Why Every Ecommerce Store Needs Secure Socket Layers (SSL): How to Encrypt Your Website with SSL Encryption

If you're an online business owner or just someone curious about how to keep your online transactions secure, you've come to the right place. In this post, we'll be diving into the world of SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, and how SSL encryption plays a crucial role in protecting your customers' sensitive information when they make purchases on your website.

This is a very long read (but worth it, we guarantee) that defines every aspect of using Secure Sockets Layer or SSL in eCommerce and shows why it is so important. In the next sections, we'll dive deeper into how SSL works, the different types of SSL certificates available, and how to choose the right SSL solution for your eCommerce business. Stay tuned and get ready to learn everything you need to know about keeping your online transactions secure with SSL!

Basics: What is SSL?

Let's start with the basics.

SSL encryption is a technology that creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser and ensures that all data passed between the two stays private and secure. Essentially, it's like a secret code that only the intended parties can read. When you see that little padlock icon in the address bar of your browser, that's an indication that the website you're on is using SSL.

Fighting Pretty landing page showing SSL security on URL bar

Image taken from a Strikingly user’s website

By the way, the SSL technology is responsible for that little padlock icon you see in your browser's address bar when you're on a website that's using SSL.

But why is this so important for eCommerce? Well, think about all the sensitive information exchanged during an online transaction - credit card numbers, personal information, addresses, etc. You definitely want that information to stay in the right hands, and that's where SSL comes in. It ensures that this information remains protected and can only be accessed by authorized parties.

And it's about more than protecting your customers' information, too. Implementing SSL encryption can also help boost customer trust and loyalty. When people see that padlock icon and know their information is being kept secure, they're more likely to feel confident about purchasing from your website. Plus, many payment processors and industry regulations require the use of SSL protocol, so it's not just a nice-to-have. It's a must-have for any eCommerce business.

Finally, did you know that Google also takes into account if your website has SSL or not? Not having SSL can affect your search engine ranking, so it's a win-win situation for you as a website owner to have SSL.

Understanding the SSL Encryption Process

The SSL encryption process is pretty technical, but we'll do our best to explain it in simple terms.

man in dark blue suit using a laptop

1. The Handshake

When you visit a website that's using SSL, the web server and the customer's web browser will start an SSL protocol "handshake" to establish a secure connection.

2. Presenting the Certificate

During this handshake, the web server will present its SSL certificate to the browser. The browser will then verify that the certificate is valid, issued by a trusted authority, and belongs to the website it's visiting.

3. Sharing Secret Keys

Once the certificate is verified, the browser and the server will create a shared secret key that will be used to encrypt all succeeding data exchanged between them.

4. Using "the" Symmetric Key

The data sent between the browser and the server is encrypted with a symmetric key, meaning it's the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt the data. This symmetric key is generated during the SSL Handshake and is unique for each session.

When the session ends, the keys are discarded, and new keys will be generated after the handshake with the same or another site visitor.

Issuing and Authenticating SSL Certificates

Now, you may be wondering, "How does the browser know if the SSL certificate is valid and issued by a trusted authority?" That's where SSL certificate authorities (CA) come in.

These are organizations that are trusted to verify the identity of websites and issue SSL certificates. When you want an SSL certificate, you'll need to undergo a validation process with your chosen CA. This process often involves providing proof of your website's ownership and information about your business.

Once the validation is complete, the CA will issue an SSL certificate that you can install on your web server. Your certificate will contain information about your website, the CA that issued it, and a public key that's used to encrypt data.

SSL and Ecommerce: Why is SSL Important?

Pretty Olive Interior landing page showing SSL security on URL bar

Image taken from a Strikingly user’s website

We've covered what SSL encryption is and how it works. Now, let's talk about why it's so crucial for your eCommerce business. Specifically, we'll discuss how SSL helps protect sensitive information, builds customer trust, and helps companies like yours comply with industry regulations.

A. SSL helps protect sensitive information

1. Credit carp and personal information

When customers make purchases on your website, they're often required to enter sensitive information like credit card numbers and personal information. SSL helps protect this information by encrypting it, making it unreadable to anyone who intercepts it. This encryption is critical when it comes to credit card information because your business is responsible for keeping that information secure and in compliance with regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

2. Data integrity and confidentiality

In addition to protecting sensitive information from being intercepted, SSL encryption also helps protect your site visitor's data from being tampered with or modified. This is known as data integrity.

By encrypting your site visitor's data, SSL ensures that that data can only be read or modified by authorized parties. SSL protocol also helps maintain confidentiality, as only the intended parties can access the encrypted data.

