Tag Archives: browser

URL vs. Domain

The post URL vs. Domain appeared first on HostGator Blog . It’s time to get your dream domain name and start building your very first website. But, there’s only one issue. There are so many different technical terms; it can be challenging to figure out what you need and what you don’t need before you can begin with your domain registration. There are a lot of technical steps you’ll need to take to lay the foundation for your online presence. With each of these steps come dozens of technical terms, ready to trip you up. Two of those you’ve probably come across are a domain name and a URL. Often, you’ll see these referring to the same thing, but they’re actually different things.  Don’t worry. This post will clear up all the differences and similarities between URLs vs. domain names, so you can get on finding a domain name and building out your new site.  Below you’ll learn about the differences between a URL vs. domain names, why they’re used, and their different applications, so that you can set up your domain and website the right way. Let’s dig in! What Is a URL? URL stands for Universal Resource Locator, but you almost always hear it being referred to as a URL. When you look up at your browser address bar, you’ll see the entire URL is displayed. It includes all of the information necessary to locate the right page on a website.  For example, the entire URL for this blog is https://www.hostgator.com/blog/url-vs-domain/  You’ll notice that the domain name (hostgator.com) is included in the URL. But, it’s just one piece of the entire URL. You can think of the URL as a map that your browser can follow to access the right page, resource, or image on the web server.  The critical components of a URL include a domain extension or Top Level Domain (TLD), a domain name, and the Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which is ‘https://.’  What Is a Domain Name? A domain name might seem simple, but it’s not that easy of a thing, especially if you’re just getting started online. Domain names exist to make the websites more accessible to you and your visitors.  Put simply, a domain name is the address that you’ll type in the address bar to access a website. For example, the domain name for this website is hostgator.com , while the domain name for Google is google.com . Domain names are a critical part of your online brand and should be memorable to your visitors.  To have a website that’s accessible by regular web users, you need a domain name and a host. When a visitor types in your domain name into their address bar, the web browser will communicate with the host that the domain points towards and will serve the visitor the associated website. If that sounds a little complex, let’s look at this example: Think of your domain name as your cell phone number. When someone wants to reach you, they dial your number, and you hear it ring on your physical phone. In this scenario, your phone number is the domain, and your cell phone is your website.  You can also purchase a domain name without actually building an associated website. Some people make a living by buying and selling domain names in a process known as domain flipping.  Understanding Domain Name Organization Now that you have a better grasp on what a domain name is, let’s look at some of the individual pieces that make up a domain name. The most common point of confusion is the Top Level Domain (TLD) , or domain extension. This is the .com, .org, or .net that follows your domain. You might have thought up your dream domain name, but when you search to see if it’s available, you find that your TLD of choice isn’t available . Generally, .com, .org, and .net are the most popular and widely used domain extensions. But, you also have TLDs that relate to specific local markets and countries like .co.uk, .ca, and .com.au.  During your domain name search, you’ll also see that there are dozens of other TLDs available. Generally, you’ll want to stick with the ones that are most popular and avoid ones that are associated with less trusted websites, like .info. But, it’s up to your discretion. Some websites even prefer to use fun and unique TLDs , because it makes sense with their branding.  Regardless, whenever you’re purchasing a domain name, it’s a smart move to purchase any of the other popular TLDs that are available. This secures your brand online, protecting you from the fearsome scenario of your competitor building a site on ‘yoursite. net ’ when your domain name is ‘yoursite. com .’ What Is the Domain Name System? Another related term you’ve probably come across is the Domain Name System (DNS). This is how domain names and IP addresses are translated. When you type a domain name into a browser, the DNS will translate that domain into the IP address of the web server where the website files are located.  This is one of the main reasons that domain names exist, to make it possible to access websites with easily memorable names. Before the DNS system you’d have to remember the IP address of any given website if you wanted to access a site.  The DNS system makes it so we can type ‘ hostgator.com ’ into our browsers and visit this site, instead of having to type in a complex and difficult to remember string of numbers.  How Subdomains Relate to Domain Names One of the final aspects of a domain name is subdomains. These can get a little confusing, especially if it’s your first time building a website. Essentially, a subdomain is an additional part of your primary domain name. Subdomains are commonly used to help separate and organize certain parts of your website. A subdomain will come before your primary domain name, like the blog in ‘ blog.mysite.com .’ You can create as many subdomains as you like for your primary domain.  For example, you can access the support resources here at HostGator by navigating to ‘ support.hostgator.com .’ Subdomains are used for a variety of reasons, but here are some of the common reasons why you might create a subdomain : To sell eCommerce products. Since eCommerce stores require different levels of security and software than a standard website, you might use a subdomain to create a separate online store that’s still linked to your primary domain.  To separate your blog. A lot of startups and other online businesses keep their blogs on a subdomain. This allows you to use a separate CMS to manage content , that you might not have installed on your main website.  To create a site staging area. If you’re redesigning your site, you can create a subdomain that you can use to build your site on. Likewise, if you’re a developer, you can create separate subdomains as you’re building out client websites, so you can showcase your work as you build their sites.  To create a resource section. A lot of sites will create separate resource and support sections that are separate from the rest of their sites. If you’re creating a lot of content that serves a different purpose than a blog, or the rest of your website copy, then this can help you better structure the content.  URL vs. Domain: The Key Similarities A domain name is contained within a URL. Although the URL is the whole and a domain is just a part of it, there are some similarities that the two share. Here are the two most significant commonalities you’ll find between domains and URLs: 1. They’re Treated the Same By Your Web Browser Although a URL and a domain name have different technical definitions, they are treated the same way by your browser. For example, if you type in ‘ https://hostgator.com ’, it will send you to the same page as it would if you typed in simply ‘ hostgator.com .’ However, to access the site, you’ll need the TLD as well as the domain name, so regardless of which one you type in, you’ll arrive at ‘ https://www.hostgator.com/ .’  2. They’re Part of the Same Web Address A domain name is a singular aspect of a full URL. So, you could say they’re in the same family.  For example, when you tell a friend your house address, you’d probably say 1234 Highland Ave. From that information alone, your friend could infer the city, state, and zip code of your address. It’s not a perfect example, but a full URL contains the domain name within it.  The same goes for communicating the name of a website. When you’re telling someone the name of a website you’ll generally say the domain name and TLD, e.g.  ‘ bestpuppiesintheworld.com .’ You wouldn’t share the entire URL, including the https and the www , even though they both lead to the same place.  URL vs. Domain: The Key Differences Even though you might find that the terms URL and domain name are used interchangeably online, they aren’t the same thing. Here are the two main differences between a domain name and a URL. 1. A URL is a Complete Web Address A URL is a complete internet address which can locate a specific domain or an individual page on a given domain. It provides the web browser with all of the information necessary to identify and display a given page, resource, or piece of media, like an image.  A domain name, on the other hand, is a simpler form of a URL, and is used in place of a technical IP address. Its role is to make it easier to access a given website. Domain names are brandable and can also refer to a business name as well.  2. A URL Provides More Information A domain name is just a single aspect of a URL. Without the rest of the technical elements of a URL, a domain name isn’t incredibly valuable. For example, if you only type of the domain name into your web browser, you’ll end up doing a keyword search for that domain name. You can still access the site, but you’ll have to comb through the search results first.  A URL is the complete pathway and provides all of the information necessary to access a given website.  The Importance of Understanding the Differences Between URLs and Domains Hopefully, by now, you have a better understanding of domain names and URLs, how they’re related, and the differences they have.  Understanding how your website, URL, and domain name all work together might not seem like a big deal. But, this knowledge gives you power. It’s like knowing how to accomplish basic car-related tasks, such as changing your oil or replacing your windshield wiper blades, makes you feel like a more confident car owner (as it should).  The more you understand how your website and domain work together, the better you’ll be able to fix minor issues and ensure your site always remains online. You become more self-sufficient with your website, and don’t have to rely on support whenever you run into a small issue with your site.  For example, if your website isn’t showing up, then it might be an issue with your DNS records not pointing to the correct location. Or, you could have even spelled your domain wrong when adding it to your host.  Beyond general website troubleshooting having more in-depth knowledge about your website and how it works is always a good thing. Hopefully, you’re better equipped to choose a web hosting package, register new domains , add redirects, and even start playing around with subdomains. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

