10 Things to Consider Before Buying SSL Certificates


SSL certificate on Bank of America website

SSL certificates are very important, particularly for websites that handle sensitive information. However, before acquiring certificates, there are some things you must take into consideration.

Jimmy Edge, EMEA digital marketing manager at Symantec, provides some important advice for those who want to purchase digital certificates.

1. You might not afford to invest too much money in SSL certificates. However, before going with the company that offers the cheapest services, keep in mind that the security of the digital certificates partially depends on how secure the certificate authority (CA) is.

If you want the installation process to go smoothly, make sure the CA offers a wide range of services.

2. Be prepared before applying for a certificate. You need to know the length of time for the certificates, the number of servers hosting a single domain, the server platform, and details about the organization. You also need a certificate signing request from the server that’s about to be secured.

3. Precisely determine what type of certificate you need. In addition to the certificates used for websites, there are also ones for email systems, for code signing and for other resources.

4. Another problem encountered by many organizations is regarding renewal. Make sure you request a new certificate 2-4 weeks before the old one expires, because it takes the CA some time to complete the process.

5. The way the certificate signing request (CSR) mentioned at step 2 is obtained depends on the software your organization is using. VeriSign has a detailed guide on how to generate it.

6. Once the CSR is generated, use a tool such as Symantec’s free CSR checker to ensure it’s valid.

7. The security of an SSL certificate depends on the private key that you get with it. Anyone who has this key can decrypt server communications, so make sure you guard it properly.

8. Once the certificate is deployed, check it in multiple browsers and platforms to make sure it’s installed properly. Symantec’s certificate installation checker can also help you with this task.

9. Ensure that the CA you’re working with offers support. Things can always go wrong and it’s good to know that there’s someone you can rely on to fix any potential issues.

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