SSL - Secure Sockets Layer

  • What is SSL?-

  • Do you serve my site over SSL/https so my google ranking will be better?-

  • How to request SSL-

    Q: What is SSL?
    What is SSL and do I need it?

    A: SSL, is shorthand for a technology called "Secure Sockets Layer".

    Secure Sockets Layer is a traditionally extremely expensive technology that encrypts the communication on the network between your website and people visiting your website. This allows communication between the two parties that is private.

    Without SSL, devices in between your website and your visitor have the potential to "see" what is being sent. Today, if your web site visitor is reading your artist biography, in theory, your ISP (someone like Comcast, or Time Warner) could also read your biography as the information flowed over their networks. And, although it almost never happens, in theory, they could even CHANGE the information. But, in practice, the risk of someone actually changing the has always been extremely tiny, as long as the site visitor was on a trustworthy network.

    So, for regular public information, like an artist's biography, non-encrypted communication has always been fine, and the traditional cost of SSL was far too much to consider using it to encrypt public information.

    But what about private information? You certainly don't want someone seeing or potentially changing your credit card information!

    That's why, in the past, websites used very expensive shared SSL sparingly and it was typically only needed for very senstive data (such as credit card information) and was mostly used only by checkout pages, financial institutions like Paypal, or traditional banks. By the way, all FASO websites have ALWAYS used shared SSL to protect ecommerce checkout pages, logged-in users, and payment pages (on Paypal).

    We call that "shared SSL" because those pages are all protected on secure domains that are "shared" by all FASO members. Domains such as https://faso.com, https://secure.fineartstudioonline.com, https://wwww.paypal.com etc.

    In the past, we had not offered CUSTOM SSL (meaning SSL on YOUR personal custom domain of artistname.com) because CUSTOM SSL was extremely difficult to enable and very, very expensive. It was also technically infeasible until the past year or two. The charges to overcome those challenges would have forced us to add hundreds of dollars a year to your bill. Put simply, the cost far exceeded the benefit and, even if we had been able to offer it, almost no artist would have wanted to use valuable funds to pay for it.

    However times have changed in the following ways:

    1. Affordable SSL options have become available in the past few months.

    2. Custom SSL implemented in a new, less expensive way, is widely supported by (almost) all web browsers now.

    3. New technology has made it easier to serve SSL pages.

    4. New technology has made it easier to obtain and renew the certificates that underpin SSL technology.

    5. Google and other search engines are starting to give more, higher, rankings to websites that are SSL Enabled.

    6. Web browsers, in the future, may start adding a small "warning" on sites that do NOT have SSL
    (this has been proposed by the people who develop Google Chrome, but none of the major web browsers have yet announced intentions to support this idea)

    Due to these changes, it makes sense to think about making communication private even on "regular" web pages like an artist's biography. After all, if it's easy and free, then why not make sure that the communication is private and that no parties in the middle can change the information being sent? Due to these changes, we expect SSL technology to be used on many more websites in the future, and not just by checkout pages and banks.

    What that means for you, the artist, once we are able to offer true custom SSL, is the following:

    Your website url would become:
    https://yourname.com/ (***notice the S)

    instead of

    And it would show a green lock in the address bar of your site visitor's browser.

    That would provide your site visitors with more privacy, position your site for the future, and, hopefully, give your site visitors even more confidence to buy your beautiful artwork!

    [from from http://faso.com/clintavo/109559/what-is-ssl]

    Last Updated: 7/19/2016 3:08:25 PM

    Permalink to this article: http://faso.com/kb/?id=476

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    Q: Do you serve my site over SSL/https so my google ranking will be better?
    Do you serve my site over SSL/https so my google ranking will be better?

    A: You may have heard that Google is going to rank sites served over https/SSL higher than regular http sites.

    Here is the url to Google's original announcement (ironically served over standard non-ssl http):

    Here is the pertinent part:
    "we're starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it's only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content"

    Notice what that it says "1% of queries" and "carries less weight than other signals such as high quality content".

