You may have come across the term SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, whilst surfing the Internet. And you’ve probably seen a little yellow or green lock in the address bar, when shopping online or signing into one of your online accounts. But what is it for and why do you need it?

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate (Secure Socket Layer), also called a Digital Certificate, ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remains private and secure. It does this by creating a secure link between the website and visitors’ browsers that prevents hackers from being able to steal private information such as credit card numbers, names, addresses and passwords.

Why do you need an SSL Certificate?

If you sell products or services on your website and accept credit cards payments, you need an SSL Certificate to ensure that no-one can steal that data. Even if you don’t sell online, but offer online accounts where people have to login, it’s advisable to have an SSL Certificate installed on your server. This will prevent sensitive data being hijacked, creating an encrypted connection between your web server and your visitors’ browsers.

Secure connections become very important when you’re gathering information from your site’s visitors through a web form. By placing the form in a secure directory, the form data will be encrypted, protecting the data and your visitors’ personal information.

SSL also provides peace of mind to web site visitors. When an SSL-enabled connection is established in a web browser, the user will see a lock icon in their browser, indicating that any data transferred between the web site and their browser is secure. Most web users demand this protection when shopping online or submitting sensitive personal data.

Why is an SSL Certificate recommended?

With booming online sales and the proliferation of online services, credit card fraud and identity theft are on the rise. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and many will not submit their private details on the web unless they know that the information they provide is securely transmitted and not accessible for hackers to access.

How many domains can I secure with an SSL Certificate?

The majority of SSL Certificates will only secure one domain or sub-domain. For example, an SSL issued to will not secure the whole of, rather just the sub-domain.

You can of course get an SSL certificate to secure the whole domain and there are even special certificates available to secure multi-domains. These certificates are known as wildcards.

What types of encryption are available?

There are different types of encryption available, some as low as 40 bits and ranging up to 256 bits. These determine the strength of the security between the browser and the server. The higher the encryption, the harder it is for a hacker to decode.

Not sure which SSL certificate is right for you?

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