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Is It Time to Renew (Or Get) An SSL Certificate?

Padlock representing security.

Posted on 06/21/2019 at 10:00 AM

Do you know if your website’s SSL certificate is still valid? “The CAB Forum legislates the baseline requirements that Certificate Authorities must follow to issue trusted SSL certificates. Those requirements dictate that SSL certificates may have a lifespan of no longer than 27 months (two years + you can carry over up to three months when you renew with time remaining on your previous certificate).” This means that your previously purchased SSL certificate may be invalid. If you’re curious about what an SSL certificate is and what happens when it expires, keep reading.

“What is an SSL?”

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a technology that allows for an encrypted pathway between a web server and a browser. An SSL adds an extra layer of protection to the information that is stored on your website. For more information on the importance of having your website secured, see this video created by Global Reach.

“How does an SSL certificate work?”

Within the safe environment where an SSL certificate is present, information can be privately shared between the server and browser. This is why they are widely accepted as an industry standard, as they are relied on by millions of websites to safeguard the transactions their customers make with them online.

“Do I need an SSL certificate for my website?” 

The short answer is: Yes.

Even if you do not exchange sensitive information with your users online, the current trend is to encrypt everything on the web. In fact, the Chrome browser “shames” websites that are not protected with an SSL certificate. As an added bonus, search engines show a preference to websites that utilize an SSL certificate over their unencrypted counterparts. 

“How do I know if I have an SSL Certificate?“

There are a few ways you can check to see if your website currently has an SSL certificate in place. 

Look at the URL in your browser:

If the URL reads "https" instead of “http,” this is a good indicator that your website does have an SSL certificate in place. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, while HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.

Secure Navigation Bar.

Look for a little padlock icon in the browser’s address bar:

Usually, the padlock icon appears on the left or right-hand side of the browser’s address bar, depending on the browser you are using.

Make sure the certificate is valid.

Even if a website’s URL contains HTTPS, and a secure padlock icon is displayed in the browser address bar, it’s important to note that the certificate might not be valid, meaning it could be expired and the connection isn’t actually secure.

To verify the validity of the SSL certificate, you can use this free tool by Qualys SSL Labs: https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/ .

This tool will give you a variety of information about your SSL, but most importantly, it will provide you with the timeframe for which your SSL certificate is valid.

“What Happens If My Certificate Expires?”

If your certificate expires, users get a “not safe” warning from their browser. As you can imagine, this significantly hurts traffic and users may be afraid to interact with your website further and especially if they are asked to present their personal information.

“How do I renew my SSL certificate?”

To renew your SSL certificate, or to begin using one for your website or any new domains, send an email to SSL@globalreach.com and our support team will work with you to make sure your website is encrypted. 

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