What is an SSL certificate?
Secure Socket Layer, shortened for SSL, is a way in which to secure connections for your visitors on your websites by using a public-private encryption mechanism. Using SSL is vital for e-commerce stores, online businesses and for any area of your website where sensitive information may be transmitted or received. With SSL certificates starting at just £5 per month, having a secure website for your visitors for transmitting sensitive information such as debit card information is incredibly affordable.
An SSL certificate is issued by a Certificate Authority and you implement the SSL certificate on your website. By using an SSL certificate through a trusted Certificate Authority such as Geotrust or Globalsign, web browsers will immediately trust the authenticity of the SSL certificate and will display to its users that the connection to your website is secure.
Why do I need to purchase an SSL certificate through a recognised Certificate Authority?
The reason being is to verify the authenticity of the SSL certificate and to ensure that the secure connection to your website is genuine. In order to ensure that data transmitted to the website is not visible at any point while the data is traveling from your computer to the server of the website, when you are connected to a website that uses SSL, the data that is transmitted is encrypted. The data is encrypted using the public key, which is publicly known. Any data that is transmitted is encrypted using this key, which essentially acts as a kind of algorithm for how the data is encrypted. Then, the server would decrypt this data using a private key that is only to be known to the server administrator / website owner and is the only way in which the data can be decrypted and seen in plain-text.
This means that debit card information that you input on a website that has an authentic SSL certificate active will be fully secure when you press the submit button on the form. The only way in which there could be any kind of security issue is if the SSL certificate has not been issued by a recognised Certificate Authority or if there was a security breach with the Certificate Authority itself. Other than this, the only other plausible explanation would be if there is malware on your computer which is recording your keyboard’s keystrokes prior to submitting the form.
So long as a secure connection to a website is authenticated by being issued by a recognised Certificate Authority, your connection is completely secure. It is important that you purchase an SSL certificate if you care about your customer’s security, and the security of the data that is being sent to your website. Most of your customer’s will be expecting your website to have an SSL certificate in place. If the order area of your e-commerce store does not show an SSL/secure symbol in user’s web browsers, they may decide not to order with your e-commerce store. So not only is it important for security, but because SSL certificates are so affordable, it makes sense to purchase one for your customer’s peace of mind and to prevent any loss of sales because some of your visitors hesitate to order with your website because you do not make use of SSL encryption.