Your SSL certificate should instill trust in your end user, which is exactly why it should be considered an important investment when developing your website. Although there may be a large variety of SSL certificate providers out there, ranging in price from pennies to hundreds of dollars, it's wise to remember that you get what you pay for. If you are running a website that will be storing sensitive information - especially private information belonging to your end user - such as financial information, social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, usernames, and passwords, you would be wise to set aside some cash and invest with a well known Certificate Authority.
SSL certificates are designed to be installed by a web developer onto an organization's server with the primary purpose of encrypting sensitive information such as credit card transactions, logins, user details and data transfer. The SSL certificate, once installed, will activate the padlock and HTTPS functionalities in the end user's web browser, allowing for secure transfer of all data on that website.
The end user's device - be it a mobile phone, tablet or PC - will have come with a collection of root certificates already installed from trusted Certificate Authorities. The SSL certificate installed on your server when the user visits your site must match one of the pre-installed root certificates on the end user's device, or else the user will be met by an assortment of pop up warnings stating that your website does not have valid certificates, and is not a trusted site.
Not having a valid certificate can result in low traffic, poor conversions, low Google rankings and a lower level of protection when securing the data of your organization and the privacy of your end users.
SSL Certificates can range in price drastically, even when they are downloaded from a trusted Certificate Authority. GoDaddy, a trusted Certificate Authority, offers SSL certificates as low as $1 USD per month, while an SSL certificate from GlobalSign may cost $369 USD per year or much, much more.
The price of the SSL certificate can greatly depend on the method of deployment. A simple SSL certificate, which is a small data file that is downloaded and installed on the organization's server, will cost the lowest price, while security tokens can typically be purchased in packages and often carry a slightly higher cost. Often times security solutions for enterprises can carry much larger fees, as they will require a customized subscription including SSL certificates and other server security solutions.
If your website is collecting sensitive financial and credit-related information such as credit cards, banking information, social security numbers and dates of birth, the best solution can be a customized security plan involving complicated server solutions. Discussing your options with an account manager at a Certificate Authority would be the best choice.
If your website is simple, however, and you are looking to simply protect your organization's data in small amounts, or minimal user login and password information, purchasing a downloadable SSL certificate from a less expensive Certificate Authority is probably the most effective solution for your site, as it is both secure and low-cost.
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