SSL Certificates for Dummies: What They Are and Why They’re Important! | Blog | Lform (2023)

As technology advances, we see more visitors searching for information online. The use of next-generation technology by businesses helps their audience to find the information they need quickly. The increased use of websites has also unleashed the power of the dark web. With website users becoming increasingly more conscious of their online privacy, SSL certificates have gone from an option for any website to an urgent need.

As hackers use innovative techniques to capture user data, businesses must introduce adequate safeguards to ensure user trust in their websites. Ignoring this can lead to significant loss of trust and, consequently, a loss in sales. One of the best ways to safeguard user trust is by installing SSL certificates. This article will discuss more about them and how they can be helpful for organizations.

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL forms the infrastructure for a secure internet and helps visitors know that your website is secure for browsing by encrypting the interactions that take place between the web server and the visitor’s browser. As a result, no unauthorized entity can gain access to the information as it’s in transit.

When an SSL certificate is installed, the visitor can verify the website’s authenticity by checking the address bar itself. The presence of the padlock ensures that the website is secure. If additional details are required, the visitor can click on the padlock for more information about the underlying certificate. The type of certificate needed depends on the types of digital assets you wish to secure.

How do SSL certificates work?

The SSL certificates work using the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology. This cryptography technique uses two keys, viz. a private key and a public key, that helps to encrypt the communication taking place between the two systems. The keys are used to encode and decode the information being exchanged and to secure it effectively when transmitted.

When the visitor tries to connect with the website, it requests the server’s public key and provides its public key. The user sends a message to the server that is encrypted using the public key. When the server receives the message, it decrypts it using the private key. The messages are sent back to the browser after being encrypted using the public key of the browser.

(Video) SSL Certificates Explained

Benefits of SSL certificates

Security through data encryption.

Most websites store data related to customer demographics and even financial information. The SSL certificates ensure security to client-server interaction and encrypt the flow of information, thereby preventing any third party from accessing it. Using a private and public key pair ensures that the data is decipherable only by the designated recipient.

Confirms your identity.

Before a business can install the SSL certificate, a Certificate Authority must validate the company’s antecedents. The validation process is based on the type of certificate selected by the business. Once you install the certificate, the website will be acknowledged by web browsers as secure. This makes it much more difficult for hackers looking to create a fake website with the same name, a technique known as “phishing.”

Improved customer trust.

Visitors to any website always check for the padlock on the address bar, and more so if they wish to make an online transaction. Most users abandon a website if they do not find the padlock as they are deemed to be unsafe. Moreover, websites can also get a Trust Seal if they have already installed one of the many SSL certificates available.

You satisfy PCI/DSS guidelines.

If your website accepts online payments, you must adhere to the PCI/ DSS guidelines. The payment processing industry has set up guidelines to secure online transactions against any fraud. There is a list of around twelve primary requirements according to these guidelines. Having an SSL certificate is also one among them.

Prevents warning messages on browsers

Web browsers are on a mission to provide a safe browsing environment for users. Google has been flagging the insecure non-HTTPS websites as “Not Secure.” There are chances that such sites may get entirely blocked by web browsers. By flagging to users that a website is “not secure” this dissuades them from entering your website at all, leading to loss of customer trust and to more visitors abandoning the website.

(Video) SSL, TLS, HTTP, HTTPS Explained

Improves search rankings

Since 2014, Google has been providing benefits in the search ranking to HTTPS websites. It is vital for search ranking that websites implement SSL certificates. It could also be attributed to the more significant number of visitors to secure websites.

Types of SSL certificates: Validation Levels

Domain Validated (DV) SSL certificates.

The certificate authority will check whether the business has the right to use the domain name. The certificate depicts that the domain is registered, and there is a site administrator who is running the site. They are the quickest and among the most effective ways for encryption. The HTTPS is enabled, and the padlock is shown on the address bar. These certificates are ideal for blog sites, personal websites, and test servers. They are usually issued within minutes.

Organization Validated (OV) SSL certificates

This certificate requires you to prove that the organization owns the domain it wishes to secure. The entity must exist in a particular country and city. The business must be registered legally as well. The certificate authority will take steps to validate the company’s identity, and it may take a few days to receive this certificate. Additional information about the company is provided when the visitor requests it.

Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates

These certificates provide the highest level of trust that requires organizations to provide much more details that show their ownership of the company. There is a specific process that all certificate authorities must follow. The physical, operational, and legal existence is measured and is also checked against the official records. It is also verified whether the entity has the exclusive rights to use the domain.

