Joseph has recently launched an eCommerce store and his developer recommend him installing an SSL certificate to secure his website. Joseph is not really sure Why to install an SSL certificate and having several queries regarding to it. Here are those questions raised in Joseph’s mind and most probably into all newly launched eCommerce business owner’s mind :
- Why should I invest in SSL certificate whereas it doesn’t add any functionalities or feature to my eCommerce website?
- SSL certificates costing are from $8 to $1000 per year! Which one is the best SSL certificate for an eCommerce website?
- I found many SSL certificate sellers offering same products at different pricing! how is it possible? Which one should I choose to buy an SSL for my eCommerce website?
- I found there are different types of SSL certificates available in marketing like domain validation, EV (Extended validation), Code sign and wildcard SSL! Which one should I buy?
If you are one like a Joseph, don’t just follow what your developer says. You should first learn more about the necessity and best available SSL certificate types for your eCommerce website. It will not only help you to save money on SSL, but also will help you to understand the importance of it.
In this article, I will answer all these questions with detailed explanation as per my knowledge working with various eCommerce brand since last decade.
Here we start with brief information about SSL certificate:
What is an SSL certificate?
You would certainly have heard of SSL certificate encryption and came across the secured address bars (https) in important websites like government authorities, banks etc. For online shoppers, this recognition ensures that their information is safe and their transactions are secure. SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is a cryptography technique that helps establishing an encrypted connection between the client and the server via a symmetric key. This way, the encryption is able to protect sensitive information while it is being transferred over the web. Sometime, your website may give https error if the SSL certificate is not installed properly.
Google has repeatedly announced the importance SSL certificate for all type of websites be it blog or business. They also clearly mentioned that the SSL is one of those 200+ SEO ranking factors. If you are an eCommerce website and collecting crucial user information like payment details or credit card information, it is highly recommended for you to secure the payment information page with SSL certificates. It will secure your customer’s data from Man-In-Middle Attack.
Google has already announced the positive rankings signal for SSL enabled websites and will only allow eCommerce website to run shopping campaign if their payment process is secure with SSL certificates. This is the reason, your eCommerce website must be secured with proper SSL certificate security.
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There are many important factors affect the success of an eCommerce website and SSL certificate is one of theme. SSL is a widely used feature for ecommerce websites which deal in online transaction with customers and store sensitive information like credit card data, personal information of buyers etc.
There are two primary reasons why ecommerce websites should invest in an SSL Certificate.
- Information security: Obviously enough, every customer and visitor in an ecommerce store will want to keep their information private. While they would be requires to use usernames, passwords, credit card information, addresses, etc and unsecured encryption would mean that the chances of identity theft increases. It is the responsibility of the merchant to provide a completely safe experience for the customers.
- Building trust: Internet security has always been a big concern among users. Every day we used to hear some kind of identity thefts and hacking. Users consequently have become more careful and will only order products and services from a site that offers a degree of protection. As per the recent survey published by CreditCards.com, over half of the CC holder refuse to purchase from the website after breach. SSL Certification is like a trust seal and instills in confidence among buyers.
Know why an ecommerce website needs an SSL Certificate?
As explain, there are various reasons you must install an SSL on your eCommerce website but still here are few facts that you must know before you buy an SSL certificate for your eCommerce website.
- Credit card information: Online merchants will have customers paying through their credit cards and other electronic payment options. It becomes their responsibility that no one else is able to intercept this information exchange and misuse the same. Ecommerce websites requiring credit card information need to process the same through an offline POS machine or charge it manually on the merchant account website. An SSL encryption ensures that the credit card information traverse between customer’s browsers and eCommerce website server is encrypted and must not hacked through Man in Middle attacks.
- 3rd party payment gateway: In case you use a 3rd party payment platforms like PayPal, you won’t directly need an SSL encryption but it does act as a trust seal. Also ensure that the customer is able to see the green address bar or HTTPS when he/she enters the credit card information to be forwarded to the payment gateway.
- Login forms: Websites asking for login forms (usernames and password) require an SSL encryption such that a third party isn’t able to impersonate the user. Also, many of us are in the habit of using the same passwords for several different websites. Keeping a loose string in any one of them exposes all accounts that the user holds. If you are worried about the investment, you may as well use cheap SSL certificates with login forms.
- Running a Shopping Ads: Shopping ads (product listing ads) on Google / Bing plays very important role in generating business for any eCommerce website. If you want to run shopping ads on Google, your website checkout process must be secured with SSL certificate
In-short, if you are eCommerce website deals with sensitive customer’s information, you must have your website secured by an SSL certificate. Moreover, Google has recently announced the positive weight for SSL secured website in their organic search result. This will definitely give some extra traffic boost to your website in Google search result.
Recommended SSL certificate type for eCommerce website:
One of the most popular and recognized SSL certificate type for eCommerce website is EV SSL (extended validation type) certificate which is also know as “green address bar” SSL. It is very well recognized by buyers and as a reason, ecommerce website owners considered this type of SSL over others. Below image depict the green bar SSL of Paypal which clearly shows the company name in green address bar:
If you own a big eCommerce brand and having budget to spend on trust & recognition, you should buy EV SSL certificate. As name suggest, obtaining an extended validation SSL certificate; you will have to follow extended validation process as per certificate authority’s requirement.
If you are a small eCommerce brand with limited budget, you can opt for any SSL certificate. The cheapest option available in market is; domain validation SSL. You can easily buy one at just $8 – $10 per year from any authorized SSL certificate re-sellers.
If you have hosted sub-domains on your eCommerce portal like admin, support or any other purpose, EV SSL certificate will not do the job here. As EV SSL will only secure single domain / with and without WWW version. To secure multiple sub-domain with EV SSL, you will have to buy multi-domain EV SSL certificate and it will cost you very big amount.
Here I recommend buying wildcard SSL certificate instead as it will not only secure your root domain but also will secure all sub-domains.
Big eCommerce Brand and SSL Certificate they are Using:
If you visit any big eCommerce website, you will surely see an SSL certifications installed on checkout process or throughout the website. Here is the best example of such eCommerce website for your reference:
Amazon have installed Symantec corporation SSL certificate. If you click on more information, you will learn about the certificate issue date and other related details. As per the information, this is non EV SSL certificate issued by Symantec corporation.
As mentioned earlier, Target did not installed SSL on entire website but when you go-to checkout process, you will see green bard in browser. They have installed EV SSL certificate issued and verified by Symantec corporation.
WalMart have installed GlobalSign organization validation SSL certificate. Here you can clearly validate the organization name in SSL certificate information which in this case is; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Do you want to buy SSL for your eCommerce website? Here you go!
SSL in all the above cases ensures transparency, requiring little interaction from end users. An SSL encryption is an extremely easy experience for both the users and the administrators. To add to the importance, many governments have in fact made it a rule for ecommerce websites to have customer information accessed to and requested for through secured encryption only. When it concerns the security of an ecommerce store, SSL is a handy solution and instills in the confidence. While it doesn’t require in depth technical knowledge it can at the same time be accessed by all kinds of websites looking to use the internet in a more profitable way.
We strongly recommend having an SSL certificate installed on your eCommerce website but at the same time, we would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do share what you think about SSL security and eCommerce industry.