Adding An SSL Certificate To Your Attorney Website
Chris Dreyer | August 22, 2015
Google’s recent Webmaster blog post1 points out the importance of providing a secure experience for your users. If you do not already have a security certificate installed on your site, you should seriously consider getting one. There are also other steps and considerations when changing your site over from http to https2 and this post will show you how to purchase and install an SSL certificate for your site.
Choosing A Security Certificate Provider
You might think that all security certificates are created equal but that is not the case. The type of certificate attorneys choose will depend on the transactions and behaviors users perform on their websites. We all want our clients to feel secure but it is not necessary to have sophisticated encryption if all you have on your site is information, articles and blog posts. On the other end of the spectrum, some attorneys may have the ability to process credit card transactions online or they may have forms that ask for sensitive information. In those cases a more robust form of encryption may be required.
Speed is something else to consider. How fast do you need your certificate and will you lose business by not having it quickly. Typically more sophisticated certificates take longer to issue whereas more basic ones can be downloaded and installed almost instantly.
Assurance and Warranties
Some issuers will warranty their certificates up to a million dollars for users affected by fraud or other damages. The question for attorneys is how serious do you want your users to know you take web security. Naturally you may not want to pay for that level of warranty if it isn’t necessary but it is something to keep in mind.
Number of Domains
Lawyers will have to consider whether they want to use a certificate on one domain or on multiple domains. The price will be a factor but you can buy certificates in bulk for sub-domains if you need to.
Lastly you should also consider customer support options. What if you have problems with your certificate or its installation that you or your developer cannot solve? Choose a hosting provider that will provide good support related to the security certificate you purchase.
Adding an SSL Certificate to Your Site
Purchasing, configuring and adding an SSL certificate to your site will vary based on the type of certificate you buy and your host’s server configuration. Here is a general overview of what the steps are when installing a security certificate. After you purchase a certificate, you will be prompted to download files that will be installed on your host’s server.
As part of the process, users are typically required generate a CSR (certificate signing request) and submit it to a third party authority. You may also be required to copy and paste a key from your certificate into a window on your web host. At some point in the process, you will be prompted to provide your firm name, address and domain information among other identifying data.
This information must remain consistent across the board from your web host to the certificate in order for everything to be trustworthy for browsers and users. The best source of information on adding an SSL certificate to your site is going to come from your host or certificate provider.
Many hosts have step-by-step tutorials on purchasing, downloading and installing a security certificate on your domain. You can also learn more about TLS (Transport Layer Security) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) here3.
What questions do you have about adding a security certificate to your site? Join in the conversation by commenting below.