With an SSL certificate, your website can leverage the HTTPS protocol to securely transfer information between point A and B.
This is crucial when transferring sensitive information, like credit card data on checkout pages and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on login and contact forms.
In addition to security benefits, websites using SSL get better rankings on Google and improved performance through the use of HTTP/2. It's also important to understand that SSL does not protect your website. This guide is designed to show beginners and intermediate users how to deploy a free SSL certificate from Let's Encrypt on their self-hosted websites.
Types of SSL Certificates
Some visitors recognize the additional authenticity and trust offered Extended Validation (EV) and Organization Validated (OV) certificates due to their rigorous validation process.
There are three types of certificates to be familiar with:
Domain Validated (DV)
DV certificates only need the Certificate Authority to verify that the user requesting the certificate owns and administers the domain. Visitors will see a lock icon in their address bar, but no specific information about the owner.
Organization Validated (OV)
OV certificates require a Certificate Authority to confirm the business making the request is registered and legitimate. When visitors click the green lock icon in their browser, the business name is listed.
Extended Validation (EV)
EV certificates require even more documentation for the Certificate Authority to validate the organization. Visitors will see the name of the business inside the address bar (in addition to clicking the lock icon).
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