NOTE: We are no longer accepting new customers for this service. It has been discontinued.
SOS Secure Order Forms - Easy and Inexpensive
To make sales on the internet, you need to be able to offer your customers a secure means of placing orders, since credit card details are included. The word secure means that
- no one else can see the credit card information as it travels from the buyer's computer to you and
- you have a password protected way to retrieve the orders.
The way to securely pass information from one online party to another is through encryption. That way, if the information is somehow intercepted as it passes over the internet, it's virtually impossible to interpret. The encryption method commonly used on the internet is called SSL - Secure Socket Layer encryption.
Website forms - Secure or Not?
A large percentage of websites today have at least one submission form - a Contact Us form, an information request form, a suggestion form, and other such pages that allow a visitor to easily submit information through the website. Online forms are relatively easy to make, and a great convenience.
If you're submitting a form to a plumbing manufacturer asking for information about a faucet, there's no need for encryption. The information being passed isn't typically sensitive. So the page holding that type of form is rarely encrypted. On the other hand, if you're buying that faucet online, you want to know that your personal and credit card information is going to be seen by the supplier, and no one else. That order form is essentially the same as any other form, but the order form page should be hosted on a secure server so that it's encrypted during transmission.
Most webpage addresses start with http://, like http://simpleurl.com/. They are not encrypted. Most browsers have a way of showing that, typically with a unlocked padlock image. Secure pages typically have an extra "s" (for secure) in the address - https:// - like our login page - https://simpleurl.com/login/. And, when you go to a secure page, most browsers show a locked padlock image.
Only Payment Forms?
No. It makes sense to secure any submission forms which transmit sensitive data. Identity theft is a serious concern today. If you're asking people to submit information that they wouldn't want publicly exposed, then it makes sense for you to put those forms on secure pages.
Shopping Cart or Secure Form?
A shopping cart allows customers to select items they might want to buy by clicking buttons as they move through pages of the website. The cart keeps track of all the items and then displays them to the customer at a secure checkout. It's convenient for the customer but takes a lot of time and work for the website owner or designer to set up. A complete inventory must be entered in a database. Then HTML code needs to be added to the website each place a button appears for every single database item. It's a major undertaking, and many times, a secure order form is still needed somewhere on the site to handle unusual items which don't readily match the rigid requirements of the shopping cart software.
A secure form is much simpler to develop. The website owner or designer creates any type of online form that will allow the customers to specify their order and their payment information. That form is uploaded to our secure server and that's it. The person making the form determines how the form will appear and function. If you need to someone to create a form for you, let us know.
If the website has many items for sale, the secure form can be very generic, like the paper order forms you see in printed catalogs. The customer fills in the blanks in the form, and submits the order. In contrast, some website owners create a form that lists all the products. In that case, customers simply make their selections and pay for them with their credit cards.
Our Secure Service...
If you can make a form page, we can make it secure. As our customer, you can upload any/all of your form pages to our secure server. As things change on your website, you can add, delete, edit or update your form pages at will. The contents of each secure form submission from a website visitor will be accessible right in your secure SOS account. You will be able to securely view, copy or print each order at will, and then delete it when it's no longer needed.
Our system is simple, secure, convenient and low cost. We offer a 6 month plan for $18 and a 12 month plan for only $30. There are no additional fees, regardless of how many forms you have or how many submissions you receive.
If you don't know how to make your own html form, we can usually create your secure order form for you for a cost of $75 - $125. Please contact us for an estimate.
You don't need to have your domain or website with SOS in order to use this service. Since your forms will be hosted on our secure server, they are totally independent of the domain name or website hosting.
Your form pages can have images and look just like other pages on your website. Just upload those images (.gif and.jpg only) from your SOS account, in exactly the same way that you upload the form pages.
Special Form Requirements...
There are a simple, behind-the-scenes details that you will need to handle to make your forms work from our secure server.
- Every online form has a line of code in the HTML called the "form action". It points the form to a script that knows what to do with the form information that's submitted. Since the form action information isn't intended to be visible on the form, it's in what's called a "hidden field". We will tell you what needs to be put into that form action hidden field so that your form points to the right script.
- We'll tell you what to put into another hidden field in each form so that it submits to YOUR SOS account.
- Optional. Our system will allow you to add a "musthave" hidden field. In it, you can specify certain form fields that must be filled in, or the form won't submit. Instead, it will tell the user which fields they failed to answer, and give them another try.
Secure Form Web Address...
Your form on our server will have the following address which you will use in creating links to it -
The blank is the username you choose (with our approval) for your SOS secure form account. Since the username is part of the address of the page, you should choose a username that makes sense.
Go to the SOS Secure Form section of your SOS account and place your order. It's easy. And if you don't have an SOS account, simply go to our "Your SOS Account" page and set up an account.