- Secure socket layer (SSL) certificates are used to protect personal information and other sensitive data transmitted through the Internet. SSL certificates are commonly associated with e-commerce sites, which handle credit cards and other personal data. Websites with an SSL certificate have valid SSL security, and can protect their users from malicious data gathering. In order to obtain one of these certificates, websites must meet several requirements.
Dedicated Host Server
- SSL certificates are given only to websites hosted on their own dedicated servers. Many websites are hosted on what are called shared hosts--servers which are home to several different websites. These are much less secure than dedicated hosting, and many SSL certificate issuers do not consider them adequate to receive certification. Sites already hosted on a shared server can often be moved to a dedicated one, but owners usually need to pay a transfer fee and higher monthly hosting costs.
- Sites must also have their own domain name, used by no other websites. A blog hosted on Wordpress or a site hosted on a free hosting service would not qualify for a certificate. These shared domains are more likely to fall prey to fraudulent registration practices. Site owners who need to register multiple sub-domains under their dedicated domain may choose to purchase a wildcard certificate for this purpose.
- A private domain name isn't enough to qualify for an SSL certificate. Website owners must also make sure that domain has its own dedicated IP address. This number designates the site's location on the Web, to which the certificate then points. Dynamic IP addresses are more common and less expensive, but also much less secure. A dedicated IP can help sites resist fraud by identifying a single location with the certificate.
Personal and Company Information
- In addition to requirements for the website, most SSL certificate issuers also need information about the purchaser and the company associated with the site. At a minimum, sites are likely to require the company name and the current address. However, website owners may also need to supply additional information, such as legal documents about the company and data about the company owner.