Posted in HostGator, Hosting, VodaHost | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on URL vs. Domain

How to Secure a Website from Hackers [10 Step Guide]

The post How to Secure a Website from Hackers [10 Step Guide] appeared first on HostGator Blog . As a website owner, is there anything more terrifying than the thought of seeing all of your work altered or entirely wiped out by a nefarious hacker? We see data breaches and hacks in the news all the time. And you may think, why would someone come after my small business website? But hacks don’t just happen to the big guys. One report found that small businesses were the victims of 43% of all data breaches.  You’ve worked hard on your website (and your brand) – so it’s important to take the time to protect it with these basic hacker protection tips. 5 Easy Steps to Secure Your Website from Hackers You may have worried when starting this post that it would be full of technical jargon that your average website owner would find baffling. Some of our tips further down do get technical, and you may want to bring in your developer for those. But there are a few things you can do on your own first that don’t involve that much technical know-how.  Step #1: Install security plugins. If you built your website with a content management system (CMS) , you can enhance your website security with plugins that actively prevent website hacking attempts. Each of the main CMS options have security plugins available, many of them for free. Security plugins for WordPress: iThemes Security  Bulletproof Security  Sucuri Wordfence fail2Ban Security options for Magento: Amasty Watchlog Pro MageFence Security extensions for Joomla: JHackGuard jomDefender RSFirewall Antivirus Website Protection These options address the security vulnerabilities that are inherent in each platform, foiling additional types of hacking attempts that could threaten your website. In addition, all websites – whether you’re running a CMS-managed site or HTML pages – can benefit from considering SiteLock .  SiteLock goes above and beyond simply closing site security loopholes by providing daily monitoring for everything from malware detection to vulnerability identification to active virus scanning and more. If your business relies on its website, SiteLock is definitely an investment worth considering. Note: Our Managed WordPress hosting plan has SiteLock built in, along with other features to help secure your site. Step #2: Use HTTPS As a consumer, you may already know to always look for the green lock image and https in your browser bar any time you provide sensitive information to a website. Those five little letters are an important shorthand for hacker security: they signal that it’s safe to provide financial information on that particular webpage. An SSL certificate is important because it secures the transfer of information – such as credit cards, personal data, and contact information – between your website and the server. While an SSL certificate has always been essential for ecommerce websites, having one has recently become important for all websites. In July 2018,  Google Chrome released a security update that alerts website visitors if your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate installed. That makes visitors more likely to bounce, even if your website doesn’t collect sensitive information.  Search engines are taking website security more seriously than ever because they want users to have a positive and safe experience browsing the web. Taking the commitment to security further, a search engine may rank your website lower in search results if you don’t have an SSL certificate. What does that mean for you? If you want people to trust your brand, you need to invest in an SSL certificate . The cost of an SSL certificate is minimal, but the extra level of encryption it offers to your customers goes a long way to making your website more secure and trustworthy. At HostGator, we also take website security seriously, but most importantly, we want to make it easy for you to be secure. All HostGator web hosting packages come with a free SSL certificate. The SSL certificate will be automatically applied to your account, but you do need to take a few steps to install the free SSL certificate on your website.  Step #3: Keep your website platform and software up-to-date Using a CMS with various useful plugins and extensions offers a lot of benefits, but it also brings risk. The leading cause of website infections is vulnerabilities in a content management system’s extensible components.  Because many of these tools are created as open-source software programs, their code is easily accessible – to both good-intentioned developers as well as malicious hackers. Hackers can pore over this code, looking for security vulnerabilities that allow them to take control of your website by exploiting any platform or script weaknesses. To protect your website from being hacked, always make sure your content management system, plugins, apps, and any scripts you’ve installed are up-to-date.  If you’re running a website built on WordPress, you can check whether you’re up to date quickly when logging into your WordPress dashboard. Look for the update icon in the top left corner next to your site name. Click the number to access your WordPress Updates. Step #4: Make sure your passwords are secure This one seems simple, but it’s so important. It’s tempting to go with a password you know will always be easy for you to remember. That’s why the #1 most common password is still 123456. You have to do better than that – a lot better than that to prevent login attempts from hackers and other outsiders. Make the effort to figure out a truly secure password (or use HostGator’s password generator).  Make it long. Use a mix of special characters, numbers, and letters. And steer clear of potentially easy-to-guess keywords like your birthday or kid’s name. If a hacker somehow gains access to other information about you, they’ll know to guess those first. Holding yourself to a high standard for password security is step one. You also need to make sure everyone who has access to your website has similarly strong passwords. One weak password within your team can make your website susceptible to a data breach , so set expectations with everyone who has access. Institute requirements for all website users in terms of length and types of characters. If your employees want to use easy passwords for their less secure accounts, that’s their business. But when it comes to your website, it’s your business (literally) and you can hold them to a higher standard.  Step #5: Invest in automatic backups. Even if you do everything else on this list, you still face some risk. The worst-case scenario of a website hack is to lose everything because you forgot to back your website up. The best way to protect yourself is to make sure you always have a recent backup. While a data breach will be stressful no matter what, when you have a current backup, recovering is much easier. You can make a habit out of manually backing your website up daily or weekly. But if there’s even the slightest chance you’ll forget, invest in automatic backups . It’s a cheap way to buy peace of mind.  5 Advanced Steps to Secure Your Website from Hackers All of the above steps are relatively painless, even for website owners with minimal technical experience. This second half of the list gets a little more complicated, and you may want to call a developer or IT consultant to help you out.  Step #6: Take precautions when accepting file uploads through your site. When anyone has the option to upload something to your website, they could abuse the privilege by loading a malicious file, overwriting one of the existing files important to your website, or uploading a file so large it brings your whole website down.  