If you plan to sell goods and services online, you will need some sort of an SSL certificate. SSL certificates serve to identify your Web site and to protect sensitive personal payment information. When your ecommerce website has an SSL certificate, the Internet browsers used by your customers know this. If you don’t have an SSL certificate, the browser sends a warning that encourages the customer not to buy from your site, since it isn’t secure. You can see why an SSL certificate is a must have for anyone engaged in online business dealings.
An SSL certificate can be a shared or dedicated SSL. With a shared SSL certificate, you are sharing with someone else who already has a certificate. A dedicated SSL certificate is one that is issued only to your unique domain name. While it can be beneficial to have a dedicated SSL certificate, many online businesses choose to share an SSL certificate with their Web host.
Types of shared SSL certificates
While there are a few different types of shared SSL certificates, it is worth noting that there are two main types of shared certificates that are often used by Web hosts who offer a shared SSL certificate to clients:
- Wildcard SSL certificate. A Web host may choose to get a wildcard SSL certificate. This allows the host to add subdomains to the certificate. You would be issued a domain address that includes your Web host’s domain name in the address. While this offers some flexibility, it also means that the name of your domain is mixed in with your Web host’s and it might be wholly unique.
- Shopping cart shared secure sockets layer. This is really a standard SSL certificate that your Web host has. Sometimes it is a wild card certificate. In this set up, only your shopping cart can use the SSL certificate. It switches to port 443 – which is Internet-speak for a secure communications channel – when someone makes a transaction from your shopping cart. This is usually a nice compromise, since it allows you to process secure transactions without having to purchase an SSL certificate for the entire Web site.
Shared SSL certificates are generally cheaper than dedicated SSL certificates. When you get them through your ecommerce Web host (usually part of some package), it makes things even easier. The cost of your shared certificate is included in the monthly or yearly fee that you pay to your Web host. Usually, the best web hosting providers will help you install it properly and provides support when needed.
Web hosts that offer shared SSL certificates
A Web host is a company that provides space for personal and business Web sites. All sites are hosted on computers with a lot of memory and a lot of disk space. These computers are known as servers. Web hosts buy these servers and then allow people to host their sites on them. It is possible for you to buy your own server, but unless you are a big company with a lot of money, it is often expensive to get your own server. Instead, you rent space on a server from a Web host, which reduces the initial cost. Many ecommerce Web hosts offer shared SSL certificates that can be used to secure your transactions. Some of our recommendations for Web hosts that offer shared SSL certificates include:
- BlueHost: This is a company that has been offering hosting services since 1996. There are a number of packages for businesses and individuals starting from $6.95 per month, or cheaper if you have a BlueHost coupon code, for individual sites. Shared secure sockets layer certificates are available in ecommerce Web hosting packages.
- Host Monster: Another company that has been around since 1996 is Host Monster. Host Monster specializes in redundancy and back up, and offers SSL certificates as part of its hosting packages. Prices usually start at $6.95 per month, but specials frequently offer discounts from that. Business sites start higher.
- IX Web Hosting: This company provides hosting from its own data center; many Web hosts buy servers (or even rent them) from other data centers. Web hosting packages start from $3.95 and go up, depending on what you want included (business Web sites cost a little more). SSL certificates are available.
- LunarPages: Offers a number of hosting packages, including small business hosting that starts at $21.95 per month. (Individual hosting starts at $4.95 per month.) You can even get dedicated servers from LunarPages. There is also a resell option that allows you to rent out some of the space you are getting from LunarPages.
Shop around and choose a Web host that fits your needs. Make sure you get what you need in a Web host by checking prices, features and types of shared SSL certificates offered.