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Secure with SSL

Creating an online presence can be a bit complicated sometimes. Securing it, however, doesn't have to be. HostGator makes it easy to secure your site by providing all hosting customers with a free SSL certificate. In this article, we'll explain what an SSL certificate is, how it works, and the options you have when selecting one.

SSL Basics

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is a security protocol that was used to secure the session between a browser and a server. TLS or Transport Layer Security is the protocol that is actually implemented today. To keep things simple, however, this encryption is still commonly referred to as SSL.

No matter which way you say it, SSL, or TLS, we're talking about the cryptographic protocol that encrypts any information input into a website. That way, if someone is trying to eavesdrop, they can't see what is exchanged between your website and the server receiving your visitor's data.

How To Tell If A Site Is Secure

When a website does not use SSL, the domain has 'HTTP' before the name, e.g., http://example.com, and the traffic between the browser and server is sent using the HTTP protocol. The problem with the unsecured website is that most browsers today indicate if a site is not secure. Information that is input on that site is sent to the server in plain text. So, if someone wanted to gather login credentials for visitors to your website, this would make it very easy for them to do so.

In contrast, if you utilize an SSL, then your data is encrypted before being sent, and your site displays "HTTPS" before the domain name. With your website's traffic secured whenever your visitors input any information, such as login credentials or credit card numbers, no one can intercept that information. When visitors are on your site, they'll see a padlock next to your domain. This padlock indicates that your site, and in turn, their data that they share on your website, is secure from prying eyes.

SSL and Email Security

While we provide our customers with access to webmail with our hosting accounts, most people use a third-party email client on their phone or computer to check and send emails. You'll notice when you're following the steps to manually add your email to any desktop client or mobile device, that it asks for information to connect to the server where your email is hosted.

Outside of asking for your credentials and whether or not you want to use IMAP or POP3 when setting up your email client, it will also give you the option of using SSL/TLS. Opting in to use SSL works the same way as when visitors are on your site. When you're signed into your email online, that data is encrypted between your email client and the server. Without using the SSL/TLS option, that information is sent in plain text and puts it at risk of having someone eavesdrop on the information.

Certificates For Everyone

At HostGator, we understand that the security of your data and the SEO ranking of your website are crucial to you. Which is why we provide all of our hosting customers with a free SSL certificate. While this certificate offers excellent protection, some businesses need additional or different certificates; therefore, we offer a variety of other SSL certificates.

If you still have questions regarding SSL, please feel free to contact us via phone or Live Chat.