If possible, simply don’t accept any file uploads through your website. Many small business websites can get by without offering the option of file uploads at all. If that describes you, you can skip everything else in this step.   But eliminating file uploads isn’t an option for all websites. Some types of businesses, like accountants or healthcare providers, need to give customers a way to securely provide documents.  If you need to allow file uploads, take a few steps to make sure you protect yourself: Create a whitelist of allowed file extensions. By specifying which types of files you’ll accept, you keep suspicious file types out. Use file type verification. Hackers try to sneakily get around whitelist filters by renaming documents with a different extension than the document type actually is, or adding dots or spaces to the filename.  Set a maximum file size. Avoid distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by rejecting any files over a certain size.  Scan files for malware. Use antivirus software to check all files before opening. Automatically rename files upon upload. Hackers won’t be able to re-access their file if it has a different name when they go looking for it.  Keep the upload folder outside of the webroot. This keeps hackers from being able to access your website through the file they upload. These steps can remove most of the vulnerabilities inherent in allowing file uploads to your website.  Step #7: Use parameterized queries SQL injections are one of the most common website hacks many sites fall victim to. SQL injections can come into play if you have a web form or URL parameter that allows outside users to supply information. If you leave the parameters of the field too open, someone could insert code into them that allows access to your database. It’s important to protect your site from this because of the amount of sensitive customer information that can be held in your database. There are a number of steps you can take to protect your website from SQL injection hacks; one of the most important and easiest to implement is the use of parameterized queries. Using parameterized queries ensures your code has specific enough parameters so that there’s no room for a hacker to mess with them. Step #8: Use CSP Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks are another common threat site owners have to be on the lookout for. Hackers find a way to slip malicious JavaScript code onto your pages, which can then infect the device of any website visitors exposed to the code. Part of the fight to protect your site from XSS attacks is similar to the parameterized queries for SQL injections. Make sure any code you use on your website for functions or fields that allow input are as explicit as possible in what’s allowed, so you’re not leaving room for anything to slip in. Content Security Policy (CSP) is another handy tool that can help protect your site from XSS. CSP allows you to specify which domains a browser should consider valid sources of executable scripts when on your page. The browser will then know not to pay attention to any malicious script or malware that might infect your site visitor’s computer. Using CSP involves adding the proper HTTP header to your webpage that provides a string of directives that tells the browser which domains are ok and any exceptions to the rule.  You can find details on crafting CSP headers for your website here . Step #9: Lock down your directory and file permissions All websites can be boiled down to a series of files and folders that are stored on your web hosting account.  Besides containing all of the scripts and data needed to make your website work, each of these files and folders is assigned a set of permissions that controls who can read, write, and execute any given file or folder, relative to the user they are or the group to which they belong. On the Linux operating system, permissions are viewable as a three-digit code where each digit is an integer between 0-7. The first digit represents permissions for the owner of the file, the second for anyone assigned to the group that owns the file, and the third for everyone else.  The assignations work as follows: 4 equals Read 2 equals Write 1 equals Execute 0 equals no permissions for that user As an example, take the permission code “644.”  In this case, a “6” (or “4+2”) in the first position gives the file’s owner the ability to read and write the file.  The “4” in the second and third positions means that both group users and internet users at large can read the file only – protecting the file from unexpected manipulations. So, a file with “777” (or 4+2+1 / 4+2+1 / 4+2+1) permissions is readable, write-able, and executable by the user, the group, and everyone else in the world. As you might expect, a file that is assigned a permission code that gives anyone on the web the ability to write and execute it is much less secure than one which has been locked down in order to reserve all rights for the owner alone.  Of course, there are valid reasons to open up access to other groups of users (anonymous FTP upload, as one example), but these instances must be carefully considered in order to avoid creating a website security risk. For this reason, a good rule of thumb is to set your permissions as follows: Folders and directories = 755 Individual files = 644 To set your file permissions, log in to your cPanel’s File Manager or connect to your server via FTP.  Once inside, you’ll see a list of your existing file permissions (as in the following example generated using the Filezilla FTP program): The final column in this example displays the folder and file permissions currently assigned to the website’s content.  To change these permissions in Filezilla, simply right click the folder or file in question and select the “File permissions” option.  Doing so will launch a screen that allows you to assign different permissions using a series of checkboxes: Although your web host’s or FTP program’s backend might look slightly different, the basic process for changing permissions remains the same. Our support portal has solutions for how to modify your folder and file permissions . #10 Keep your error messages simple (but still helpful).  Detailed error messages can be helpful internally to help you identify what’s going wrong so you know how to fix it. But when those error messages are displayed to outside visitors, they can reveal sensitive information that tells a potential hacker exactly where your website’s vulnerabilities are.  Be very careful what information you provide in an error message, so you’re not providing information that helps a bad actor hack you. Keep your error messages simple enough that they don’t inadvertently reveal too much. But avoid ambiguity as well , so your visitors can still learn enough information from the error message to know what to do next.  Protecting Your Website from Hackers Securing your site and learning how to protect against hackers is a big part of keeping your site healthy and safe in the long run! Don’t procrastinate taking these important steps.  At HostGator, we have created a set of custom mod security rules to aid in the protection of your website. If you’re looking for a new hosting provider, you can click here to sign up for a great deal. For new accounts, we’ll even transfer you for free! After you’ve created an account, you just need to fill out the form here . Don’t worry about getting tripped up in the process. HostGator has world-class support available around the clock! Our customer support specialists are available 24/7/365 via email ticket, chat, or phone. We can help you get secure! Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

Posted in HostGator, Hosting, php, VodaHost | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How to Secure a Website from Hackers [10 Step Guide]

