While shopping for an Ecommerce host, you might have stumbled upon the term “shared SSL” as an option in the lower-cost hosting plans. Because SSL is so important for ecommerce, it is imperative that you understand what shared SSL is and how it differs from a private SSL certificate signed by a trusted authority.
Essentially, users with shared IP hosting accounts are all hosted on a server and share the same IP address. The web host will get one SSL certificate for that IP address and allow its hosting customers on that server to use it without any additional charge. Usually, the URL will reflect the host’s domain rather than the customer’s. It might look something like: https://sites.thehostingcompany.tld/~username.
Just like normal SSL, a shared SSL certificate provides secure encryption for any transactions handled while using it. The disadvantage of it is that it does not meet one of the requirements for full secure SSL: that the certificate authority matches the domain. As a result, your site’s visitors might be warned that the certificate cannot be fully trusted.
For private SSL, you will need to have a dedicated IP address for your domain name. Many web hosts will charge extra for this, although it is often included in business hosting plans. Like shared SSL, you get the security and trusted encryption, but unlike shared SSL, you also get a signed certificate that will show up as trusted in all modern browsers. This is certainly a better choice if you plan to sell items online.
For personal logins like your control panel, content management system backend and anything else involving your internal private information, a shared SSL certificate might be all you need. For any public transactions where you want the user’s trust, you should pay the extra money for a private SSL certificate.