An SSL or Secure Sockets Layer certificate is vital for people who own online businesses that require exchange of information for customers to purchase goods or services. It provides them protection from having their details stolen by hackers or social engineers at the point of transferring data to another server. This happens when the certificate encrypts data into a set of characters that only the other end of the data line would understand, thus providing confidence to customers that it is safe to make transactions with these trusted sites online.
Since owning this kind of certificate entails safety, which is a plus factor for clients to patronize and buy items and other sold stuff, it may actually cost money to own one. This is being sold by Certificate Authorities that create your SSL certificate with details about the name of your business, the IP address involved, and other identity markers from the owner of the company using the certificate. This is done to assure that other people online would be confident enough that the owner of the SSL credentials are verified genuine and credible. Nevertheless, there are also free SSL certificates that can be obtained, which could be a bang for your buck, especially when you are just starting out.
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Free SSL Certificates
The most common ways of getting a free SSL certificate is by trying VeriSign’s free SSL trial (see – VeriSign SSL review). However, most of these available certificates found online can only be used in a 30 or 60-day trial period, which can sometimes be a drag, especially if you have already experienced the feeling of customers flocking into your small online business. However, there are ways to get free SSL certificates, without compromising quality and assuring you safety of use.
- Webhosting services: Most webhosting services that serve online businesses have their own shared SSL certificates available for use, or even Wildcard certificates that will all get sub domains covered for protection. These certificates are actually free of charge, and may actually be included on your monthly bill. However, one setback that this option has is that you cannot move your SSL certificate to another company and it will be revoked in the process.
- Online communities: There are online communities out there that offer free SSL certificates for use, once you become subscribed or registered to be a part of their group. They would only depend on donations coming from community members to keep the certificate useful. A drawback on this kind of SSL certificate is that it is limited when it comes to trustworthiness and credibility, which may be an issue on some browsers. In fact, most online shoppers are convenient on seeing TSL 1.2 or SSL 3.3 with 128-bit encryption level being used as a certificate, even utilizing extended validation functions. Honestly, we don’t suggest you go this route. You’re putting your website and visitors at risk.
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Using Free SSL Certificates
One simple principle in life that you should remember is that everything is worth the price. Although most people have tried using free SSL certificates for just getting by with security issues, many others wished that they seriously invested on this security tool, early on. In fact, you will likely get only 56-bit security, rather than the standard 128-bit encryption level that most customers are looking for, although there are those free SSL certificate providers that are offering services as notable as being done by major Certificate Authorities. Full user and owner confidence can only be achieved when using services that are paid, trusted, and recognized. Nevertheless, beginning with a free SSL certificate is good for the sake of experience.
It has to be admitted that there are many small businesses, especially first timers, that use free SSL certificates for the sake of handling various domains, and even sub domains. What they usually do is start out with the free ones in order to bring in money while the eCommerce business is still small. From there, when things become better, they just purchase better certificates to improve customer confidence and transaction flow. Despite of the reputation however, others still try it by using free trial periods to make sure. After all, these months spent are free money for other investments, which is quite smart actually.
As you purchase an SSL certificate for your online business, consider things carefully, and then make the decision. By trying free certificates, you can gauge what you really need for your business, which saves you time, money, and effort. Although free SSL certificates are tempting to use, customers are much more confident if they see the level of security that they really need, which is not usually met by these free items. After all, spending a few bucks for your security, comfort, and safety is better than compromising your situation and even your business, because you have yielded to a free service.