The latest high-security browsers support the highest levels of authenticity provided by these certificates. It is the most secure certificate, and it usually takes days to be issued due to the level of validation needed before issuing it. It is recommended for all business websites but necessary for e-commerce sites.

(Video) How does HTTPS work? What's a CA? What's a self-signed Certificate?

Types of SSL certificates: Number of secured domains

Single domain certificates

These certificates will secure only one domain. For example, if you wish to install it for, you cannot use it for sub-domains such as It is ideal if you have only one website that must be secured. They are available relatively cheap as well.

Wildcard SSL certificates

Wildcard SSL certificates are known to have a wildcard character (*) in the domain name. The certificate allows securing multiple first-level sub-domains along with the primary domain. For example, if you purchase the certificate for, it will secure,,, etc. However, it will not secure

They use 256-bit encryption methodology and are available in organization validation and domain validation options. It saves resources by reducing the number of certificates that you need to install. The administration of website security is also centralized.

Multi-Domain SSL Certificates

The Multi-Domain certificates help to secure multiple domains through a single certificate. They provide flexibility by securing several domains and sub-domains. The web administrator can add, delete or change the SANs during the validity of the certificate. However, all the domains must be registered under the same owner. The domains listed in the account are required to prove their ownership.

One of the significant advantages is that it supports multiple fully qualified domain names (FQDN) through the same certificate. The SAN field allows the web administrator to specify the additional hostnames provided by a single certificate. It is supported by 99.9% of all web browsers and is supported by domain validation, organization validation, and extended validation certificate types.

(Video) SSL and Certificates Explained for Beginners

How can I evaluate my SSL needs?

SSL certificates are an efficient safeguard for users. You must move your website to an HTTPS platform as web browsers and search engines prefer HTTPS websites. Now the question arises—How can you evaluate your needs?

As a webmaster, you must have an assessment of the number of web assets that are there. Have a ready list of the number of domains and subdomains that you must secure. Also, you must assess the type of websites that must be secured and whether the websites are storing customer information.

There are also various factors to consider, like the time required to issue, validation type, and the associated price. It would help if you made a rational decision as this will also involve customer trust. Always choose from among the renowned certificate authorities whose products are compatible with most browsers.


As users are more aware of their online privacy than ever, businesses must ensure adequate steps are taken to protect their users as they browse your website. One of the steps you can take is by moving to the HTTPS protocol that will help to encrypt the communication the webserver has with the visitor’s browser. There are several options available with renowned certificate authorities. You can go through the different options and choose one that is ideal for all your web assets.

If you need help with choosing the right SSL for your B2B website, Lform Design can help! Our expert website design and development team has extensive experience in securing your site through the proper installation and configuration of SSL certificates. Contact us today for help!

(Video) How to create a valid self signed SSL Certificate?


What is an SSL certificate and why is it important? ›

An SSL certificate is a bit of code on your web server that provides security for online communications. When a web browser contacts your secured website, the SSL certificate enables an encrypted connection. It's kind of like sealing a letter in an envelope before sending it through the mail.

What is SSL certificates for dummies? ›

SSL/TLS stands for secure sockets layer and transport layer security. It is a protocol or communication rule that allows computer systems to talk to each other on the internet safely. SSL/TLS certificates allow web browsers to identify and establish encrypted network connections to web sites using the SSL/TLS protocol.

What are the 3 types of SSL? ›

There are three recognized categories of SSL certificate authentication types:
  • Extended Validation (EV)
  • Organization Validation (OV)
  • Domain Validation (DV)

What is SSL certificate blog? ›

It establishes a link between a user and a website to start the secure data transfer process. In a matter of seconds, your web browser initiates a connection to an SSL/TLS-secured website asking it to identify itself; in response, the website's server sends back a copy of its SSL certificate.

What happens when SSL certificate expires? ›

When TLS/SSL certificate expires, your website shows warning messages to the users, like 'your connection is not private' or 'your communication is not secure'. Such alarming notifications drive users away from your website, impacting your website traffic, brand value, and sales.

Do SSL certificates matter? ›

SSL ensures that all data passing between you and a site is protected against man-in-the-middle attacks. An SSL certificate can also protect against other types of attacks, but not all of them. Some attacks are specific to SSL certificates and can result in a web server being entirely compromised.

What is SSL certificate with example? ›

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client—typically a web server (website) and a browser, or a mail server and a mail client (e.g., Outlook).

