What is SSL?
SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer, an encryption technology that was created by Netscape. SSL creates an encrypted connection between your web server and your visitors' web browser allowing for private information to be transmitted without the problems of eavesdropping, data tampering, or message forgery.
To enable SSL on a website, you will need to get an SSL Certificate that identifies you and install it on the server. The use of an SSL certificate on a website is usually indicated by a padlock icon in web browsers but it can also be indicated by a green address bar. Once you have done the SSL install, you can access a site securely by changing the URL from http:// to https://. When an SSL certificate is installed on a website, you can be sure that the information you enter (contact or credit card information), is secured and only seen by the organization that owns the website.
Why do I need SSL?
If you are transmitting sensitive information on a web site, such as credit card numbers or personal information, you need to secure it with SSL encryption. It is possible for every piece of data to be seen by others unless it is secured by an SSL certificate.
Your customers won't trust your web site without an SSL certificate. According to Gartner Research, nearly 70 percent of online shoppers have terminated an online order because they did not "trust" the transaction. In those cases, 64 percent indicated that the presence of a trust mark would have likely prevented the termination. An SSL certificate and a site seal could stop people from abandoning your website and that means more money for you.
What is a certificate authority (CA)?
A certificate authority is an entity which issues digital certificates to organizations or people after validating them. Certification authorities have to keep detailed records of what has been issued and the information used to issue it, and are audited regularly to make sure that they are following defined procedures. Every certification authority provides a Certification Practice Statement (CPS) that defines the procedures that will be used to verify applications. There are many commercial CAs that charge for their services (VeriSign). Institutions and governments may have their own CAs, and there are also free Certificate Authorities.
What is HTTPS?
Short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, HTTPS is a protocol which uses HTTP on a connection encrypted by transport-layer security. HTTPS is used to protect transmitted data from eavesdropping. It is the default protocol for conducting financial transactions on the web, and can protect a website's users from censorship by a government or an ISP.
Why do I only have a padlock for my website while some have their company name in theirs?
The only difference between an "EV" and a regular SSL certificate is how it makes the address bar appear. There is no additional functionality of an "EV" certificate over another SSL certificate.