SSL Certificates

Posted by Monday, October 5, 2009 1 comments

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.
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.

Accepting Credit Cards on Your Website

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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.

Subdomains vs Subfolders

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Subdomains and subfolders are two ways of dividing up a domain. These two different approaches both look different in the URL. You would use a subdomain in a different situation than you would a subdomain. This article compares when it is most useful to use a subdomain versus a subfolder.

What Are Subdomains?

Technically, a subdomain is any division of the Domain Name System (DNS). This means that top-level domains (TLDs) are, technically speaking, subdomains because they divide up the Internet into .com, .net, .org, etc. Domains such as or make up the next level of subdomain, then there are divisions of the domain, and so on down the hierarchy. However, in common speech, subdomain refers to the third division, the level in this hierarchy that comes after domain names.

Entire Domain

The Internet

Top-Level Domains (TLDs)


Domain names



autos, jobmarket, travel, health

I have placed each level down and to the right to indicate the hierarchy in the chart. But in an actual URL (Uniform Resource Locator), each subdomain appears to the left of the level above, so these New York Times URLs would look like this:

That is, subdomains precede the domain name and are separated from it by a dot.

What Are Subfolders?

Subfolders are an organizational strategy for grouping material on a website, both for the webmaster and for the reader. Subfolders should aid the visitor in understanding exactly what each page is/does, with brief, evocative descriptions. Unlike subdomains, subfolders are hierarchy divisions that are placed to the right of the TLD. This is a quick way to be able to identify the different structuring methods a website is using.

For example, on the New York Times site, not all divisions are subdomain divisions. There are also subfolders, for example:

This subfolder has its own set of subfolders including: world, national, nyregion, business, technology, science, health, sports, opinion, arts, style, and real estate, and these appear to the right of the folder, pages, like this:

That is, subfolders follow the domain name and are separated from it by a dash. Subfolders of the original subfolder are also separated by a dash and placed to the right.

When to Use Subdomains and Subfolders

Subdomains are, in general, used to indicate major subdivisions of a site. When we're talking about sections of pages, major means sections that run to thousands or tens of thousands of pages. You can see from the New York Times examples given above that not every division of the website is a subdomain. Only the very large ones are, while the majority of divisions exist as subfolders.

Another reason to separate a section of a site by using a subdomain is if it has a very different function or different type of file. This includes the ability to designate individual host servers, as well as separate functions such as mail and File Transfer Protocol (FTP). For example, Google has separate subdomains for maps, video, news, groups, and images:

However, Google's International section, its Accounts section, and its Help section, are all set up as subfolders:

Subdomains are also typically used to specify a server cluster. For example, the National Education Association "higher education" (he) subfolder is on a server cluster designated www2, so its web address looks like this.

Another use for subdomains is the private sites of individuals under a larger domain. This is usually the case with free web hosting.

Another element to consider in choosing subdomains and subfolders is how a server handles subdomains and subfolders. It has been pointed out that in the Internet Information System (IIS) used by Windows servers, subdomains are treated as unique websites and can therefore have independent settings for performance, logging, authentication, etc. In this case, the choice has added significance.

Domain Names

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A domain name can be thought of as a nickname for an Internet Protocol (IP) address, a locator for websites on the World Wide Web. Rather than saying the pattern of numbers that make up the address, we can refer to it by the domain name. To understand more about domain names, keep reading.

What Is an IP Address?

An IP address is a specially formatted set of four numbers used to identify each networking device that is connected to the Internet. This includes computers, printers, routers, etc. Each of the four numbers is in the range 0–255, and is separated from its neighboring numbers by a dot. For example, an IP address often used for a router in a local area network (LAN) is

However, as you can probably imagine, referring to every website location by a number string would be not only tedious but impossible for most people because its far more difficult to remember numbers than words. Domain names is the answer to this problem.

Parts of a Domain Name

A domain name has two parts with a dot separating them. The first part of the name you choose freely from the realm of domain names that are not already registered (unless the domain name is being sold). The second is a top-level domain (TLD) that must be chosen from a small set that are offered, with the most common being .com, .net, and .org.

Pricing of Domain Names

To someone who is not familiar with the business of domain names, it may be surprising to learn that some best domain names are extremely valuable commodities which people register as an investment. People may also be surprised at the first-come-first-served rule for domain names because it makes sense that if your name is Herkimer Jones and you want to register the domain name, someone else whose name is Donald Smith or Daisy Brown shouldn't be able to register that domain name and then, if you want it, be able to set any price they like for it. But, for better or worse, that is how the domain name system works.

If a domain name hasn't yet been registered, you may be able to register it for a reasonable price, but do keep in mind that registration, unless otherwise stated, is for a year, and then the registration will need to be renewed. In November, 2008, there were domain name registrations being offered for prices from $5.95 to $9.99, but you will find differences in price, often with special TLDs like .me, .tv, and sometimes .com being priced higher than other TLDs. The sale price may or may not include an Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) fee that is attached to certain TLDs.

Uses of a Domain Name

Domain names are used by people who want to build a website, and often there's a strong, direct link between the domain name and the thrust or focus of the site. People also register a domain name to protect their trademark and avoid a situation like that of poor Herkimer Jones mentioned above.

Domain names can also be used in order to have personalized email (Herkimer might construct his as, if only he could afford to purchase it). And still others register domains to engage in a practice called "domain parking" in which a webpage with the domain is build and used for advertising. Another practice is to purchase domain names in order to auction or resell them for a profit.

Domain names have leaped the barrier from the virtual world to the real world with some businesses being known and recognized by their domain name, which is what they use as their business name. Perhaps one of the most famous of these is Domain names have become part of advertising that is heard on the radio and seen on billboards, in magazines, and on television advertisements.

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