SSL certificates are essential to the modern internet environment. No matter what you want to run – a website, an online store, a mail server, a chatroom, a forum – you’ll want to make sure your users’ information and your own is protected with the encryption an SSL certificate provides.

You can make your own self-signed certificate for free, which does the job of encryption well enough, but it doesn’t provide your users with any peace of mind. In fact, it will generate warnings in their browsers and mail clients.

You can also buy a certificate from a trusted certificate authority, which is wonderful in every way except that it’s not free.

But, there is a third option! You can get a signed, trusted certificate for your personal website or mail server from StartSSL. The certificate is good for one year, and is accepted without warnings by all the latest major operating systems and browsers. (It may generate warnings in some older systems.) It doesn’t work for corporations, so it won’t work for everyone, but it’s a fantastic option for personal online projects.

If you’re interested, you can get started with your free certificate here.

By Sharon Campbell