How to Build Your WordPress Website [Step by Step Guide]

The post How to Build Your WordPress Website [Step by Step Guide] appeared first on HostGator Blog . You’ve decided to build a website. Whether you’re building a site for your physical business, a personal project or you’re gearing up to launch your own online business, then this post is for you. Luckily, you’re reading this today and not ten years ago. Technology and the internet move so fast, that once impossible or laborious tasks can be done in a single afternoon. The same can be said for building your website. Back in the old days of the web, before content management systems, and beginner-friendly website builders existed you’d have to code every aspect of your website yourself. If you didn’t possess the ability to code or didn’t want to learn, then you’d be out of luck. Unless you had the budget to pay a professional of course. But, today’s web is much different. Anyone with the desire to build a website can go from no website to a published website in a single day. Below you’ll learn everything that you’ll need in order to build your first website, including a variety of website building tools you can consider using. The most difficult thing you’ll face isn’t actually building your site but choosing which approach to take. 1. Choose the Right Platform Like we just mentioned you have a ton of different options for actually building your website. Choosing the right approach is important and might be one of the most time-intensive parts of the process. For example, you can build your site entirely from scratch, using languages like HTML, CSS, and more. You can use a website builder to drag and drop your way towards creating a basic website. Or, you can rely upon a CMS to provide you with a customizable framework to build your site from. The best options for beginners are using a website builder or an intuitive CMS like WordPress. If your plan is to build out a fairly basic website, then using a website builder will be the easiest course of action. Website builders are designed with complete beginners in mind. With these the process is simple: You pick a website builder Choose a payment plan for your site and traffic needs Add your domain Select a theme or template Customize your site Publish it live on the internet! If you’re going to take this approach, then consider using the HostGator website builder. If you’re already a HostGator customer and want to create a simple site, then this is a no-brainer. For those with more complex site requirements, then WordPress is the way to go. With WordPress, your customization options are nearly unlimited. Plus, it’s built to help you create content and get the most out of your site. Nearly every single host will let you quickly install WordPress in a couple of clicks. And even though it’s a more complex platform the learning curve is very small, making WordPress an ideal choice for beginners. For the sake of this walkthrough, we’re going to assume you went with WordPress as the CMS you’re going to use to build your site.   2. Secure Your Domain Name and Host In order to have any site live on the Internet, you’re going to need a domain name and host. Without a domain name there’s no way for people to access your site, and without a host, there’s no place to store the files that make up your website. There are ways to get a free domain name and hosting, like using a subdomain of a larger site, like “yoursite.wordpress.com”. However, this doesn’t look very professional, and you’ll have a hard time building a following without a professional domain name. Same goes for purchasing your own hosting. There are a ton of different options to choose from, but for those building their first sites, a basic shared hosting plan will suit you just fine. In time you may want to upgrade your package, but there’s no need to complicate things from the start. With shared hosting, you’re sharing server resources with other sites using the same server. This effectively spits costs between a ton of different users, so your monthly bill will be very low. Like anything online, there are multiple ways you can secure your domain name and hosting. You can spend time researching all your available options, or to keep things simple, just follow the process below. Here’s how you can purchase a shared hosting plan from HostGator. First, head over to this page and select your plan. On the next screen you’ll be asked to enter more information, and even have the option to add a domain name . Complete the steps, enter your payment information, and you’re all set. If you have an existing domain name, then you’ll have to point it towards your new host. You also have the option to purchase your domain name from another provider entirely. However, if you’re already purchasing hosting from HostGator it’s much easier to add a domain to your order.   3. Install Your CMS on Your Host With your hosting and domain name taken care of, it’s time to install WordPress. Most beginner hosts make this easy by including software that lets you install your CMS of choice with a few clicks. Instead of having to download your CMS yourself and upload it to yourself, this software will automate all of those technical tasks. To do this we’re going to need to access your server. If you went with a host like HostGator, then we’ll be doing this with a tool called cPanel. This software is installed on your server and makes it incredibly easy to manage your server environment. Here’s how to do it: First, log in to your server via your control panel. You should have been provided your login link, along with your username and password when you signed up. Next, locate a tool called ‘QuickInstall’. You’ll see that there are numerous other content management systems you can install, but for this tutorial, we’re going to be using WordPress. So, select ‘WordPress’, enter your relevant site details and click ‘Install’. Once the installer is finished WordPress will be installed on your site. Just a few more steps and your site will be ready for the world.   4. Choose Your Theme WordPress will form the foundation of your site. But, in order to make any customizations to how your site looks you’re going to need to install a WordPress theme. Essentially, a theme is a collection of files that determine how your site looks and functions. You can think of WordPress as the foundation and scaffolding for your house—it’s basic structure. While your theme is the color your home, your wood floors—what it looks like. Since the WordPress ecosystem is so large you’ll have thousands of different themes to choose from (and that’s just including the free themes). There are also premium themes that provide you with even greater functionality, features, support, and a lot more. Premium themes generally look and function better than paid themes, have higher-quality code, and have dedicated support teams behind them. The cool thing about WordPress is that you can switch up themes at any time. It won’t have any effect on your existing blog posts, pages, and other media. If you’ve done a lot of customizing it might not display properly, but your content isn’t going anywhere. Here’s how you can select and install a theme on your site: From the backend of your WordPress dashboard navigate to Appearance> Themes . Then click the button that says ‘Add New’. Here you’ll be able to browse the massive selection of free WordPress themes or even search for a theme. Once you’ve found a theme that you like hover over it and click ‘Install’, then ‘Activate’. Now you’ll be able to customize your theme to your liking. If you want to use a Premium theme, then the installation process will be a little different. First, you’ll need to purchase and download a theme. There are dozens of places you can purchase high-quality themes online, including: Elegant Themes StudioPress ThemeForest Once you purchase and download your theme you’ll have a .zip file that contains all of the theme’s files. Now, you’re going to upload this file to WordPress. Navigate to Appearance> Themes , then select ‘Add New’. On the next screen select ‘Upload Theme’, then either drag and drop or locate the .zip file on your computer. WordPress will then upload and install your theme, just click ‘Activate’ and you’re all set.   If you want to more features to your site, then you’ll be relying on the nearly endless library of WordPress plugins . There’s a wide variety of both free and premium plugins that can help you add whatever features you desire to your site. To install any plugins navigate to Plugins> Add New . Here you can browse by popular plugins, recommended plugins, or search for a plugin you’ve found online.   5. Customize Your Site By now you’ve gotten your domain name and hosting, installed WordPress, selected your theme, and maybe even installed a few plugins. Now is where the fun really begins—it’s time to customize your site. The first thing you’ll want to do is create a few necessary pages. Home page Contact page About page Blog page Depending on your site there are probably additional pages you’ll want to create as well, like a services page, resource page, or anything else really. Adding pages to your WordPress site is very easy. Once you’re in the backend of your site navigate to Pages> Add New . This will open up a screen where you can add a page to your site. Just add your title, text, any images, or media, then click ‘Publish’. If you want to add any blogs to your site, then you’ll be following a similar process. Click on Posts> Add New , and you’ll be taken to a screen that looks nearly identical to the page editor. Write your blog post and click ‘Publish’. The approach you take to customize your theme depends upon what theme you’re using. For example, your theme might have its own customization options which you’ll control from a different tab. If you’ve purchased a premium theme, then check the documentation that came with your theme to see how to make customizations. However, you’ll also be able to make general customizations by navigating to Appearance> Customize . On this screen, you’ll be able to do things like change your site’s color scheme, header elements, menus, general theme settings and a lot more.   6. Launch! Once you’re satisfied with how your site looks and functions it’s time to launch your site. If you’ve done everything above then your site should already be online! Just type in your URL to the browser and you should see your site live. If you want to build out your site without people being able to see it in an unfinished state, then you might want to use a coming soon, or maintenance mode plugin. To do this you can install a plugin like ‘Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd’. Head over to Plugins> Add New , then search for ‘coming soon seedpod’. Then, install a plugin that looks like the one below: Once you’ve activated the plugin head over to Settings> Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode , here you’ll be able to customize the appearance of your coming soon page. Then, when you’re ready to launch just make sure to disable the plugin.   Closing Thoughts Building your website isn’t as difficult as it once was. If you followed the steps above you’ll be on your way towards having a fully functional website live on the web. Note that there are multiple approaches you can take, some are easier than others. For example, if you’re already using HostGator hosting, then one of the simplest options will be using the bundled website builder. This tool is very straightforward and intuitive to use and is equipped with a variety of templates to suit your needs. For those looking to create a more robust website, then consider using WordPress. This widely used CMS is the foundation for a lot of the largest and highly-trafficked sites on the entire Internet. With its flexibility and ease of use, you can create whatever style of site you desire. The route you choose is up to you. Just make sure you take stock of your needs, current skills, and overall goals of your site before you choose the best approach for building out your site. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

