Explore the Six Types of SSL Certificates for Your Website

Types of SSL Certificates

eCommerce runs on trust.

While your store might receive a lot of traffic, visitors are always hesitant to give their credit card and personal details if they don’t trust that the store will be able to protect these details.

Now trust-building combines applying the best practices for UX and website security. The process starts with building the website and continues as you manage store operations.

SSL certificate is one of the trust-building features you can apply to your store and instantly boost the site’s reputation for all visitors.

In this article, we’ll discuss SSL certificates and go into the details of how they work. We’ll also explore the six major categories of SSL certificates so that you can select the right option for your eCommerce store.

Let’s start with the SSL part of these certificates.

Table Of Content

  1. What is SSL?
  2. So, What is an SSL Certificate?
    1. Benefits of Having SSL Certificates on Your Store
  3. How Do SSL Certificates Function?
  4. Types of SSL Certificates
    1. Extended Validation SSL Certificate
    2. Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificate
    3. Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificate
    4. Wildcard SSL Certificate
    5. Multi-Domain SSL Certificate (MDC)
    6. Unified Communications Certificate (UCC)
  5. Conclusion
  6. FAQS

What is SSL?

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a cryptographic protocol that adds security to all applications that send or receive data over the Internet.

SSL uses encryption to protect data from being intercepted and read by unauthorized parties. So even if a hacker manages to divert the data coming to your store, they can’t do anything with it because it will be encrypted with very strong encryption.

When SSL is activated on a website, users see a lock icon in their browser’s address bar. This indicates that the website is using SSL to protect their data.

SSL is an important security technology that helps to protect the visitors’ (and your store’s) privacy and security. As such, it is critical to build trust in your store’s ability to protect user data.

So, What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL certificates associate a specific cryptographic key with your business’s details (for example, the website name) to safeguard all communications coming to and originating from your website.

When an SSL certificate is activated for your store’s domain, the URL will change from HTTP to secured HTTP (HTTPS). Visitors will see a gray padlock in the address bar of their browsers.

In addition to the security angle, search engines incentivize website owners to install SSL certificates by improving their SERP positions.

Benefits of Having SSL Certificates on Your Store

Here are five benefits of having SSL certificates on your store:

Increased Security 

SSL certificates encrypt data in transit, which helps to protect it from being intercepted by hackers. This is especially important for stores because these sites regularly collect sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or passwords.

Increased User Trust

The presence of an SSL certificate tells visitors that your store is secure and that they can trust it with their personal information. This leads to increased sales and conversions.

Improved SEO

As mentioned earlier, Google and other search engines give preference to websites that use SSL certificates. This can help your store rank higher in search results, which can lead to more traffic and sales.

Compliance with Regulations

Many industries, such as healthcare and finance, require businesses to use SSL certificates in order to comply with regulations. Having an SSL certificate can help your business avoid fines and other penalties.

Peace of Mind 

Above all, knowing that your website is secure and your visitors’ data is safe gives you peace of mind. This can help you focus better on running your business

How Do SSL Certificates Function?

SSL certificates use a combination of private and public keys to secure your store. 

Essentially, SSL certificates are data files validating the secure connection between your store’s website and a web server using public key cryptography.

The server hosting store has the private key and uses it to encrypt all communication going out from the server. At the receiving end, only the public key contained in your SSL certificate can decrypt these communications.

Here’s an overview of how SSL certificates work:

How Do SSL Certificates Function?

  1. The user’s browser sends a request to the web server.
  2. The web server sends its SSL certificate to the browser.
  3. The browser verifies the SSL certificate with a trusted Certificate Authority (CA).
  4. If the certificate is valid, the browser and the web server establish a secure connection.
  5. The user can then enter their personal information without fear of it being intercepted.

Types of SSL Certificates

SSL certificates are generated and issued by a Certificate Authority as a bundle that contains the root and intermediate certificates.

There are multiple categories of SSL certificates, each with its own validation standards. We’ll now present a brief overview of the popular types of SSL certificates so that you can pick the right one for your store.

Extended Validation SSL Certificate

An Extended Validation (EV Certificate) is the best and the most expensive type of SSL certificate.

Setting up an EV-type certificate is a multi-step process where the website owner goes through a standardized identity verification process to show they own the domain alone.

EV SSL Certificate Use Cases

Because EV certificates are costly and the domain owner needs to find time for the lengthy verification process, they are typically utilized by high-profile websites that gather much personal information from their visitors or routinely collect online payments (e.g., banks or medical providers).

EV SSL Certificate Use Cases

Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificate

The Organization Validation (OV) SSL certificate’s primary goal is to encrypt critical information during online transactions. Like the EV certificate, the OV certificate provides a high level of assurance and is used to validate corporate trustworthiness.

