A Secure Sockets Layer certificate creates a secure connection between your website server and your visitor’s web browser. An SSL connection keeps transferred data secure, increases your Google rankings, enhances visitor trust and improves conversion rates. Certificate Authorities issue trusted certificates that you install on your website server. Most web hosting companies will assist in installing your SSL certificate. But which type of SSL certificate is best for your business?

Do you offer online transactions?

The best way to answer this question is to ask yourself about the type of website your small business is running. For instance, do you accept online purchases? If the answer is no, then you can use one of the free global certificates. Let’s Encrypt offers free Domain Validation certificates. A nonprofit company, Let’s Encrypt relies on donations and sponsors (such as Mozilla, Cisco, Google, Facebook, and Shopify) to fund their operations. A Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate makes it easy for you to offer a secure website to your visitors. You will need to renew the certificate every 90 days, but the process is straightforward and automated. Again, your web host should do this for you.

Choose a paid SSL certificate

If you sell your products and services online and need a secure connection, then one of the paid certificates may be the better option. Comodo, one of the leading Certificate Authorities, offers industry standard 2048-bit digital signatures, a 30-day money back guarantee, and a $250,000 warranty (covers you against loss of money due to a fraudulent charge on your credit card).  Comodo also provides an SSL Management Tool that automates the installation of the SSL Certificate.

They also offer free, Extended Validation (EV), wildcard, and Unified Communications (UCC) SSL certificates. Their free offering is like the Let’s Encrypt certificate.  The EV certificate displays your company name in the green web browser address bar (to see the difference, examine the address bar when visiting the Let’s Encrypt and Comodo websites). It provides visitors with the highest visual assurance available. The wildcard certificate allows you to use the same certificate across multiple domains and web servers. The UCC certificate incorporates with your Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office Communications servers. The USS certificate also works across multiple domains and servers. You can secure your whole online office with the UCC SSL certificate.

Web hosts will help

Most web hosting providers are also resellers of SSL certificates. They will install the SSL certificate for you. A typical SSL Certificate costs around $100-$150 per year.

The type of website your small business runs will dictate the best type of SSL certificate for your needs. When selecting an SSL certificate, think about where you see your business in five to ten years. Will your SSL requirements change? It may be best to select a company that offers different types of SSL certificates. For instance, you may start with a free SSL certificate and then upgrade to an EV or UCC certificate as your business grows. Select the best type of certificate for your business and increase the level of trust between your website and your online customers.

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