Why do I need an SSL certificate?


A Web Server Certificate, or Server ID, is a digital document containing unique codes that identify the holder of the certificate to the person accessing the site.  On the Internet, website visitors usually have no reliable way to identify who owns the online store that they are doing business with.  When customers visit a virtual store to make the purchase, their biggest concern is whom they will be paying and if the payment is conducted in a secure way.  This is why you need SSL certificates to secure your server.

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol originally developed by Netscape.  It has become the universal standard on the Web for authenticating websites to Web browser users and for encrypting communications between browser users and web servers.  SSL is built into all major browsers and web servers, which means no matter where the protocol is implemented, the same implementation is operated.  After a digital certificate, or Server ID, is installed, SSL capabilities are then enabled.

A Web Server Certificate is issued by a trusted third party called a Certification Authority (CA).  CA's must audit the identity of the people or organizations to whom they issue certificates.  Once the CA establishes an organization's identity, it issues a certificate that contains the organization's public key and signs it with the CA's private Key.  SSL certificates hold information about web servers, the owners of the certificates, the server to which the certificate was sold, when it was sold and when it expires.  By checking the details of the certificate, your customers can assure themselves that the website they are dealing with is in fact the website they want to be dealing with.  They also know that their credit card or personal details cannot be intercepted by a third party on the Internet.

Who needs SSL?

Everyone.  If your website has online ordering facilities and you want to assure customers that they are not exposed to any of the risks associated with sending data over the Internet, you should apply for an SSL certificate.  Even if your site isn't doing Ecommerce (or you are using PayPal to handle payment), private information is still being sent between you and your site.  Every time you connect via WiFi every person that is connected with you can see information you send across the internet if they know what they are doing...and it isn't that hard.

What is SSL?

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a commonly-used protocol for managing the security of a message transmission on the Internet.

Can I use an existing SSL certificate?

The recommended method is for BirdDog to issue the request and then have a new certificate issued.  However, to use an existing SSL certificate from a different (non BirdDog) web server, you must export the certificate from the certificate manager on your existing web server and email to your project contact.

Do I need an SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates give a website the ability to communicate securely with its web customers.  Without a certificate, any information sent to a website can be intercepted and viewed by anyone.