How do SSL certificates work? ›

SSL uses port number 443, encrypting data exchanged between the browser and the server and authenticating the user. Therefore, when the communications between the web browser and server need to be secure, the browser automatically switches to SSL — that is, as long as the server has an SSL certificate installed.

How do I use SSL certificate? ›

In the Websites and Domains section for the domain name you want to use, click SSL/TLS Certificates. Click Add SSL Certificate. Enter a Certificate name, complete the fields in the Settings section, and then click Request.
  1. Home.
  2. Guides.
  3. How to Install an SSL Certificate.

How many SSL certificates do I need? ›

In most cases, you'll only need one SSL certificate for your domain. But in certain cases, you might need two certificates for a single domain. Here's what you need to know, and how you can implement two certificates on the same domain.

Which type of SSL certificate do I need? ›

Just One – Use a Standard Certificate

If you only need to secure one domain (e.g. ., then you should purchase a single domain, or standard certificate. You have your choice of trust level – DV, OV, or EV. If, however, you need to secure multiple domains (e.g. for regional sites - .com, .

How many SSL do you need? ›

SSL is a Maryland state graduation requirement. Students must earn 75 SSL hours to meet this graduation requirement. MCPS students may earn SSL hours starting the summer after completing grade 5 through middle school and high school.

Do I need SSL for my blog? ›

Your website needs any SSL certificate If you're asking for any personal information. But that's not all there is to it. Search engines are cracking down on perceived 'non-secure' websites. Any websites without the SSL certificate will remain http while those with encryption will show https in users' browsers.

Is an SSL required for a blog? ›

If your website is only a blog, with no products or memberships, and doesn't even ask for any kind of information, then you don't need an SSL Certificate. However, an SSL Certificate can help you increase the traffic.

What is the difference between SSL and SSL? ›

It uses SSL/TLS for delivering the encrypted data.
Comparison chart between SSL and HTTPS.
It is abbreviated as Secure Sockets Layer.It is abbreviated as Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.
5 more rows

Do I need to renew my SSL certificate every year? ›

In general, most SSL certificates need to be renewed every year, although there are some variations depending on the level of security your website requires and whether or not you've purchased additional security features for your SSL certificate.

How long is an SSL certificate valid for? ›

Digital certificates validity periods are specific to each type of certificate. Currently, code signing certificates are valid for up to three years while SSL certificates are valid for just over one year.

Is SSL certificate mandatory? ›

SSL certificates are now a requirement for all websites. The browsers – led by Google and Mozilla – have mandated all sites be served with encryption via HTTPS. To accomplish this transition the browsers have created a new security warnings.

What are the disadvantages of SSL? ›

What are the potential disadvantages of SSL/TLS?
  • SSL/TLS has vulnerabilities. SSL/TLS may make your site much more secure from an attack. ...
  • Speed degradation. ...
  • Allows insecure encryption. ...
  • Drop in traffic. ...
  • Plugin problems. ...
  • Insecure social share plugins. ...
  • Mixed modes challenges. ...
  • Cost SSL/TLS disadvantages.
Sep 20, 2019

Do all SSL certificates expire? ›

It protects their security and privacy. But SSL certificates are not valid forever. Like your driving license or passport, an SSL certificate also has an expiration date. Past the expiration date, the server's identity is no longer trusted.

Is SSL necessary for email? ›

SSL encryption for email is a highly recommended whenever possible. Configuring your server / mail client with an SSL will help avoid mail delivery exploits and secure email login attempts.

Where are SSL certificates stored? ›

The default location to install certificates is /etc/ssl/certs . This enables multiple services to use the same certificate without overly complicated file permissions. For applications that can be configured to use a CA certificate, you should also copy the /etc/ssl/certs/cacert.

What is the cost of an SSL certificate? ›

On average, a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate costs around $60/year. However, the price can vary from $8 to $1000/year, depending on various factors, such as the number of domains one can protect, the validation process, the warranty, or the certificate authority itself.

Where are SSL certificates stored in Windows? ›

This certificate store is located in the registry under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE root. This type of certificate store is local to a user account on the computer. This certificate store is located in the registry under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER root.

Where would I use an SSL certificate? ›

Companies that request personal information from a user, such as an email address or payment information, should have SSL certificates on their website. Having one means that the details you are collecting are private and ensures the customer that when they see that padlock and https://, their privacy is safe.

Who owns an SSL certificate? ›

An SSL certificate is a type of digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection. These certificates communicate to the client that the web service host demonstrated ownership of the domain to the certificate authority at the time of certificate issuance.

