Understanding SSL Certificates

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

All websites should have an SSL Certificate. Why? Because there are plenty of benefits to having one and a lot of potential problems if you don’t. It’s as simple as that! OK, things do get slightly less simple, but that’s the bottom line, at least. There are various different types of SSL Certificates that you get for your business website. In this blog, we’ll explain the difference between free and paid options, the different types of SSL certificates and their uses, and why you positively must get one for your website.

Free v Paid Certificates: What You Need To Know

If something’s available for free, then most of us will at least consider it, especially when we’re running a business. The start up costs for a company can be significant, after all, so any opportunity to keep the costs down will be appreciated.

But should you do it with free SSL certificates? No, because, in the end, you get what you pay for. There are many reasons why it’s better to go with a paid SSL certificate rather than a freebie, but the main reason is that free options don’t offer a warranty against data breaches. When you choose a paid option, you’ll receive a payout under the terms of the warranty. Plus, you won’t have much by way of support when you choose the free option, if any support at all. A paid option gives you peace of mind that, if something goes wrong, you’ll have a team of support behind you.

Read more about staying safe online in one of our other articles.

What Is The Impact of Not Having SSL installed?

It’s easy to overlook some things when you’re running a business, especially when it comes to your website. However, there is a reason why it’s so important to correctly install an SSL certificate for your website: the consequences of not doing so can be severe.

The most pressing concern will be that all the data within your website may be accessible by hackers. And they won’t have good intentions with that data, either — they may have plans to use your customers’ credit card information, for instance.

An incorrectly installed or inadequate SSL certificate may also affect your SEO ranking. Google actively penalises websites that are non-secure. And the impact of a rebuke from Google can be catastrophic; if you’re a company that will rely on Google searches for your success, then it could be the difference between success and failure.

Finally, there’s the matter of customer perception. Modern internet users know what to look for from a website. If they see that your website is perhaps not as secure as it could be, then they will be much less likely to make a purchase. Instead, they’ll just jump on a rival’s website.

The Different Types of SSL Certificates

We talked about free v paid SSL certificates below. But (hopefully) choosing a paid option won’t be the only decision you need to make. You’ll also have to think about which type of SSL certificate you need. The main three are Extended Validation, Domain Validated, and Business Validation. We’ll run through the details of each below.

Extended Validation

If you’re looking for the highest dose of security that your website can have, then go for Extended Validation. To get this, you’ll need to go through a robust vetting process. It’s recommended for all companies that need to have an additional layer of security and trust; that is to say, you can take no chances. It’s used by all heavy-hitting companies in the world of finance and other industries with access to sensitive data.

Domain Validated

Many small business owners and private individuals opt for a Domain Validated SSL Certificate, which is less expensive than Extended Validation certificates. To get one, you’ll just need to verify your domain, and you’ll have your certificate within minutes. They offer a good level of protection and work with 99.9% of internet browsers.

Business Validation

Finally, there’s the Business Validation SSL Certificate. It’s a step above Domain Validated but a step below Extended Validation. It’s generally best for e-commerce businesses. To get it, you’ll need to submit relevant documents, and then the issuing body will check that you are who you say you are — that you’re a real honest company who works where you say you’ll work.

As we’ve seen, there are many options available to website owners. The most important thing is that website owners take the time to get their SSL Certificate, regardless of which one they believe is best for them. It’s simply too important!


SaneChoice started in 2004 when a customer was frustrated by their hosting provider at the time. Since that year, SaneChoice has been providing technology services to clients worldwide, with a strong focus on helping small businesses understand technology.

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