    And here is what Google's John Mueller said about it recently: "I wouldn’t expect any visible change when you move from http to https, just from that change, just from SEO reasons.....[in fact]....anytime you make significant changes in your site, change the site’s URLs, you are definitely going to see some fluctuations in the short term. So you’ll likely see some drop or some changes as we recrawl and reindex everything."

    source: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-https-rankings-19228.html

    If you are concerned about your rankings, first we would suggest that you check your current rankings with Google. You may already be ranked where you want to be. Secondly, remember that even Google is putting much more weight on "high quality content" than they are on SSL. Thirdly, Google has indicated that the "ranking boost" will only affect a very tiny fewer than 1% of queries. Chances are that whether you serve your site over SSL or not will likely not make much difference at this time.

    So does FASO currently serve my site over https/SSL?

    Currently, we do not. Standard http is more performant and faster. SSL/https requires much more resources and requires the user (the artist in this case), to purchase an annual SSL certificate. In the past there has been no reason to make an artist website slower, more expensive and more complicated.

    Does this mean my info is not secure?

    Of course not! Your info IS secure. The only thing we currently serve over standard http is your public website which contains only data you, as an artist, wish the public to see anyway. You'll notice as soon as you hit our login page to log in to your FASO account, everything switches to http/SSL.

    If you can serve FASO over SSL why can't you just serve my site the same way?

    We can, if you want your site's address to be https://data.fineartstudioonline.com.....

    In all seriousness, the reason is that in the past each domain served over SSL needs it's OWN ip address and it's own SSL certificate. That's why it added so much complication and expense. There are some more modern ways of doing it that are becoming available which may be why Google is making this move now. Unfortunately, the modern ways of doing SSL are unsupported by Windows XP and early versions of Android, so may not be an option until Windows XP and older OS usage falls even further.

    Do you plan to offer SSL in the future?

    Yes! We have been investigating ways to offer SSL in a way that is simple for our artist customers. In fact, we are currently testing solutions. We are not 100% sure how much expense it will add to the monthly charges, but are investigating several solutions and working to bring you the simplest and affordable solution possible.

    Last Updated: 7/19/2016 3:11:43 PM

    Permalink to this article: http://faso.com/kb/?id=478

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    Q: How to request SSL
    How do I request SSL on my site?

    A: You can request SSL for your site - here is how:

    1. login to your FASO Account control panel
    2. click 'Secure your website with Free 1-Click Custom SSL' - left column, under Domains
    3. Click the button that says 'Request SSL'

    It can take up to 5 business days to enable it. Here's how to check on the status:

    1. login to your FASO Control Panel
    2. click on gear icon - top right
    3. click Account Settings
    4. click Labs - lower left
    5. click SSL


    But what if you have more than one domain your FASO Website?
    Good news! All FASO Domains also come with a Free SSL Certificate. There are no charges over and above the normal $15/year for each additional domain. In addition, the steps to implement SSL are always the same as outlined above. If you have more than one eligible domain, when you request SSL, we'll simply get SSL certificates for ALL your domains. If you've already installed SSL and later request an additional domain, simply repeat the same steps above again, and we'll add any new domains to your SSL deployment.
    The only time a domain is NOT eligible for FASO SSL is if you have already used the 1st Free SSL certificate that comes with your site, and have additional domains elsewhere that are NOT registered via FASO. In that case, those domains would need to be transferred to FASO to become eligible.

    What if I want to obtain my own third-party SSL Certificate?
    While we don't see a reason for artists to pay extra for an SSL Certificate when we provide one at no charge, we understand that you may have your own reasons for wanting one. We don't currently support installing third-party SSL Certificates on a FASO Website. However, we do plan to add support for third-party SSL Certificates after we finish the roll-out of our Free FASO-provided certificates.

    Last Updated: 10/4/2016 12:42:51 PM

    Permalink to this article: http://faso.com/kb/?id=481

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