Is a SSL certificate free? ›

Website owners and developers can source free SSL certificate providers and paid SSL certificates issued by Certificate Authorities (CAs). As the name suggests, free SSL certificates don't require payment, and web owners can use them as much as they want.

How do I manually install an SSL certificate? ›

You can then follow these steps:
  1. After logging in, click “Web Hosting” in the left navigation menu.
  2. Click on the name of the web hosting you want to manage.
  3. Click on the “Sites” tab.
  4. Click the green arrow next to the site you want to secure.
  5. Click “Upload an SSL Certificate.”

What is the advantage of SSL certificate? ›

Another important benefit of SSL certificates is that it helps secure websites and users from a range of attacks. It helps prevent eavesdropping, impersonation, data theft, identity theft and Man-in-the-middle attacks as it encrypts all data in transit. It reduces the risk of phishing attacks.

Should I pay for an SSL certificate? ›

Without SSL, your site visitors and customers are at higher risk of being having their data stolen. Your site security is also at risk without encryption. SSL protects website from phishing scams, data breaches, and many other threats. Ultimately, It builds a secure environment for both visitors and site owners.

Is SSL certificate enough for your security? ›

Encryption In Transit / Encryption At Rest

SSL and TLS don't provide us with encryption at rest (when the data is stored on the website's server). This means that if a hacker is able to gain access to the server, they can read all the data you have submitted.

What is the disadvantage of SSL certificate? ›

Disadvantages of SSL

Cost of Certificate – It is possible to get a free SSL certificate, but this isn't recommended for a lot of reasons. Depending on the type of cert you buy, the price will vary quite a bit. However, when you consider the added level of security, the cost isn't really prohibitive for most websites.

Why is SSL certificate not trusted? ›

SSL Certificate Not Trusted Error

That means either the company, known as the certificate authority (CA), is not on the browser's built-in list of trusted certificate providers or that the certificate was issued by the server itself. Certificates issued by the server are often referred to as self-signed certificates.

What do I need to have before buying an SSL certificate? ›

Before Purchasing an SSL Certificate
  1. The Type of SSL Certificate You Need. ...
  2. The Level of Validation You Want Your Site to Have When You Buy an SSL Certificate. ...
  3. What Warranty, If Any, You Want to Protect Your Business. ...
  4. The Brand or Certificate Authority Who Will Issue Your Certificate.

Is SSL legally required? ›

If you have a website that involves collection of vital user data such as the credit card details of the users and other important details, then it is a legal requirement that the website should have an SSL certificate.

Do I need SSL for email? ›

SSL encryption for email is a highly recommended whenever possible. Configuring your server / mail client with an SSL will help avoid mail delivery exploits and secure email login attempts.

How long does an SSL certificate last? ›

Those requirements dictate that SSL certificates may have a lifespan of no longer than 27 months (two years + you can carry over up to three months when you renew with time remaining on your previous certificate). That means that every website needs to renew or replace its SSL certificate at least once every two years.

Who is the largest SSL provider? ›

ComodoOpens a new window has issued more than 100 million certificates, making them the largest certificate authority in the world. With their vast experience in SSL certificates, their technical support is highly trained and experienced in providing support for their products.

What type of SSL should I use? ›

Given the rise of imposter and phishing websites, we recommend website operators use SSL Certificates that include company identity information (i.e. OV or EV) so site visitors can view the identity of the domain owner.

When would you use an SSL certificate? ›

Companies and organizations need to add SSL certificates to their websites to secure online transactions and keep customer information private and secure. In short: SSL keeps internet connections secure and prevents criminals from reading or modifying information transferred between two systems.

Is getting an SSL certificate free? ›

Website owners and developers can source free SSL certificate providers and paid SSL certificates issued by Certificate Authorities (CAs). As the name suggests, free SSL certificates don't require payment, and web owners can use them as much as they want.


1. Types of SSL Certificates - SSL Explained (SIMPLY)
(Get Found)
2. What Is SSL? (Explained)
(HubSpot Marketing )
3. SSL/TLS Certificates - What is SSL and What is it Used For?
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4. SSL Chain of Trust | How SSL Chain Works | Root Cert, Intermediate Certificate, Server Certificate
(Tutorials Pedia)
5. SSL Certificate Chain Explained (Game of Thrones style)
(JJ Spectrum)
6. Digital Certificates Explained - How digital certificates bind owners to their public key
(Destination Certification)


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