Beginners Guide: What is an SSL Certificate?

Security is a paramount concern, especially when it comes to navigating the web. Whether you’re setting up an online shop, running a blog, or even just browsing, you’ve likely come across the term “SSL Certificate.” This guide aims to explain what an SSL Certificate is, highlighting how services like UK Cheapest can help you secure your website.

SSL Certificate: The Basics

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Think of an SSL Certificate as a digital passport for a website. It provides a secure connection between a web server (where your website is hosted) and a web browser (like Chrome, Safari, or Firefox). When a website has an SSL Certificate, it means any information you input into that site is encrypted, or in simpler terms, turned into a secret code that only the website can understand.

Why is an SSL Certificate Important?

  1. Security: It protects sensitive data transmitted from and to your website. This includes personal information like names, addresses, passwords, or credit card numbers.
  2. Trust: Websites with SSL Certificates show a padlock icon in the browser’s address bar. This padlock is a sign of trust, indicating that the website is secure and cares about visitors’ privacy.
  3. SEO Benefits: Search engines like Google give preference to SSL-secured websites. This means having an SSL Certificate can help your website rank higher in search results.
  4. Compliance: For certain types of websites, particularly those handling credit card transactions, having an SSL Certificate is a requirement to comply with privacy and security standards.

How Does an SSL Certificate Work?

An SSL Certificate works by establishing an encrypted connection. When you visit a secured website, the SSL Certificate creates a secure link where data can pass safely. It’s like sending a letter in a locked safe; only the sender and the recipient have the key to open it.

Types of SSL Certificates

There are different types of SSL Certificates, each serving different needs:

  1. Domain Validated (DV): This is the most basic level of SSL and is often used for blogs or informational websites. Verification is simple, with the Certificate Authority (CA) only needing to confirm the applicant owns the domain.
  2. Organisation Validated (OV) and Extended Validation (EV): These are used by organisations and businesses. They require more thorough verification, providing a higher level of security and trust.

Getting an SSL Certificate with UK Cheapest

For those new to SSL Certificates, UK Cheapest offers an easy and affordable way to secure your website. They provide various types of SSL Certificates, catering to different needs and budgets. The process of obtaining and installing an SSL Certificate with UK Cheapest is straightforward, making it accessible even for non-technical users.


In summary, an SSL Certificate is a critical component of website security and trustworthiness. It’s not just a technical requirement; it’s a commitment to protecting your visitors and enhancing your website’s credibility. Services like UK Cheapest make obtaining and using SSL Certificates simple and affordable, ensuring that even beginners can secure their websites effectively. Whether you’re starting a personal blog or setting up an online store, having an SSL Certificate is a smart and essential step in building a safe and trusted online presence.

SSC Certificates: Free or Premium? What’s the Difference?

The main differences between a free SSL certificate and a premium SSL certificate are related to factors like validation, trust level, features, and support. Here’s a breakdown of these key distinctions:

  1. Validation Level:
    • Free SSL Certificate: Free SSL certificates typically provide Domain Validation (DV) or, in some cases, Organisation Validation (OV). DV certificates only verify that the certificate applicant controls the domain, while OV certificates also confirm the organisation’s identity.
    • Premium SSL Certificate: Premium SSL certificates often include Extended Validation (EV) certificates in addition to DV and OV options. EV certificates provide the highest level of validation, involving a rigorous identity verification process for the organisation.
  2. Trust and Security:
    • Free SSL Certificate: While free SSL certificates offer encryption, they may not provide the same level of trust and security as premium certificates. Visitors to your website may not perceive the same level of assurance.
    • Premium SSL Certificate: Premium certificates, especially EV certificates, are associated with a higher level of trust. They trigger the browser’s green address bar, displaying the organisation’s name, which can enhance user confidence in your website’s legitimacy.
  3. Warranty and Liability:
    • Free SSL Certificate: Free certificates typically do not come with a warranty or financial liability protection in case of security breaches or mis-issuance.
    • Premium SSL Certificate: Premium certificates often include a warranty, offering financial protection in case of security issues or certificate mis-issuance.
  4. Validation Timeframe:
    • Free SSL Certificate: Free DV certificates are usually issued quickly, sometimes within minutes, as they require minimal validation. OV and EV certificates may take longer due to more extensive verification processes.
    • Premium SSL Certificate: Premium certificates, especially EV certificates, typically involve a longer validation process to ensure the organisation’s identity, which can take several days or more.
  5. Browser Compatibility:
    • Free SSL Certificate: Most free SSL certificates are recognised by popular browsers. However, premium certificates are more likely to be supported by a wider range of devices and browsers.
  6. Features and Additional Services:
    • Free SSL Certificate: Free certificates often provide basic encryption. Premium certificates may include additional features like vulnerability assessments, malware scanning, and daily website monitoring.
  7. Support:
    • Free SSL Certificate: Free certificate providers may offer limited or community-based support, which may not be as responsive or comprehensive.
    • Premium SSL Certificate: Premium certificate providers typically offer dedicated customer support, including phone and email support, with faster response times.
  8. Validation Seal:
    • Free SSL Certificate: Free certificates may not come with a site seal or trust badge, which can reassure visitors about the security of your website.
    • Premium SSL Certificate: Premium certificates often include a site seal that can be displayed on your website, indicating a higher level of trust.

