How to choose the best SSL possible

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Woman in cafe shopping online with laptop
Woman in cafe shopping online with laptop

So you’ve just created a website, and next on the agenda is to purchase SSL. But where do you begin? For the uninitiated, SSL certificates can be intimidating, and it’s not surprising. There are many confusing terminologies involved it can be offputting to those who aren’t so big on tech. If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. By following just three steps, you should be able to pick out the best SSL for your site without much hassle. 

Let’s go.

1. Distinguish your website type

Ask yourself the following:

  1. How many domains or subdomains do I have? 
  2. What you use it/them for? 

Once you know the answer to these questions, it’s pretty easy to decide on your SSL type. Take the first question, for example. There are three SSL types to choose from based on your answer:

  1. Single domain SSL: Pretty self-explanatory, this guy secures a single website
  2. Multi-domain SSL: As you might have thought, this one secures multiple sites. Typically 3-100 domains. 
  3. Wildcard SSL: For all you subdomain lovers out there, this SSL will secure a single primary subdomain and unlimited one-level subdomains linked to it. 

In all likelihood, you answered that first question fast. It’s not hard to count up the number of domains you have. The answer to the next question will also impact the type of SSL you choose. Because SSL certificates have another crucial element – validation.

2. How much validation is necessary?

Every SSL issued by a Certificate Authority (CA) must be validated. This means the CA looks into the requestor and verifies that they are who they say they are. There are three levels of validation which range from basic and fast, to in-depth and slow. 

How do you know which to choose? That depends on your website type. For example, if you have a basic informational site or blog that simply displays information and doesn’t require interaction from people, then basic validation should be fine. But more intensive validation is typically recommended if you run an e-commerce site. This is because the higher the validation level, the more information about the company is featured in the SSL itself. So if a new user stumbles across your online store, they can check whether you’re legit by clicking the SSL padlock symbol. The SSL validation levels from basic to intensive are:

  1. Domain validation
  2. Organization validation
  3. Extended validation

3.Research stores and CAs

Now that you have a better idea of what SSL type to get, you need to think about where to buy it. Like with any other online purchase, it doesn’t hurt to do your research first. Read reviews to find out the trustworthiness of a particular store. Make sure they have good customer service and good deals. All SSLs are basically the same product, so you really don’t need to break the bank while purchasing one. Save that money for something else. 

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Researching the partner CA is also paramount. You should only get SSLs issued from trusted CAs. If a CA is not considered trustworthy, it’s basically like not having an SSL at all. Web browsers won’t accept it, and your potential site visitors will be met with a “site not secure” message that is guaranteed to put them off.

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