E-commerce has become an integral part of today’s business economy. To no surprise, a number of web hosting companies have emerged to cater to the demand. These firms specialize in services that are specially designed for people who want to sell goods and services online. They generally offer features such as shopping carts, merchant accounts and payment gateways. However, those looking to indulge in e-commerce need to be far more selective when it comes to choosing a web hosting provider. With credit card numbers and personal data involved, the consequences of a security breach can be far more catastrophic than someone running a personal website. For this reason, the use of security features such as SSL is a must.
SSL is one of the most widely used tools for website security. Short for Secure Sockets Layer, SSL is a protocol that protects transactions between the buyer and seller with a cryptographic technology known as encryption. Anyone who sells products or services online is required to implement SSL or higher for security. This is why you see online services such as PayPal and various e-commerce sites with security seals representing that they are protected by SSL encryption.
Shared vs. Private
Most e-commerce hosting companies provide their customers with shared SSL certificates. This basically means that a company purchases their own private SSL certificate, and shares it with all customers residing on its server. While this does not mean that your site is lacking in security, it can be make potential customers very suspicious. When someone visits your site and checks for an SSL certificate, they will see that the certificate is owned by the web hosting company. This could either cause the visitor to question your credibility, or conclude that your site has been compromised by a hacker. You have to keep in mind that many consumers have no idea about web hosting, what company provides you with service, or the difference between shared and private SSL.
Although a private SSL certificate isn’t exactly cheap, it can be very advantageous for your online store and web presence. Once you purchase it from a CA (Certificate Authority), the certificate is yours and yours alone. Now when potential customers visit your site, they will see that you own the certificate, giving them reassurance and the confidence they need to feel safe when shopping on your site. There are fewer questions about whether your website is secure and no questions about who owns the certificate. And because it requires a dedicated IP address, you can ensure that you do not endure penalties as a result of sharing a server with spammers that cause trouble for the shared IP.
Almost all web hosting companies that specialize in e-commerce solutions offer support for private SSL certificates. As we mentioned above, there is nothing wrong with the shared variety, but having your own certificate can work wonders for your credibility. It could be considered a small investment that shows your audience that you are a serious business owner who can be depended on. Rewards for this investment could be customer loyalty and long-term profits.