Posted in HostGator, Hosting, VodaHost | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How to Build Your WordPress Website [Step by Step Guide]

What Is a Domain Name Registrar?

The post What Is a Domain Name Registrar? appeared first on HostGator Blog . Every website you visit online has a domain name, which means that every website owner went through the process of buying and registering that domain name. It’s one of the first necessary steps involved in starting a new website, along with getting web hosting and building out your site . And it’s a step that requires working with a domain registrar .   What Is a Domain Registrar? A domain registrar, sometimes called a DNS registrar (short for domain name server), is a business that sells domain names and handles the business of registering them. Domain names are the main address a website uses on the web—they’re the thing that usually starts with www and most often ends with .com. While technically, computers identify websites with a different sort of address—an IP address that’s a long string of numbers separated by periods (e.g.—humans wouldn’t be much good at remembering and using that kind of address. So for us, websites also have an address made up of alphanumeric letters, that usually spell out a word or brand name. And there’s a specific type of process behind how people claim domain names. There are registries that manage the different top-level domain s. The registries are large, centralized databases with information about which domain names have been claimed and by who. But the registries don’t sell the names directly, they delegate that job to DNS registrars. Registrars must be accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Then, each time they sell a domain to a customer, they’re expected to register it with the appropriate registry by updating a record with your information.   Domain Registration FAQs For the most part, this process happens behind the scenes for website owners. Part of the service a good domain name registrar provides is making the process of finding, buying , and managing a domain (or multiple) simple and intuitive. You don’t have to know how the sausage is made, but if you’re curious to learn more, we’ve got the answers to the most common questions about domain name registrars. What is the role of a domain name registrar? The domain name registrar handles the process of updating the registry when a customer purchases a new domain name. As part of that, they keep track of which domain names are available and typically provide customers with an intuitive search tool to find out what options they have. They handle the financial transaction with the customer, and provide the tools needed to maintain the domain name subscription over time. You can’t buy a domain name outright, you can only rent it for up to ten years at a time. DNS registrars usually provide the option of annual renewals or multi-year subscriptions, sometimes offering a discount for registering the name for a longer period of time upfront. Domain registrars will often provide a user account where you can keep up with your domain registration status, and features like automatic renewal or email reminders. What is a domain registrant? That’s you! Well, assuming that you, the person reading this, is planning to buy a domain name or already has one. Once you take the step of selecting and purchasing a domain name from a domain registrar, you become the domain registrant. And the title will continue to apply for as long as you keep up your domain subscription. In most contexts though, people are more likely to call a “domain registrant” a domain owner , or a website owner once their site is up. What is a domain registry? A domain registry is the database that includes all the information about a specific top-level domain (TLD). The term is also sometimes used to refer to the organization that manages the database, as well as the database itself.    Domain registries have relationships with domain registrars, who submit domain name registration requests and record updates to them on behalf of customers. One of the biggest examples of a domain registry is Verisign , which manages the databases for several of the most common TLDs, including .com, .net, .gov, and .edu. What is private domain name registration? Part of the domain registration process includes providing the registrant’s information to the database of domain owners. In addition to the domain registries, the WHOIS directory tracks information on every website domain that’s registered, who owns it, and their main contact information. That’s because someone needs to be able to identify website owners who use their site for illegal purposes. But in our age of high-profile data breaches and growing concern around internet privacy issues, not every website owner wants to put their name and contact information out on the open web. And it shouldn’t be a requirement for running a website. Thanks to the private domain name registration options now offered by many DNS registrants, it’s not. Domain registrars usually charge a little more in order to shield you from having your own name and information included in the directory. They provide enough contact information to the WHOIS to keep you on the right side of the law, typically an email address associated with the registrant’s company, and keep the rest of it private. What is a domain name server? We talked earlier about how computers don’t use domain names to recognize website addresses, they use IP addresses. Domain name servers are the technology that translates between the two. The domain name system is the protocol established to ensure machines exchange the right data for the average internet viewer to see the correct webpage when they type a domain name into their browser or click on a link. Domain name servers play an important role in that system, storing all the information required to connect a specific domain name address to the correct IP address. Each time a computer queries a domain name server for a particular domain name, it finds the appropriate IP address to serve up. How do I register a new domain name? Now that we’ve covered much of the back-end technical stuff, you’re probably wondering how this all translates into what you, a would-be website owner, need to do to get the domain name that you want for your site. Luckily, the process for you is pretty easy. Start by finding a domain registrant you want to work with (more on how to do that in a bit). Most of them make it easy to search for available names, see the different top-level domain options you can consider, and go through the purchasing process. Provide your name, contact, and payment information through