Owing to the rapid rise of hacking attempts and fraudulent activities on each passing day, all the businesses and website owners are concerned in protecting their websites against cyber threats and vulnerabilities. Inorder, to make the web a safer place by ensuring security, privacy and data integrity, search engines like Google, encourages website owners to use HTTPS protocols in the URL, which implies that the URLs are secured by an SSL certificate. In this article let’s take a look on, What is SSL? Why SSL is important for a website? Different forms of SSL and how they differ? Which one to choose among them?
What Is An SSL Certificate?
In simple words, SSL acts as a powerful weapon for web security which assures a protection for website owners to protect themselves and their users. For instance, when you are carrying out a bank transaction, the information you send online, pass through different systems to reach the destination server. Hence, the confidential information such as user name, password etc will be visible to the systems that are in between yours and the server. To prevent such action, SSL certificate is used. It encrypts the confidential information that are sent online and make the information available in a readable format only to the intended recipient to whom you are sending information. Google indicates the websites that have adopted SSL certificate by displaying “https” letters in the URL in green color. This visually reassures the visitors that their connection to the particular website is trusted and their confidential information will be kept secured.
Are SSL Certificates Mandatory For A Website?
With no doubt, the answer to this question should be “yes”. It is an irresistible out and out necessity in the present scenario to safeguard your website from the emerging creativity of cybercriminals. You can reap the following benefits by adopting a SSL certificate to your website.
- Assured data protection as every bit of information is encrypted
- Promises your identity with proper authentication
- Increased authority of the website and boosts search engine ranking
- Improved customer trust
- Websites comply to PCI/DSS standards
Now, have you decided to adopt an SSL certificate for your website? You can contact your web hosting providers to check if they offer SSL certificates. And now, you have to choose between the two forms of SSL certificate for your website. Read further to know about the different forms of SSL certificates.
Forms Of SSL Certificates
SSL certificates are of two forms Free SSL Certificates and Paid SSL Certificates.
As the name implies, Free SSL certificates are available free of costs and they do not come with any support or warranty. Free SSL certificates are of two types. First one is, self-signed certificates which are not signed by any certificate authority. The other one is signed by a certificate authority.
Paid SSL certificates is available on payment and signed by a trustworthy certificate authority (CA). They can be purchased directly from the Certificate Authority’s website or from any retailers.
Free SSL Vs Paid SSL
Even though free SSL and paid SSL possess diverse features, the level of encryption provided by both the certificates are equal. Let’s take a look on the differences between free SSL and paid SSL.
Free SSL offers Domain Validation (DV) option in which only one domain can be secured. This provides only a basic level of authentication by authenticating only the domain’s ownership and no effort is made to verify who the domain owner is.
Paid SSL mandatorily verifies the identity of the website owner before issuing the certificate. It additionally includes Extended Validation (EV) and Organization Validation (OV) certificates, which are issued by the certificate authority after a thorough verification of the business.
Validation of Free SSL certificate is limited to a shorter period of 30-90 days, paving a way for frequent renewal. Whereas Paid SSL certificate is offered for a period of 1 or 2 years which enables your online business to stay secured for a long time and website proprietor need not worry about the frequent renewals.
Free SSL lacks customer trust as it is not issued by a reputable certificate authority. Search engines indicate the websites that have adopted OV and EV certificates by displaying “https” letters in the URL in green color. This visually reassures the visitors that their connection to the particular website is trusted and their confidential information will be kept secured.
Guaranteed Customer Support
Paid SSLs issued by Certified Authorities (CA) and retailers guarantee round the clock prompt customer support via email or call or chat. Free SSLs cannot afford to offer such a prompt support and the website owners have to surf the web to find an optimal solution for an issue.
If anything goes wrong in your website such as data breach or hacks, when equipped with Free SSL, there is no option to avail damage coverage. This is not in the case of Paid SSLs where you get an insurance coverage for the incurred loss. The coverage amount depends on the price of your SSL. High Paid SSLs are likely to get an ample warranty.
