For the do-it-yourself types, Modular Merchant does allow our clients to install SSL certificates in their hosting accounts themselves. This tutorial lists the steps involved in installing a third-party SSL certificate on your domain, using your hosting account’s Plesk control panel. This article is the extent of the technical support that Modular Merchant can provide to users who are installing an SSL certificate themselves that was purchased from a third-party SSL provider.
What is a SSL Certificate?
An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate is a file containing the “fingerprint” of your server and your domain name. This fingerprint is encoded for security, so that it cannot be forged. The certificate is uploaded to a specific location on your server, where it will be used when a page on your website is loaded in a secure, “https” environment. If the certificate is found, and its contents match the fingerprint of your server and domain, then the secure “https” version of the web page will be allowed to load. Otherwise, a security warning will be displayed by your web browser software.
Do I need a SSL Certificate?
When a webpage is loaded in a secure “https” environment, the page’s content is encrypted by the server before it is displayed on-screen, so that it cannot be read by third parties. This prevents malicious third-parties from obtaining any sensitive data contained on the secured page.
If your shopping cart is hosted under your own domain or subdomain (such as www.MyDomain.com), then you will need an SSL certificate for your store. Not only is an SSL certificate required for PCI compliance, but credit card companies will only accept online orders that come from a secure “https” connection.
SSL Certificates are assigned at a website’s subdomain level. That means that if your site is split into two subdomains, such as https://www.MyWebsite.com and https://store.MyWebsite.com, and you want them both to be secure, you will need two SSL certificates, one for the “www” subdomain and a second for the “store” subdomain.
What are the steps to adding a SSL Certificate to my website?
Let’s review each of these steps in detail…