowledging its presence. Whilst browsing common websites such as Google, Facebook, Amazon or any one of a million secured websites, SSL certificates come into play without making their presence felt.


What now, is an SSL?


A secured online communication works with the help of an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. In technical terms, an SSL is a cryptographic protocol that provides authentication and data encryption between browsers and servers over a network. In a layman’s terms, it is a tool that prevents data from getting compromised while in transit between the browser and server.


Why should I use an SSL certificate?


Cybersecurity is a deep rabbit hole. In recent times, hackers have come up with numerous ways to steal data from insecure websites with mind-boggling implications,. This was seen in the huge data breaches of Yahoo, Uber and JP Morgan Chase. Cybersecurity is gaining in prominence.


According to stats, small e-commerce websites are the most affected due to security breaches. Magento, the most popular platform for e-commerce companies, was scanned for security checks. It was found that 78% of the companies based on Magento had security patches missing and 5% had payment card data harvesting malware present. These security breaches also follow the failure of the website owner to install relevant security updates.


This information proves the role that security plays in the survival of your e-commerce site and the implications when one fails to secure their website.


Enter SSL. SSL takes you a big step forward in terms of securing your website. SSL uses encryption to make your data private. Every message passed via SSL is subjected to an internal check to test the integrity of this encryption. If it passes the test, the message gets transmitted, else it is saved from being exposed.


SSL encryption helps you secure credit card information and login credentials of users. It ensures that these details cannot be obtained by hackers using man-in-middle attacks. While most people understand why they need SSL for payment gateways, some startup e-commerce websites overlook the importance of SSL for login forms. Since most people use the same passwords for a number of websites, compromising their account on one website can result in them getting a lot of their other accounts compromised too.


The Structure of SSL certificates


Let’s break down SSL. There are three different kinds of SSL certificates - DV SSL, OV SSL and EV SSL.


When you install an SSL certificate on a server, it activates a padlock and the https protocol. EV SSL is the highest form of SSL available. An EV SSL connection means your website/webpage consists of the following:


  • The address bar in green color
  • A padlock on the extreme left of the address bar
  • ‘https’ displayed instead of its unsafe counterpart,‘http’.
  • Organization name and office location country code displayed in square brackets.


A DV SSL certificate is the cheapest. But it consists of only the https and the padlock. Hence, it is not recommended for someone who runs an e-commerce website. The absence of identification information rules out DV SSL as a potential encryption tool for your website.


OV SSL certificates do provide security, but not as much as EV SSL certificates do. EV SSL certificates undergo validation from the Certificate Authority (CA). Hence they are treated as the gold standard in SSL. We recommend that if you are one using OV SSL, switch to EV SSL.


Where to select the best SSL certificates?


SSL certifications are available aplenty. With Google pushing for https adoption and announcing https as a ranking factor in organic search traffic results starting 2014, websites have picked up the pace in obtaining SSL encryption. In 2014, website security was taken in as a lightweight ranking factor. But from what we learn about what  Google said at the announcement, the factor should only have increased in strength. The fact that SSL affects SEO is all the more reason why you should go for SSL.


SSL certificates used by e-commerce giants


  • Amazon and eBay use SSL provided by Symantec Corporation
  • Walmart and Priceline use GlobalSign SSL
  • Otto Group uses Comodo Secure SSL
  • JD and Priceline make use of GeoTrust RSA SSL.


Multi-domain SSL and Wildcard SSL


You can also use multi-domain (SAN) SSL certificates. With the use of multi-domain SSL, you don’t have to buy and install a separate SSL certificate for each domain you want to secure. Instead you can add multiple primary domains as well as multiple subdomains into one integrated SSL certificate.


Wildcard SSL is another alternative. It helps you secure multiple subdomains, but not multiple primary domains. So, SAN SSL is the winner.


Changing usage of SSL


It was widely believed until some time ago that a whole website had to be secured using a single SSL certificate, but not anymore. If you choose to, you can put your login pages, online forms and payment gateways on a subdomain and secure that subdomain alone.


Also, if you use a third party payment gateway such as PayPal, you won’t necessarily need an SSL encryption. However, owning an SSL certificate is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity. The SSL secure seal instills trust in the customer’s mind. The trust factor is what you should focus on building, especially if you are a startup. The more trusted customers you get, the bigger your customer base grows, and the more revenue you’ll make.


So we’re saying...


Customers need to see that your company is genuine and authentic. By researching on security issues the world over, and by consequently implementing the requisite SSL encryption, you can grow in stature as a reputed business. We hope our guide has helped you understand a bit more about the need of the hour that is SSL.



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