SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol (over port 443) and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins.
An organization needs to install the SSL Certificate onto its web server to initiate secure sessions with browsers. Once installed, it is possible to connect to the website over https://www.domain.com, as this tells the server to establish a secure connection with the browser. Once a secure connection is established, all web traffic between the web server and the web browser will be secure. Browsers tell visitors a website is SSL secure via several visible trust indicators.
The domain names that are secured and the visible indicators presented to your visitors depending on the type of SSL Certificate you purchuse. The type of certificate also determines the differing levels of vetting the organization will need to go through. The information below will help you decide on which SSL Certificate best suits your needs.
This is the most common type of SSL and secures a single Fully Qualified Domain Name, activating the Pad Lock in the visitor's browser. When issued on www.domain.com this certificate will secure content on both domain.com and www.domain.com. Otherwise it only secures content for the domain name it was issued on, such as domain.com, blog.domain.com or store.domain.com.
A Wild Card SSL secures a single Fully Qualified Domain Name and a unlimited number of subdomains using a single SSL Certificate issued to *.domain.com, activating the Pad Lock in the browser. This certificate can be used to secure domain.com, www.domain.com, store.domain.com, blog.domain.com, etc...
This certificate secures a single Fully Qualified Domain Name and different level subdomains using a single SSL Certificate. Ideal for Unified Communications requirements and Exchange Servers. Secures the domain name it is issued on or a multi-level subdomain such as sales.north.domain.com, and includes 3 SANs (owa.domain.com, mail.domain.com and autodiscover.domain.com) free of charge. Additional subject alternative names (SANs) can be added at an extra cost.