What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL is an acronym for Secure Socket Layer, which is an awfully technical term for most Internet users. The ‘certificate’ is not a diploma or piece of paper. It is digital code which gets installed on your website server by your programmer, web developer or Webmaster. The code provides a layer of security for private transactions through your website. These transactions can be financial or the transfer of data requiring a secure connection, such as confidential tax prep information. In essence the SSL allows for a private conversation between the website user and the website owner.
Do I need an SSL Certificate?
Yes, if you are transferring confidential information, such as e-commerce payment processing or if your website allows for the transfer private, personal, confidential information.
How do I acquire an SSL Certificate?
An SSL can be easily purchased through most hosting companies. There is an annual fee, which can range from approximately $35 – $100. There may also be a one-time installation fee of $25 or more, but this is waived by some hosting companies if they are also hosting your website.
How do I install my SSL Certificate?
The hosting company can do this, or you can have them send you the ‘certificate code’ and have your programmer, web developer or webmaster insert this code into the website code.
How do I know that a site has an SSL installed?
Most websites promote that their site is secure by posting an icon such as that at the top of this article.
You can also check the website address (URL). If it begins with https the site has a security certificate installed. If the domain name begins with http (without the ‘s’) the page you are on is lacking a security certificate. When transferring confidential information on the Internet (such as making a purchase) always check the website address in the address bar for the https.
More on Internet Security.
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If you are selling products from your website and using PayPal as the checkout payment method you may have received a notice with this warning.
“We recently announced several security upgrades planned for this year, some of which may require you to make changes to your integration. You’re receiving this email because we’ve identified areas of your integration that may need to be upgraded. What you’re about to read is very technical in nature – we understand that. Please contact the parties responsible for your PayPal integration, or your third party vendor (for example, shopping cart provider, and so on) to review this email. They’re best positioned to help you make the changes outlined in this email and in the 2016 Merchant Security Roadmap Microsite.”
Most of the updates that PayPal is implementing relate to increasing security on your website to insure your site is secure for financial transactions. The information and requirements are highly technical in nature and PayPal suggests you take the following first step:
“Consult with someone who understands your integration. We encourage you to consult with the parties that set up your integration, which could be a consultant or third party shopping cart. You may also need to find someone who can assist with making your integration changes.”
Areas that may require attention include:
It’s important to have any required changes in place by the specific event “Act by” date!
As an example, with “SSL Certificate Upgrade to SHA-256”:
To avoid any disruption of service, you must verify that your systems are ready for this change now.
• Testing will occur between June 17 and September 30, 2016.
• Full deployment will happen after September 30, 2016.
PayPal is one of the most popular payment gateways on the Internet and to meet the need for greater e-commerce security they now require that merchants install an SSL Certificate on their websites. Once the code is installed your domain name will change from “http//www…….” to “https//www…….” Most hosting companies will sell you the SSL. Some hosting companies will also do the code installation at a small fee and sometimes for free. To avoid any loss of service you must verify with PayPal by 6-30-16 that your site is ready with the necessary SSL Certificate installed and configured. (more…)