An OV SSL certificate is the next most expensive type of SSL certificate. To obtain this SSL certificate, website owners must undergo a rigorous validation procedure monitored by a Certification Authority, verifying the website owner’s ownership of their unique domain name.

OV SSL Certificate Use Cases

Commercial and public-facing websites that collect and maintain user information (such as web apps) usually require OV certificates.

OV SSL Certificate Use Cases

Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificate

Compared to other SSLs, Domain Validation SSL certificates provide limited encryption. As a result, the validation process for obtaining this certificate type is simple. Website owners simply respond to emails or phone calls to establish domain ownership.

DV SSL Certificate Use Cases

Because DV certificates are among the least expensive and fastest to obtain, they are frequently utilized by informational websites or blogs that do not need to deliver anything extra in terms of security.

DV SSL Certificate Use Cases

Wildcard SSL Certificate

Wildcard SSL certificates are available in both OV and DV certificates and are used to secure a base domain and unlimited subdomains. The essential advantage of getting a wildcard certificate is that it is less expensive than purchasing a set of single-domain certificates.

The usual name of wildcard SSL includes an asterisk. An asterisk represents any valid subdomain with the same base domain. For example, the common name may be *.example.com (the asterisk is at the start), allowing this certificate to be installed for subdomains like blog.example.com, clients.examples.com, and account.example.com.

Wildcard SSL Certificate Use Cases

Customers requiring encryption for many subdomains can acquire OV or DV Wildcard certificates depending on their business needs. This could be useful for blogging platforms that create different subdomains for their user accounts.

Wildcard SSL Certificate Use CasesMulti-Domain SSL Certificate (MDC)

Multi-Domain SSL certificates – MDC certificates enable you to secure up to 100 domain names and subdomains with a single SSL certificate, saving you time and money. Businesses can add, amend, and delete SANs in the Subject Alternative Name (SAN) field as needed.

Domain Validated, Organization Validated, Extended Validated, and Wildcard certificates are the SSL types that could be upgraded to secure numerous domains. Here are some domain names that can be secured with a single Multi-Domain certificate:

  • www.example.com
  • www.example.in
  • www.example.org
  • example.com
  • checkout.example.com
  • mail.example.com
  • secure.exampledomain.org
  • www.website.com
  • www.domain.co.uk

Multi-Domain SSL Certificate Use Cases

Multi-Domain SSL certificates are frequently used by businesses with offices in multiple jurisdictions and multinational corporations that work with multiple top-level domain names.

Multi-Domain SSL Certificate Use Cases

Unified Communications Certificate (UCC)

Unified Communications Certificates (UCC) are the equivalent of a Multi-Domain SSL Certificate with a similar feature set. However, you should know that UCCs can be used to generate EV SSL certificates.

Unified Communications Certificate Use Cases

UCCs were initially designed to protect Live Communications servers and Microsoft Exchange. They can, however, now be used by any website owner to encrypt many domains with a single certificate.

Unified Communications Certificate Use Cases

Also Read: 12 Ways of Fixing ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH Error

Conclusion

Your business’s’ specific demands and requirements determine the type of SSL certificate you need to deploy at your website. Understanding the different types of SSL certificates available enables you to make an informed decision to protect your website and give a secure browsing experience to your users.

Remember that purchasing the appropriate SSL certificate is an investment in the trustworthiness and credibility of your online presence.

FAQ’s

Q. When should I request a Wildcard SSL Certificate?

When securing many subdomains, such as secure.domainname.com, www.domainname.com, and mail.domainname.com, an SSL/TLS Wildcard certificate should be considered.

The common name entered for the SSL/TLS Wildcard Certificate will be in the format *.domainname.com.

Q. How do I choose the right type of SSL certificate?

The right type of SSL certificate depends on your website’s exact needs and requirements. Consider factors such as the level of validation and trust required, the number of subdomains or domains you need to secure, and your budget. Choosing a reputable Certificate Authority (CA) and ensuring compatibility with different browsers and devices is also important.

Q. How long will an SSL certificate be valid?

SSL certificates are normally valid for 1 to 2 years, while some CAs provide longer-term options. You should closely track the certificate’s expiration date and renew it on time so that you don’t compromise your website’s security.

Q. Can I use a free SSL on my site?

Free SSL certificate options, such as Let’s Encrypt, are great for personal and hobby projects. These certificates offer basic encryption capabilities, especially for personal websites or blogs. However, investing in a paid SSL certificate from a reputable CA is generally recommended if your website handles sensitive data or requires higher trust and validation.