a secure form on the registrar’s website, and you should be set! How do I find an available domain name? This part can be trickier. With billions of websites already out there, all of them with a unique domain name, a lot of your options are already taken. Finding an available domain name that’s easy to remember and describes what your website does can take some work and creativity. Expect to spend some time using your domain registrar’s domain name search tool . Try out different variations on the names you have in mind. Consider synonyms and creative spellings. While a .com is usually the easiest option for visitors to remember, consider if you’re willing to go with another top-level domain like .website or .biz. The TLDs that aren’t as common will have more domain name options available. What is a top-level domain? A top-level domain is the last part of the domain that follows a period, such as .com or .net. ICANN controls which TLDs are available, and used to be pretty strict about opening up new ones. Early on, most specialty TLDs related to a specific industry, type of website, or geographic location. For example, .com was for commercial businesses, .gov for government websites, and .org for nonprofit websites. But as the internet has grown, the need for more available domain names has caused ICANN to lift the restrictions on how many TLDs are available, and who can use different ones. As such, when you do a domain name search on your chosen registrar’s website, you’ll see an array of TLD options at different price points. If the name you want isn’t available as a .com, you may be able to get it for cheaper at a .us or .site TLD address. How does domain name transfer work? When you choose a domain registrar to purchase your domain name with, you don’t have to make a long-term commitment to working with them. You have the option of switching over to a different registrar down the line, although you have to wait at least 60 days, due to an ICANN policy designed to reduce domain hijacking. If you’re past that sixty day point, you can transfer your domain name to a new provider by unlocking your domain name at your current registrar, disabling any other privacy protections such as WHOIS domain name privacy, and obtaining a domain authorization code from your current registrar. Once that’s done, follow the domain transfer steps provided by the new registrar you’re switching to. For HostGator, you can start the domain name transfer process here .    What to Look for in a Domain Registrar Now that you know all the ins and outs of what a domain registrar is and how domain registration works, you’re probably ready to find a good domain registrar and get started. You have a lot of different options. Some companies only provide domain registration services. Others, like HostGator, offer domain registration along with other services like web hosting, so you can take care of multiple basic website needs all under one account. With so many options to choose from, you need to know what to look for. Here are some of the most important factors to consider. 1. Pricing Some of the cost of registering a new domain name is related to the name you choose. In particular, different top-level domains come at different prices. But you’ll also see some variety in what different companies charge. When considering the pricing of different domain registrars, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind, First, the prices advertised are generally for a one-year time period, but you should check to be sure. A domain name isn’t a one-time purchase, you have to plan on continuing to pay for as long as you keep your website. You want to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, and not putting one company’s one-year price against the price another advertises for a longer period. Also, it’s fairly normal for companies to advertise an introductory price that you pay for year one that goes up in the second year. Don’t just consider what you’re paying right now, think about what you can afford on an ongoing basis. And as with most things, sometimes a cheaper price will mean you pay in other ways, as with weaker customer service or a worse customer experience. Don’t just jump at the first low price you see without researching the company to find out if they’re cheap for a reason. 2. Reputation While domain name management doesn’t involve that much interaction with the company, you still want to choose a domain registrar that will be easy to work with and reliable. Spend some time reading customer reviews and doing general research on the company. Are they well known as a legitimate domain registrar? Do they have a reputation for solid customer service? Do people find the registration and renewal processes intuitive? Your domain name is an important part of running your website and maintaining it over time. You can always transfer your domain later, but you’ll be better off picking the right DNS registrar from day one. 3. Extras Most domain name registrars provide services beyond just domain name registration. It’s very common for registrars to also be web hosting providers, and bundling the two services can increase your ease of use for managing each. Other good add-ons to look for are: Domain name privacy, which helps you avoid spam and any risk that comes with making your personal information more public. Auto-renewals, which allow you to put the renewal process on autopilot so you don’t have to worry about forgetting or doing any extra work to keep your domain name registration up to date. Email addresses that you can set up for yourself and people in your organization at the domain, making your communications look more official. A multi-year purchase option, so you can secure your domain name for longer without worrying about renewal. If any of these are features you know you want, find a domain registrar that provides them. Register Your Domain Today As you know by now, HostGator is a domain name registrar that provides an intuitive domain name search function and easy registration process.   We offer domain name privacy, automatic renewals, and the option to buy your domain for up to three years at a time. And on top of all that, we’re one of the most respected web hosting providers in the industry. If you want the convenience of managing your web hosting and domain name registration in one place, you can count on HostGator to be a reliable option for both. If you’re ready to move forward and buy a new domain name, get started searching . Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

Posted in HostGator, Hosting, VodaHost | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What Is a Domain Name Registrar?

What Is a SSL Certificate?