In summary, the choice between a free SSL certificate and a premium SSL certificate depends on your specific needs. Free certificates are suitable for basic encryption, while premium certificates, especially EV certificates, are ideal for organisations that require a high level of trust, security, and brand recognition. Consider your website’s purpose, user trust requirements, and budget when making your decision.

Categories SSL

Why do I need SSL on my Website?

Aside from the advantage you will receive on your Google rankings, you also have a responsibility to protect your visitors. Any information they exchange with your site will travel through the internet in plain text unless you use SSL to encrypt it.

How do I protect my visitors?

There are many ways to secure your site and protect your site visitors from having sensitive information leaked. One of the most effective methods is to install a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate. This will encrypt all data from end to end.

Why should I use UKC for my Web Security?

At UKC we ONLY provide Grade A level Web Hosting + SSL implementation.

Installing SSL can be quite a complex affair for the non-technical. We at UKC make the process simple by doing everything you need – from requisition to installation. We will help you apply redirects or to reconfigure your CMS to make best use of your new security.

How do I test my Web Hosting SSL Grade?

We recommend you use the online test provided by Qualys SSL Labs. It takes two minutes, you do not need to provide any details other than your website address and you will immediately receive a grading for your site. Less than Grade A is not acceptable.

How do I get a Grade A?

Using SSL on your site is only part of the story. Having it implemented properly is where we come in. We provide a combination of secure web hosting configuration together with industry recognised SSL certificate installation. We do it all for you.

Order your Grade A level security from UKC today.


SSL Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What you need to know about SSL

Q: What is SSL?

A: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol for enabling data encryption on the Internet and for helping web site users confirm the owner of the web site. SSL is most commonly used to protect communications between web browsers and servers. However, it is increasingly used for server to server communications and for web-based applications.

Q: How long does enrolment take?

A: An SSL certificate may be issued within minutes of submitting your enrolment information as long as the information is correct and the authorised administrator responds promptly to the confirmation email. RapidSSL® Certificates and RapidSSL® Wildcard both use an authentication process to verify domain control validation.

Q: What is domain control validation?

A: RapidSSL will confirm domain control by sending an email to the administrator listed with the registrar for the domain. If the authorised administrator does not reply, a second email will be sent to an email address at the domain such as info@ or support@. We do this for you.

Q: What is encryption and why are there different levels?

A: Encryption is a mathematical process of coding and decoding information. The number of bits (40-bit, 56-bit, 128-bit, 256-bit) tells you the size of the key. Like a longer password, a larger key has more possible combinations.

When an encrypted session is established, the encryption level is determined by the capability of the web browser, SSL certificate, web server, and client computer operating system.

Q: How do web site visitors know if a web site is using SSL?

A: When a browser connects to a secure site it retrieves the site’s SSL certificate and checks that it has not expired, that it has been issued by a Certificate Authority the browser trusts and that it is being used by the web site for which it has been issued.

If it fails on any one of these checks the browser will display a warning to the end user. If it succeeds, several security indicators are built into modern browsers to indicate that SSL is enabled.

  • The beginning of the URL or web address changes from http:// to https://
  • A padlock on the browser window changes from open to closed
  • The address bar will turn green and display the name of the web site owner when connecting to a web site protected by an Extended Validation SSL certificate.

In addition, a trust mark such as the RapidSSL site seal may be added to web pages on a secure site.

Q: What does browser recognition mean?

A: When a browser or operating system encounters an SSL certificate, it checks to make sure that the certificate is valid and trusted. An SSL certificate is trusted if it is signed by a “trusted” or pre-installed root certificate. If a browser that does not contain the root CA certificate used to issue the SSL certificate, a security warning will alert them.

Q: What is a certificate signing request or CSR?

A: A CSR is a public key that you generate on your server according to your server software instructions. (If you do not have access to your server, your web host or Internet service provider will generate it for you.) The CSR is required during the SSL certificate enrolment process because it validates the specific information about your web server and your organisation.

Q: What is a public/private key pair?

A: SSL uses unique cryptographic key pairs: each key pair consists of a secret private key and a related public key. Information encrypted with a public key can only be decrypted with the corresponding private key, and vice-versa.

Q: How do I obtain the RapidSSL Site Seal?

You must obtain the site seal directly from RapidSSL and follow the instructions given. Claim your RapidSSL Site Seal.

Categories SSL