Securing Your Web Site with Shared SSL

Today's online advances allow us so much convenience that it's hard to imagine life without them. We can bank, shop, and change benefits information at any hour with the help of an Internet browser. Whether you are an owner of an online company or a customer of one, you want to know that personal information being sent through the Internet is safe and secure. Using a shared SSL certificate provides this security.

What SSL Means

SSL stands for secure socket layer. It keeps information that you send over the Internet private and safe. This security is achieved by "encrypting" the information. When you enter and send information that is encrypted, any user who does not have access rights to your information is unable to view it. Encrypted information may include the following:

  • Login information

  • Passwords

  • Social Security numbers

  • Credit card numbers

SSL provides protection by means of a digital certificate that verifies the identity of online users. You know you are on a website that has an SSL certificate if a small lock icon appears on a page. You may have seen this icon in a shopping area of a website where you order and pay for items.

A website that uses an SSL certificate makes everyone feel comfortable that the site is authentic and that personal information being shared is safe from outsiders. Users on a website that does not have an SSL certificate may receive a warning message that the site is not secure. Users’ privacy is not protected as well on these sites as it would be on a site with an SSL certificate.

About Shared SSL Certificates

If you own a website and want to purchase an SSL certificate, you have different choices for your online security. Many online business owners choose a shared SSL certificate. This type of certificate gives you the protection you need with lower setup and maintenance costs. With a shared SSL certificate, you are sharing with someone else who has the certificate—for example, your website hosting company. The certificate resides on a secure server. A common link for shared SSL begins with "https" and contains the word "secure" in it.

Types of Shared SSL Certificates

Shared SSL certificates come in different forms. Here are a few common ones and their typical characteristics.

  • Wild card certificate. This type points to the location where you store the website files you want secured, which gives you more flexibility. The wild card certificate tends to be more expensive than a standard shared SSL certificate.

  • Standard certificate. This type points to a separate user directory where you upload the website files you want secured.

  • Certificate accessed from a shopping cart. This type pertains to websites that involve e-commerce. It points to the shopping cart provided by the website hosting company. This shared certificate is used only for shopping carts. It is usually a standard certificate but may sometimes be a wild card one.

Which type of shared SSL certificate you choose depends on the needs of you and your customers. SSL is a critical part of any online business, benefiting both owners and customers.

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