The post What Is a SSL Certificate? appeared first on HostGator Blog . As a website owner, you’ve probably heard the words “SSL certificate” getting thrown around a lot. When you’re first getting your website built all of this technical jargon can seem like you’re trying to learn another language. However, if you plan on having your customers input their private information online, then you need to utilize the additional security measures provided by an SSL certificate . Plus, SSL certificates are quickly becoming a necessity. According to Google, SSL and HTTPS should be used everywhere across the web . Sites not using SSL will be marked as unsecured if they’re viewed using the Google Chrome browser . But, SSL certificates can do a lot more than just give you a rankings and trust boost. Below we highlight what an SSL certificate is, how it works, and what situations it would be smart to encrypt your website with SSL. The Importance of Online Security and Your Reputation Trust is so important on the Internet. Any site that acquires a reputation for unreliability, insecurity or dishonesty can expect to see traffic dwindle to zero. On the other hand, a site that can prove it takes security seriously can attract more visitors. That’s always a good thing, whether your web site is for a nonprofit, small business, or eCommerce. Surfers and online shoppers also increasingly recognize the on-screen presence of a small padlock icon or a website address that begins with “https://…” as signs that they can trust the site they’re connecting to. That’s SSL or ‘secure sockets layer’ in action. The biggest reason websites use SSL is to protect sensitive information that’s sent between computers and servers. If information like credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information isn’t encrypted this leaves it open for hackers to easily step in and steal the information. With the SSL certificate. your information is unreadable to anyone who attempts to steal it. The only people able to decipher it are the intended recipients at the other end of the connection. With an SSL certificate, your customers can do business with you knowing that their information is going to be safe from identity thieves and potential hackers . What is an SSL Certificate? First, SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer . At the core, this technology helps to secure an internet connection and protect any data that’s transferred between a browser and a web server. By encrypting and securing any data that passes through this connection you help to prevent any data theft or hacking. Plus, if any data is stolen from this connection it’ll be impossible to decipher since it’s encrypted. An SSL connection needs two systems in order to be active. Think a server and a website browser, or a server to server connection. With this connection, any data that’s transferred between the two will actually be impossible to read. The encryption algorithms will scramble any data being sent over the connection, so if the information is compromised it’ll be impossible to decipher. In the past, SSL was commonly used to protect and secure sensitive information, like banking details, credit card numbers, and sensitive personal information. However, today with stricter privacy standards, almost every website can benefit from installing an SSL certificate to protect any user information. TLS and SSL Another term you’ve probably seen in relation to SSL is TLS. TLS stands for Transport Layer Security . You can think of it as an upgraded and more secure version of SSL. At the core, they’re both cryptographic protocols that help to authenticate and secure user data over a network. SSL is the initial version of TLS. Over the years upgrades have been made, new versions have been released, and the ciphers and algorithms have been updated to reflect the latest risks that exist online. However, you don’t need to worry about replacing your SSL certificate with a TLS certificate. Essentially, the phrase SSL certificate is the common industry phrasing to refer to SSL/TLS certificates. In time, TLS may replace SSL as the commonly used phrase. HTTPS and SSL HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol . You’ll see it to the left of the website URL when the site has been secured using SSL. If the site isn’t secure, then you’ll see the traditional HTTP in its place. When you hover over the secure HTTPS section on the URL bar you’ll be able to see the security credentials of the site you’re on. How Does an SSL Certificate Work? SSL operates between a visitor’s browser and your site or application. It’s an industry-standard mechanism that ensures the encryption of data being passed backward and forwards so that no unauthorized person can spy on the information and hack it. It also prevents cybercriminals from diverting visitor traffic to their own site using their own encryption and gaining access to your data that way. All major web browsers have SSL capability built in. The process of enabling an SSL certificate on your site is quite simple. First, you’ll install an SSL certificate on your server. A web browser will connect to your server, see the SSL certificate and initiate the SSL connection. This will then encrypt any information that passes between a browser and your server. Here’s the process broken down a little further and the steps in place to guarantee site security: An SSL handshake occurs once the web browser validates the presence of an SSL certificate on the server. The server then sends all of the necessary information including the type of SSL certificate present, the level of encryption to use, and more. If the SSL certificate is valid, then the secure connection begins. All of this takes place instantly. It might seem fairly technical, but if you open up a website with an SSL certificate installed you’ll never even notice that the above steps occurred. What Do SSL Certificates Do? SSL certificates add an additional level of security between your website and the information visitors are sharing on your site. It creates a secure and encrypted link between your website and server. This adds a layer of protection that accomplishes two goals: 1. Enabling Encryption It can be scary to share your personal and financial information online. A lot of people prefer to use large-scale eCommerce sites like Amazon because they feel much safer and protected. With an SSL certificate, sensitive data will remain encrypted and secure, thus providing your customers with a sense of relief. Higher level SSL certificates will have higher levels of encryption, but the standard SSL certificate should be enough for most websites. 2. Verifying the Identity of the Site Owner The SSL credential identifies the owner of the website, and creates an additional layer of trust. Put simply, your customers will know with whom exactly they’re doing business. Before the certificate can even be issued the identity of the website owner has to be verified through multiple methods. With digital communication, it’s often difficult to determine the person on the other side of the connection, but with an SSL certificate you can be sure you’re doing business with your intended recipient, and vice versa. What Levels of SSL Certificates Are Available? Beyond adding an additional layer of encryption and security, SSL certificates are also used to verify the identity of a site owner, or company behind the site. There are three different identification certificates: 1. Domain Validation Certificates With a Domain Validation Certificate, you’re proving ownership over the domain name. At this level, the identity of the organization won’t be checked, just that the person who has the SSL certificate also owns the domain name tied to the website. This is the most basic level of SSL certificate and is usually the level of certificate that comes free with most hosting plans. It’s well suited for simple websites, but eCommerce sites and other websites that are dealing with sensitive personal information will want to obtain a higher-level certificate. 2. Organization Validation Certificates With Organization Validation Certificates you’ll have to prove that you own the domain name, along with proving that your company is accountable and registered as a business. Usually, this means you’ll need to have proof of a registered company name and proof of domain ownership. This level of certificate can only be issued to businesses and organizations. Individuals running a website won’t be issued this level of certificate. 3. Extended Validation Certificates Extended Validation SSL Certificates are the highest level of SSL certificate available. To obtain this level of certificate you’ll need to validate your business, as well as your domain name. Plus, there are additional verification steps that you’ll also have to complete. Obtaining this level of SSL certificate will take longer, but for some website’s it’ll be worth it. It goes a long way towards showing your visitors that you value their privacy and protection. When visiting a site with this level of SSL certificate you’ll often see the URL bar is entirely green. This is a highly visual form of trust that you’ll exhibit to your customers. Note that this level of certificate is also only available to businesses and organizations. It is not available to individuals. Do I Need an SSL Certificate for My Website? Basically, every site today could benefit from an SSL certificate. Overall, it’s more advantageous to have an SSL certificate installed than not. For starters, HTTPS is a ranking factor , so site’s that have an SSL certificate installed will rank higher than those that don’t. Second, if a user accesses your site and you don’t have an SSL certificate installed, then your site will be marked as unsecured, which can greatly diminish your user experience. Basically, Google is pushing hard towards an HTTPS/SSL web, and it’s always a good idea to be on the right side of Google. Beyond everything highlighted above, there are a few additional circumstances where an SSL certificate is a necessity. 