How To Choose The Right SSL For Your Business?
Having known the features of both the SSLs, it is important to choose the right form of SSL considering your website and business requirements. If you own a small websites or blogs you can opt for Free SSLs as they come with lot of constraints. If you own a business website or e-commerce website which involves confidential information like account number, account passwords, undoubtedly you have to opt Paid SSLs to gain the customer trust and accelerate the conversion rates. Though with Paid SSLs you have to spend a bit upfront, you will surely reap the benefits on time.
FDC Servers has a helpful tool called the Looking Glass for anyone to speed test and ping our network.
FDC Looking Glass avalible at http://lg.fdcservers.net/ offers the following options for your use:
A location selector drop down based utility that will show your IP and allow you to:
You can choose IPV4 or IPv6 for each of the 3 functions above.
Speed Test with File Downloads
Looking Glass has a File download speed test which will allow you to choose 3 sizes of (100 MB, 1 GB and 10 GB) test files to download from :
- North American datacenter locations
- European datacenter locations
All download locations are part of our global network of datacenters which can be seen in detail here.
Hackers aren’t usually willing to enter into a prolonged battle in order to access a particular site. They target weak points and tend to move on if they don’t find any major security holes. This means you can effectively block over 99 percent of all attacks just by improving basic WordPress security. A recent survey showed four main approaches that hackers use to access WordPress Sites:
• WordPress Hosting platform vulnerabilities (41 percent)
• WordPress themes (29 percent)
• Plugin security issues (22 percent)
• Password weaknesses (8 percent)
Let’s look at how we can address these weak points.
1. Choose a secure hosting environment
Just about every host will offer at least minimal security, but since 41 percent of attacks are caused by security vulnerabilities at the hosting end, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality company. Some specifics to look for include:
• A host that is optimized for WordPress, including a firewall optimized for WordPress
• A host that uses the latest stable versions of applications on their servers, specifically MySQL and PHP
• A host with state of the art malware scanning
• A host with Reliable backup and recovery plus account isolation. This ensures that if one site is attacked the effects won’t spread to all other sites on the same server.
2. Activate WordPress security keys
Security keys improve the encryption of data stored in cookies and add random elements to passwords to make them tougher to crack. Modifying the security keys periodically will help keep your site secure. Changing the keys also kicks out everyone who is logged in, a useful trick if you spot suspicious activity.
3. Update regularly
WordPress is regularly updated to address security risks and patch vulnerabilities. It is important to update your themes and plugins continually to make sure that they take advantage of the latest security changes.
The other piece of the update process, one that is often ignored, is removing inactive plugins and themes. These old files are still accessible and are often more vulnerable to hackers because they aren’t being kept up to date.
4. Backup regularly
Host providers make regular backups, but it is a good practice to make your backups whenever you make changes to your site. If you need to recover from an attack without losing time or data, you’ll understand how valuable backups can be.
5. Install and maintain WordPress security plugins
There are many free and paid options that help users upgrade the security of their WordPress site. These are some of our favorites.
• IThemes Security – uses database monitoring, strong user credentials, and brute force protection to prevent several common WordPress attacks. The basic plugin is free, or for a one-time purchase of $80 you can get two pro licenses with additional security measures.
• Wordfence Security – A free plugin that scans server side source code for infections and vulnerabilities then takes action to secure and speed up your site.
• BulletProof Security – Coordinates multiple WordPress security settings into a single area to make monitoring and adjusting easier. In some cases, it takes only one click to set up a secure site though you have options to customize as well.
• BruteProtect – This free plugin tracks failed login attempts across its network of users and bans IP addresses who make too many failed attempts in a given period. This prevents against botnets infiltrating and crashing your site.
Implementing these WordPress security protocols will ensure that your data is secure. These are some simple installs that will give peace of mind to you an your team.