The Internet as we know it wouldn’t exist without the ability to securely transmit data between client computers and the remote servers that host websites. In order for websites to conduct financial transactions and allow for secure logins without malicious hackers intercepting communications in transit, reliably unbreakable encryption is a must. The most important component in any encryption scheme is an SSL certificate, which identifies websites to web users so that secure communications can occur. If you plan on administering a site of your own, an SSL certificate is a must nowadays especially if you are selling something online.
How SSL Works
Ordinarily, the HTTP protocol used to send and receive data online isn’t encrypted. That means that anyone eavesdropping anywhere along the path from sender to receiver can capture important information such as login user names and passwords. To prevent this from happening, you need a way to make those transmissions unreadable by third parties. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a protocol that jumbles a message so that it appears to be nonsensical gibberish unless you have a key that can unscramble it. SSL uses public key cryptography to convert plain text messages into a random array of characters.
The Role of Certificates
Encryption only protects web communications if you can trust the entity on the other end. As a result, it’s necessary to rely on a third party to assure visitors that the certificate they’re being asked to accept as valid really comes from the advertised entity. Companies known as Certificate Authorities make sure that only trustworthy companies are issued SSL certificates to encrypt transactions. Without these certificates, it’s unlikely that e-commerce as we know it would exist. While the technology behind SSL and public key cryptography is too complicated to get into here, the system is nearly infallible when implemented properly.
Different Kinds of SSL Certificates
As you might have guessed, not all SSL certificates are the same. There are several different kinds of SSL certificates designed to be used in various scenarios. SSL certificates come in three basic flavors: Shared, Wildcard and Dedicated. A Shared SSL certificate is meant for shared hosting scenarios. A Wildcard SSL certificate can encrypt multiple subdomains, allowing users to secure various areas of a website. Dedicated certificates are issued for specific root domains with a dedicated IP address. In addition, Dedicated certificates typically offer Extended Validation, which implies far more stringent standards used to verify the identities of entities.
Certificate Options At Web Hosting Canada
Web Hosting Canada has three main kinds of certificates available for purchase. The first and most basic is a RapidSSL certificate from GeoTrust. Available for a mere C$2.91 per month, it’s the most cost-effective way to get Domain Validation for small businesses and niche sites. It boasts 256-bit encryption, support for a single subdomain and free installation. It’s also compatible with up to 99% of all browsers currently in use today. Long story short, it’s probably your best bet if you’re running a fairly basic e-commerce storefront or a site that requires secure user logins.
The second type of SSL certificate offered by Web Hosting Canada is the Comodo Wildcard, whose primary advantage is the fact that it supports an unlimited number of subdomains. Starting at C$9.99 per month, it’s an Organization Validation certificate that boasts the same rock-solid 256-bit encryption that backs up the rest of the certificates you can purchase from Web Hosting Canada. It provides a trust seal, a $10,000 limited warranty to protect vendors against financial fraud and dedicated IP address support for $30 per year. In addition, you’ll receive 24/7 technical support with your purchase of a Comodo Wildcard SSL certificate.
Lastly, there’s the Extended Validation certificate from Comodo. While it’s a pricier option starting at a minimum of C$24.99 per month, it’s a far more robust and powerful way to demonstrate authority and convey trust to consumers. Featuring 256-bit encryption and a dynamic site seal, the Extended Validation certificate brings with it a $250,000 warranty as well as dedicated IP address support for an additional C$30 per year. Intended for use with busy, high-traffic e-commerce stores, an Extended Validation SSL certificate from Comodo gives website owners the serious protection they need when running a serious business on the web.
Buying the Right Certificate for You
The reputation of the Certificate Authority in question is an important consideration when choosing an SSL certificate. Fortunately, both GeoTrust and Comodo are some of the most respected Certificate Authorities on the market. If you need basic coverage, RapidSSL is your best best. For high-traffic sites that process many daily transactions, an Extended Validation certificate is the right choice. If support for multiple subdomains is important, the Wildcard certificate is a prudent call. No matter which certificate you choose, any of Web Hosting Canada‘s great options deliver the privacy, message integrity and authentication capabilities you’ll need.