1. Users Are Making Online Purchases Online shoppers are concerned about their online privacy today more than ever. With an SSL certificate, you’ll not only improve your site’s security, but you’ll make it that much more likely that your users will actually complete their purchases. The chances are pretty slim that your visitors are going to pull out their credit cards on a site that isn’t secure. 2. You’re Running a Membership Site Usually, when you’re running a membership site, you’re not only collecting a lot of information about your users, but you’re collecting their banking or credit card information as well. With an SSL certificate, you’ll not only improve the security of your site and help keep your member information safe, but you’ll increase the chances of them feeling safe enough to sign up as well. 3. You’re Collecting User Information If you have forms on your website that are collecting user information, then you’ll want to use an SSL certificate. This will help to keep the information that your visitors submit safe and secure. Plus, give them peace of mind that the information they share won’t fall into the wrong hands. An SSL certificate can help to build trust between your visitor and your website. Building trust online is all about giving subtle cues to your visitor that you can be trusted. By having the little lock on the browser bar, you’re guaranteeing to your customer that your site can be trusted. If your website requires the exchange of any personal information, then you might want to consider getting an SSL certificate. If your user is required to enter their credit card information, then an SSL certificate is almost mandatory. However, you don’t always need a sitewide SSL certificate. Since going through multiple levels of encryption can slow down your website it may be disadvantageous to have certain pages of your site encrypted. There’s also a decent cost involved in order to get your site verified and operating effectively, so this also has to be considered. If you’re doing business online and are exchanging sensitive information with your visitors, then an SSL certificate will provide an additional layer of security, while increasing your trustworthiness. How SSL Impacts Your Visitors One of the biggest benefits of installing an SSL certificate on your site is how it will positively impact your user experience, and grow the amount of trust that users have on your site. The moment a visitor lands on your site they’re making judgments about its trustworthiness. Usually, this happens subconsciously. But, there are a few things you can do to push this in the right direction—like installing an SSL certificate to bolster your website’s security and trustworthiness. An SSL certificate is installed on your web server, and your visitors will see that there’s actually a certificate installed. The web browser will show visitors whether or not the site they’re on is secure. The first indication is seeing ‘https://’ present at the start of a URL, instead of ‘http://’. Site’s with an SSL certificate installed will have ‘https://’. The next visual factor will depend on the level of SSL certificate that’s installed on the site. To the left of the ‘https://’ will either be a padlock, or a green address bar. Plus, if your website visitors happen to be using Google Chrome, then your site will always display as secure. Failing to use an SSL certificate will lead to an error message like the one in the image below—before they ever get to reach your site. Imagine seeing this warning the first time you land on a website. The chances are pretty high that you wouldn’t return. What is an SSL Connection Error? SSL connection errors occur for the benefit of the user, not the site owner. If you’re trying to access a website and an SSL connection error occurs, it’s because the website is currently experiencing some security issues. In most cases, you can usually still access the site, but just know that the site isn’t as secure as it should be. There are a variety of security and connection errors that can be displayed. Usually, these will differ based upon the browser you’re using and the type of security error the site is undergoing. Sometimes, this will be because they don’t have an SSL certificate installed, they’re using an expired certificate, or there are outdated security codes on the site. The error messages might seem a bit scary, but just because these messages show up doesn’t mean that the site is doing anything malicious, or trying to steal your information. If your site is currently experiencing any SSL security errors, then this is something you’ll want to get fixed right away. This might mean you’ll have to update your sitewide security protocols, or it might mean upgrading or renewing your SSL certificate. It’s important that you get this issue resolved right away. If any visitors land on your site while you’re experiencing an SSL error they probably won’t bypass the security message, and you’ll lose their trust. Does SSL Work Over Email? Does SSL work when sending emails? Generally, most email providers are already using SSL to encrypt emails that are sent and received using their service. For example, Google encrypts all traffic between Gmail and its servers. So, whenever you login to your Gmail account, you’ll notice the HTTPS connection. Most email service providers are currently using an SSL/TLS connection. But, these connections aren’t foolproof. For example, SSL/TLS will protect your emails when you’re composing them and during any transmission to your email client server. But, there’s no guarantee that the person you’re sending the email to will have the same level of security in place. How to Add an SSL Certificate to Your Site The approach you’ll take to install an SSL certificate on your site depends upon the host you’re using, and the type of site that you’re running. For example, here at HostGator, you’ll get a free SSL certificate no matter the hosting plan you’re on. Even the shared hosting plans are equipped with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. This SSL certificate will not only apply to your current domain but any subdomains you’re using as well. You can activate your SSL certificate from within your hosting control panel. Once you have your SSL certificate activated you’ll need to ensure that your domain redirects from the previous HTTP to the new HTTPS. If you’re using WordPress, then all you need to do is install a plugin called Really Simple SSL . With this plugin installed you’ll have a new option within your WordPress dashboard under Settings> SSL . Once you’ve activated the plugin it’ll scan to see if there’s an SSL certificate installed. If there is a certificate installed, then you can enable SSL with a single click. On the ‘Settings’ tab, you can further configure your settings. But the most important option to turn on is the ‘Enable WordPress 301 redirection to SSL’. Now any time a person types in or links to the HTTP version of your site, it will automatically redirect to the HTTPS version. Top SSL FAQs Hopefully, the information above answered a lot of your questions regarding SSL certificates. However, you might still have a few lingering questions. Here are some of the most common questions we’ve received regarding SSL: Is SSL compatible across devices? Yes. SSL certificates will remain in effect across any device that you’re using to access the internet. Keep in mind that this secure connection applies to when you’re using a web browser and not necessarily when you’re using a mobile app. Does SSL work across different operating systems? Yes. All of the major operating systems and devices are supported. However, some operating systems might not support the newest versions of SSL. But, older versions should still be supported. How about across different browsers? Yes. All of the big web browsers will be supported. Whether you’re using Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or even Internet Explorer, SSL will be supported. If you’re using a very niche web browser, then this might not hold true. But, all of the major web browsers will support SSL. How can I tell if my site has SSL? Maybe you’re not sure if your site already has an SSL certificate installed? Or, you’ve gone through the installation process and you’re not sure if it’s worked or not? The easiest approach is just to type in your domain name with HTTPS before the URL. Or, you can use a tool from Digicert to see if there are any issues with your SSL certificate. Just enter your URL, and the SSL checker will see if your site has an SSL certificate installed, and if there are any existing issues preventing it from functioning properly. The Necessity of SSL SSL certificates are an important tool to improve the security of your website and ensure that your visitor’s data is protected. SSL certificates are quickly becoming a necessity and offers your site several invaluable benefits. Plus, installing an SSL certificate on your site is incredibly easy, and bundled with HostGator’s web hosting plans for free. With an SSL certificate, you’re on your way towards improving sales and conversions, increasing visitor trust, and growing your search engine rankings. No matter what kind of website you run you can benefit from at least the basic level SSL certificate. Whether you need SSL encryption for your eCommerce site or something else, you can secure your site today with HostGator. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

Posted in HostGator, Hosting, VodaHost | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What Is a SSL Certificate?