SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the name of the protocol used to establish secure communication between a Server and a Client, without data being intercepted, tampered with or falsified.
An SSL certificate therefore protects the data of the users of your website by preventing third parties from intercepting the information being sent (such as passwords, personal details and credit card numbers).
An SSL certificate increases the security and level of trust between the user and the website manager.
The benefits of using an SSL certificate can be summed up as follows:
- protection: anyone who enters data on the pages of the website can do so securely;
- control: no third party can interfere as users browse the website;
- credibility: improves user confidence, while both the bounce rate and the number of orders abandoned in a checkout cart are reduced;
- SEO: search engines favour sites that use the secure HTTPS protocol.
If an SSL Certificate is installed on a website, the website is displayed using the HTTPS connection protocol; the green padlock is also visible in the browser navigation bar.
For an EV SSL Certificate, the company name will be displayed when you click on the padlock icon.
The differences between the three kinds of SSL Certificate (DV, OV, EV) relate to the different validation process. Each one has its own verification levels:
- Domain Validation (DV): verifies ownership or control of the domain by the applicant. A DV SSL Certificate contains the domain's common name;
- Organization Validation (OV): requires the same checks as for the DV Certificate, plus verification of the company that owns the domain. An OV SSL Certificate also contains information about the applicant's organization;
- Extended Validation (EV): In addition to the checks carried out for the OV, for an EV SSL certificate, the CA carries out more in-depth checks, ensuring, for example, that the request comes from a person authorized to represent the organization.
SSL Certificates can be issued in different ways:
- Single Host: valid for a single domain name (e.g. "domainname.extension");
- Wildcard: valid for one domain name (e.g. "domainname.extension") and all of its subdomains, usually in the format *.domainname.extension (e.g. "shop.domainname.extension", "login.domainname.extension", etc.);
- Subject Alternative Name (SAN): you can specify a list of different domain names (e.g. "domainname.extension", "domainname1.extension", "domainname2.extension", etc.).