B. SSL builds trust in your customers

1. Security badges and trust seals

When your customers see that your website is using SSL, they're more likely to trust your website and feel confident about purchasing your product. This is why many eCommerce businesses display security badges or trust seals on their websites to indicate that they're using SSL. These badges and seals help build customer trust by showing that the business is protecting its customers' sensitive information.

customer touching an SSL key

2. Impact on customer trust and loyalty

In addition to building trust with your potential customers, using Secure Sockets Layer or SSL encryption can also help increase your customer loyalty. When your customers know that their information is being kept secure, they're more likely to return to your website and make more purchases in the future. Obviously, this can lead to increased repeat business and help your business grow.

Choosing the Right SSL Solution for Your Ecommerce Business

SSL solutions can be confusing. If you've never set up SSL for an eCommerce website before, it might seem overly complicated. And if you're a regular ole Jane or Joe trying to pick the right solution, you might be overwhelmed with the choices. Let's break down three options to help you select an SSL solution that's right for your business.

A. Different Types of SSL Certificates

1. Domain validation Domain validation (DV) certificates are the most basic type of SSL certificate. They're issued after the certificate authority (CA) verifies that the domain belongs to the person or organization requesting the certificate. These certificates don't require any additional information about the business, making them the quickest and easiest to obtain.

2. Organization validation Organization validation (OV) certificates are a step up from DV certificates. They require the CA to verify not only that the domain belongs to the requester, but also that the organization is a legitimate business. This typically involves verifying information like the business address and phone number. OV certificates can take a little longer to obtain than DV certificates, but they provide an additional level of trust for your customers.

3. Extended validation (EV) certificates are the most rigorous type of SSL certificate. Other than verifying the domain and the organization, EV certificates also require the CA to verify the organization's legal, physical, and operational existence. In this process, the CA may look at your business registration, articles of incorporation, or your other legal documents. EV certificates take the longest to obtain and are the most expensive, but they offer your customers the highest level of trust.

B. Considerations When Choosing an SSL Provider

1. Reputation and trustworthiness.

When choosing an SSL encryption provider, it's imperative to consider their reputation and trustworthiness. You have to look for providers that have been in business for a while and have a good track record of issuing valid SSL certificates. You can check the provider's website for customer testimonials and look for any red flags, like a history of issuing fraudulent certificates.

2. Cost and features. Another important thing you might consider when choosing an SSL provider is the cost and features of the certificates they offer. Make sure to compare the cost and features of different certificates from different providers to find the one that best meets your needs.

It's also important to consider the costs of renewing the certificate and any additional features you may need, such as wildcard certificates or multi-domain certificates.

When choosing the right SSL solution for your eCommerce business, you need to consider the types of SSL certificates and how it relates to your eCommerce business. Not all SSL certificates are created equal, and you need to choose one that best suits your budget and needs.

Strikingly eCommerce: Automatically Secure--and It's Free

If you're in the market for a website builder with built-in SSL support, you might want to check out Strikingly. We have a feature that makes it easy for e-commerce store owners like you to add SSL to your website and keep your customer's information safe and secure.

  • Strikingly SSL protocol is built right into the platform. One of the great things about Strikingly's SSL encryption feature is that it's built right into the platform, so you don't have to go through the hassle of purchasing and installing an SSL certificate yourself. We will take care of everything, so you don't have to worry about the technical details and can focus on running your eCommerce store.

Julianne Feir landing page showing SSL security on URL bar

Image taken from a Strikingly user’s website

  • Strikingly SSL protocol has free domain validation SSL certificate. Another benefit of Strikingly's SSL feature is that it comes with a free domain validation SSL certificate. You don't have to pay extra for an SSL certificate, and it's available for your website for free! This is a great option for small eCommerce businesses that are just starting out and want to keep costs low.

Strikingly's SSL feature is an excellent option for eCommerce store owners, such as yourself, who want to keep their customer's information safe and secure without having to deal with the technical details. It's built-in, easy to use, and comes with a free domain validation SSL certificate.

And did we mention that it's free?

If you're an e-commerce business owner, implementing SSL encryption should be at the top of your to-do list. It is a must-have for complying with industry regulations and helps protect your customers' sensitive information and build trust with them. Think about it this way, would you shop on a website that didn't have a padlock icon or any indication that it's using SSL? Probably not.

Dr. Chai Tea landing page showing SSL security on URL bar

Image taken from a Strikingly user’s website

Customers want to know that their information is being kept secure, and by implementing SSL encryption, you're showing them that you care about their privacy and security. Of course, having SSL can also give you an edge over your competitors who don't have it.

And it's not just about your customers. Getting SSL encryption can also protect your business. If sensitive information is intercepted or tampered with, it could lead to legal issues and financial losses. You're taking steps to protect your business and mitigate these risks by implementing SSL. Don't wait any longer. If you haven't already, get SSL for your eCommerce site and give your customers the peace of mind they deserve.