Free SSL Certificates Opening New Doors for eCommerce

Free SSL Certificates Opening New Doors for eCommerce

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In a testament to the growing popularity of online shopping, the U.S Dept. of Commerce recently reported an impressive 2016 first quarter for eCommerce with nearly $93 billion in sales. eCommerce sales only accounted for 2.5 percent of total retail sales in 2006, a number that has shot up to nearly 10 percent today.

Unfortunately, not everything is as perfect as it seems, with eCommerce sites requiring some degree of security (much like a traditional store). This scenario is where encryption steps in, allowing online store owners to encrypt all transactions and communication made between their website and visitors.

Everyone can achieve this through the use of SSL (Secure Socket Layers), a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts all communication. One of the easiest ways to identify sites with SSL encryption is through the “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” at the beginning of a URL. (ex. “https://www.example.com” instead of http://www.example.com)

You can read more details about HTTPS and SSL here.

Google also recently announced a search engine ranking boost to websites with SSL encryption, giving webmasters another great reason to invest in SSL certificates.

Purchasing an SSL certificate, however, can be an expensive proposition, with advanced certificates running upward of $200 a year. Those just getting started with eCommerce or their first website might find themselves intimidated by such a high price tag.

Enter: the exciting and new world of free SSL certificates.

A majority of website owners are immediately turned off by the high cost of SSL when coupled with expenses like Web hosting, marketing, and employees. Luckily, there are a couple of organizations out there that have dedicated themselves to offering free SSL protection in an attempt to standardize and better secure the Internet for everyone.

Free SSL certificates:

1. Let’s Encrypt

The ISRG (Internet Security Research Group) has introduced Let’s Encrypt, a new certificate authority that issues free SSL certificates with minimal effort required. While Let’s Encrypt was launched only previously this year, the reaction so far has been enormous. Let’s Encrypt has already issued more than one million SSL certificates in addition to garnering support from the likes of Facebook, Mozilla, The EFF and Cisco.

With Let’s Encrypt being an open source project and developed by a non-profit foundation, we are sure to see much more excitement in the future. Click here for a more in-depth rundown of Let’s Encrypt’s service.

2. Encryption Everywhere

In response to Let’s Encrypt success, Symantec recently released a new feature called Encryption Everywhere, a program that offers free SSL encryption directly from your hosting provider’s data center. Encryption Everywhere allows a hosting provider to integrate encryption into a website the moment it is created.

While this service is not available on an individual level, a growing number of hosting providers have announced integration, including 1and1, Hostpoint, and InterNetX. Read more about Encryption Everywhere on Symantec’s website.

3. Comodo free SSL certificates

Comodo has been one of the leading providers of SSL certificates, but most people don’t know that they also provide free SSL certificates.  While these are only available for a three-month trial period, you can enjoy no restrictions on reissuing a certificate when it expires. So theoretically, you can have free SSL encryption on your website as long as you keep reissuing the certificate every three months.

Comodo’s free SSL certificates can be setup in a matter of minutes, and offer the same level of trust and encryption as one of their paid SSL certificates. Check out the official Comodo page for more information.

Do I need an SSL certificate for my site?

The Internet is constantly changing the way we think and act in our everyday lives. While most people today might simply print movie tickets at home instead of at the theatre, a rapidly growing user base is also taking advantage of the Internet for their shopping needs. From iPhones to Air Jordans, the range of goods available to purchase online has grown considerably.

Google also has announced a search engine ranking boost to websites with SSL encryption, giving webmasters another great reason to invest in SSL certificates.

This rise in online shopping has increased the need for proper security, the same way you don’t want to walk to your car at night in a dimly lit parking lot with a lot of cash in your pocket. Free SSL encryption is available through any of the avenues detailed above. All online stores regardless of size should take advantage of protecting their customer’s data for free.

The Internet is constantly changing and evolving according to the demands of today’s world. Free SSL encryption is an excellent way to increase confidence in your online presence. Take advantage today.

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