Website security is so important. If you don’t take the proper steps to ensure your site’s safety, it could result in data theft for you and your users alike, as well as your website being brought offline and rendered unusable. Not. Good.
But where the heck do you begin when it comes to website security? From the outset, it can seem like a hefty task with an oftentimes hefty price task. There are many steps to attaining robust website security. Luckily, there is one area you can afford to go cheap on: SSL certificates.
Whether you choose a cheap wildcard SSL or a low-priced multi-domain SSL, going cheap is not likely to sacrifice quality. Read on to find out more.
All SSL certificates are created equal
Unlike other products in life, when you pay more for an SSL, you’re not paying for better quality. There isn’t some artisanal, bespoke SSL certificate created from more high-quality digital materials. Quite the opposite, in fact. Most modern SSL certificates on the market today offer the same level of encryption strength: 256-bit encryption. This is the case no matter how cheap or expensive your SSL may be.
What exactly does that mean? For the uninitiated, when you install an SSL on your site’s server, it ensures that anyone accessing your website through a client like a web browser has an encrypted connection. In the most simplified terms, this means that all data communicated is rendered unreadable to unintended recipients, which is basically anyone without access to the keys that encrypt (lock) and decrypt (unlock) these communications. These keys are shared through a process called the SSL handshake.
So what exactly does the 256-bit refer to when it comes to encryption? Basically, it refers to the length of the key that locks communications from prying eyes. The longer the key, the harder it is to crack. Currently 256-bit encryption is impossible to break by brute force, even by the world’s most powerful computers.
That said, an SSL certificate is only as strong as your server settings. So make sure your server is set to allow for 256-bit encryption if you want to get the most out of your SSL certificate.
Don’t get your SSL from just anywhere
Although SSL certificates are essentially the same, that doesn’t mean you should get yours from just anywhere. The issuing Certificate Authority needs to be trusted by major web browsers and tech companies if you want your website to work. If a CA isn’t trusted, then your SSL is as good as useless. And of course, there are other factors to consider. You want to choose a store with good customer service, that provides you with support when you need it and good instructional content (SSL certificates can be tricky for the uninitiated, after all). So, there are still many factors one should consider before buying an SSL. Pric isn’t one of them.
Website security can be confusing and perhaps even pricey, depending on what you need. Fortunately, SSL is one key area of web security that you can depend on to be affordable without sacrificing quality.