The Hostway Blog

Do I Need a Dedicated SSL Certificate?

When you have a small business, it is essential to have a Web site that your customers can consult for new items, prices, business information and more. One of the best ways to monetize your business Web site is to create a retail store that your customers can use to make online purchases from your company.

If you have customers who are unaccustomed to making purchases online, they may be hesitant to give out their credit card number or other personal information over the Internet. In order to ease these fears, you can purchase a dedicated SSL certificate for your company Web site.

An SSL, or secure socket lacyers, certificate is used to protect the information that your customers input into your Web site. When you visit a Web site that is SSL secure, you will typically see a small padlock in the address bar of your web browser. This icon lets you know that any information that you input on that particular site will be secure and protected.

Does my Web Site Need an SSL Certificate?

If your business Web site includes a retail store that allows your customers to make purchases, it is a good idea to go ahead and get SSL certification. This is a great way to protect your customers and let them know that their credit card numbers are not in danger of being stolen online.

Another reason you may need SSL is if you process other important information on your Web site, such as social security number, birth dates or driver's license numbers. It is your responsibility to protect the valuable information that your customers give you. By installing an SSL certificate, you can help them to know that you and your company can be trusted.

How can I get an SSL certificate?

To purchase an SSL certificate, the first thing you should do is to contact your Web hosting company. Most Web hosting companies are happy to give you the information that you need to purchase your SSL certificate. Many of them even offer a service to purchase the certification for you and install the script onto your Web site.

Some hosts offer both shared and dedicated SSL certificates. If you want to avoid purchasing an SSL certificate of your own, you can use one of the shared ones that your hosting company may provide. However, your Web site address will not appear in the browser address bar when the customer makes a purchase. When you use a shared SSL, the Web host's address will appear in the bar. This does not typically have an affect on your customers, but a dedicated SSL certificate may promote a little more trust in your company.

If you have hired someone to create your company Web site, you should be able to have them purchase and install an SSL certificate for your Web site. The entire process only takes a few days but will have an enormous impact on the level of trust that your customers have in your business.

When customers log in to your Web site and see the padlock icon, they can rest assured knowing that their credit card information is secure.