Most anyone who has purchased anything from a business website has been told or knows to look for the little lock at the bottom of the page to check to see if their transaction and/or personal information is going to be secure. If you operate an online business you probably know a bit about providing SSL security for your customers. But most people don't stop to question just how secure their information is. Many may not have even heard of an SSL Certificate before. SSL is short for "Secure Sockets Layer" which encrypts information being passed through the internet in an attempt to keep information from being hacked into.
However, most people are not aware that there are different levels of SSL Certificates, would never think to compare SSL certificates, know what look for, or how to get or verify an SSL certificate. Would you know the difference between the worst or best SSL certificates?
In brief there are 3 basic types:
1. Standard SSL Certificates which are very common, the cheapest, usually only covers 1 domain, and usually covers 40 bit encryption.
2. SGC SSL Certificates which adds an extra layer of protection by increasing your security to 128 bit or 256 bit encryption.
3. EV SSL Certificates which insure the highest level of security but is also the most expensive.
When you are looking for a web hosting company for your business one of the questions you must ask yourself and them is if their security level will meet your needs.
Also when considering accepting payments online you will want to review and compare shopping cart software providers as well as merchant account providers.
One of the things to consider when choosing a web hosting company is will their web site package features accommodate your needs in building your business website. If you are planning to sell merchandise through your website here are a few things you may want to consider:1. Does the web hosting company you are considering have the capability and the capacity for you to design a user friendly store front? If you plan to carry and sell a full line of merchandise you need to choose a web hosting company with unlimited web space, bandwidth, and transfer. It is best to envision what you will need your website to do for you in the future as your company may expand or grow. It's okay to start out small but you will want to know that your webhosting company will be able to accommodate your business web site needs down the road to prevent having to change companies later.
2. Shared web hosting or dedicated server hosting? If you are planning to run even a medium sized company with options of catalogs, shopping carts, payment processing, and shipping I would suggest you choose a package with a dedicated IP address versus a shared IP address. This will insure faster service for your customers accessing your site and will also provide you with a peace of mind knowing that if your web hosting companies shared server is having a down time problem your clients will still be able to access your website.
3. Shopping cart software or programs? If you are going to sell your merchandise online it is almost imperative that you provide your customers the shopping ease and convenience of a shopping cart. This will also help you be able to track of what popular items people are viewing or purchasing on your site, track your inventory, and smooth out the payment process. There are too many options to eCommerce and shopping cart software to mention in this article but take a look and list a few things that you feel you want your shopping cart to be able to do and then research whether a free shopping cart, a cheap shopping cart, or a comprehensive shopping cart will best suit your needs.
4. Accepting credit cards on your website? In order to accept credit cards on your web site you will need to set up a merchant account. A merchant account is an account set up with a bank in which the bank deposits all of the credit card transactions you run through your web site into your account. By doing this the bank is taking responsibility for your credit card transactions but verifying that the credit card is valid and the funds are available. The bank will charge merchant account fees for these transactions and take it directly from the transactions prior to making a deposit into your account. These fees vary from company to company. You may review or compare some these at websites like100 Best Merchant Accounts to determine what will work best for you and your company.