On some sites, you may notice the lock icon at the bottom of your web browser. That icon means that you've established an encrypted Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection. This connection keeps your information safe and secure while it is being transmitted. To display that icon, a website needs to have a Certificate, which can be expensive. If you run your own website, MakeUseOf tells us how to get a free SSL certificate from StartSSL.
As MakeUseOf notes,
StartSSL offers free certificates with no holds barred and with absolutely no hidden charges. You can choose either a 128 bit or 256 bit key for encryption.
It should be noted that these are Class 1 certificates, which means that they only validate basic domain information (particularly, that the subscriber owns the domain name). As a result, while they are great if you want to use them to log into a personal site from an unsecured location, you probably want a higher class certificate if you are running an online store.
The MakeUseOf article give detailed instructions for setting up the certificate, including a strong recommendation that you back up your key locally. Let us know in the comments if you've tried out an SSL certificate from StartSSL, and how it's worked out for you. If you have another solution, let us know that, too.
Photo by mikebaird.