1. What is SSL? Why do I need an SSL certificate for my website?

5 Most Common SSL Questions

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a digital encryption file that protects information sent from a browser to a server. These certificates play a vital role in keeping consumer information like credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, email content, and more, safe from hackers and other unwanted eyes. If you plan on using your site for collecting any user information, an SSL certificate is an absolute necessity. If you’re running a site that depends on getting a customer transact with you, then a more premium solution like an EV certificate is highly recommended, since it activates further trust indicators like the green address bar and comes with a clickable site seal.

2. What is the difference between the types of SSL certificates?

There are three different types of SSL certificates: Domain Validated (DV), Organization Validated (OV), and Extended Validation (EV). All of these certificates encrypt, but the main difference is in how much trust they add to a website. DV certificates can be issued in mere minutes, with the Certificate Authority (CA) just needing to validate that the customer owns the domain they wish to secure. Both OV and EV certificates require a more thorough vetting, but these certificates enable a number of different trust icons within a browser and on a website to ensure online visitors that it is safe to make purchases and/or share information. The most important and recognized trust indicator is the green address bar, which only comes with EV SSL certificates.

A standard DV, OV, and EV certificate can protect one domain (both www and non-www if the certificate is generated as a “www.domain.com”). However, there are multi-domain certificates available which can secure multiple domains on just a single cert, as their name suggests. Depending on the brand of certificate, a multidomain solution can secure up to 101 total domains.

There are also Wildcard SSL certificates available. These certificates secure one main domain (www.domain.com) along with an unlimited amount of subdomains (mail.domain.com, etc.domain.com, subdomain.domain.com, etc.).

3. How long does the validation process take for OV and EV certificates?

Typically, the validation process for OV and EV certificates takes between 2-5 business days. OV certificates don’t require as much vetting as EV certificates, but they also don’t come with the green address bar. And if you can qualify for an OV certificate, you can probably qualify for an EV certificate as well – so it’s recommended that you opt for the premium EV option, as the green address bar offers tremendous bang for your buck.

A lot of the validation process depends on customer response times and it’s better to have the documents you need ready to go when the Certificate Authority (CA) contacts you, to make the process move as quickly and smoothly as possible.

4. What is a CSR? How do I generate my CSR?

The CSR (Certificate Signing Request) is a formal request from your server to the Certificate Authority directly. This is basically a “letter” requesting the certificate. It is a string of text generated from your server. This string of text is required to obtain an SSL certificate and provided to the Certificate Authority during the generation process. In order to generate a CSR, you will need to know what kind of server software you are running. If you do not know what kind of server software you are running, you should inquire with your hosting provider.

5. What is your relationship to the Certificate Authorities?

HostAlamo.com is an authorized reseller of SSL certificates such as Symantec (formally VeriSign), Thawte, GeoTrust, RapidSSL, Certum, and Comodo. We are fully authorized to sell their certificates and the SSL certs that you purchase from us are the exact same ones you would get from purchasing direct, but at a much more affordable price.