This holiday season we are all hoping to find the best deals online, those deals that can save us money. But how can we know a good deal while Christmas shopping is also a safe website to purchase from? Find out what certificate you need to look for before you make that purchase online.

You may have seen an ad for SSL certificates or you may have seen a message as you surfed on the web pertaining to an SSL certificate. The “padlock” is a symbol of an SSL certificate that many consumers have come to trust for good reason. The “padlock” is a symbol of online security. Maybe you’ve been surfing the web or shopping and received a message that an “SSL” has expired.


What does this mean?

Is this a secure website? Just what are SSL certificates? SSL stands for “secure socket layers.” The web can be both a wondrous and a scary place, both a convenient and a risky place. An SSL certificate can ensure that you can enjoy the wonders and the convenience with the fears and risks.  It means you do not need to be worry about identity theft. Your private information is safe if the website has SSL.

An SSL certificate provides a level of trust between web site owners and web site visitors by:

– Encrypting sensitive information during online transactions

– Holding unique, authenticated information about the certificate owner

-Verifying the identity of the certificate owner when it is issued

How do you know if you need an SSL?

If you are a web site owner you have to take into consideration that visitors are concerned about identity theft and online financial fraud. If you’re worried about identity theft and want to stop anyone trying to gain access to your credit report without your permission, you may want to place a credit freeze on your credit report.

To determine if you need to have an SSL certificate, consider the following five questions:

  1. Do you have an online store, accept online orders and credit card payment?
  2. Do you offer a login or sign in to your website?
  3. Do you ever process sensitive data including address, birth date, license numbers or ID numbers?
  4. Do you promote and need to comply with privacy and security requirements?
  5. Do you value privacy and want visitors to trust your site? How does SSL Encryption Work?

SSL creates a private form of communication whereby data is encrypted during transmission, effectively providing a secure envelope that others cannot see through. Encryption scrambles the data of personal and private information, rendering it useless to anyone who shouldn’t see it. There are two “keys” with SSL certificate, one to encrypt the data and another to unscramble it. When a website has a current SSL certificate, browsers and shoppers can enjoy a level of trust and for good reason.

How can online shoppers know if a website has an SSL certificate?

There are three signs that web browsers and online shoppers can look for to know if a website offers the security and privacy of an SSL certificate.

  1. The first symbol is the “https” prefix in front of the URL address.
  2. A “padlock” symbol should appear in the web browser when a site is opened.
  3. A seal from the SSL certificate provider, such as or should appear on the website.

If you have a web site and you want to install consumer confidence, you need to invest in an SSL certificate. If you’re an online shopper, you need to look for the signs and symbols that a web site has been verified and offers encryptions to protect your important personal information.