SSL Certificates are small files of data that combine a unique cryptographic key to an organization or person’s information. When added on a web server, it activates the lock icon and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer, and logins.
SSL Certificates combine:
- A server name/hostname.
- An organization’s information.
An organization needs to install the SSL Certificate to its web server to establish a secure session with browsers. Once a secure connection will be established, all web traffic between the web server and the web browser will be cryptographically secure.
When a server has an SSL Certificate, the application protocol (the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web) will change to HTTPs from HTTP, where the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’. Depending on the type of certificate you purchase and what browser you are surfing the internet on, a browser will show a lock icon or green bar in the browser when you visit a website that has an SSL Certificate installed.
SSL Encrypts Sensitive Information
The principal reason why SSL is used is to encrypt sensitive information sent across the Internet so that only the intended recipient can obtain it. This is important because the information you send on the Internet is passed from machine to machine to get to the destination server. Any computer in between you and the server can see your usernames, passwords, and credit card information and other sensitive data if it is not encrypted with an SSL certificate. When an SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the intended receiver.
Why are SSL providers important?
Committed SSL providers will only issue an SSL certificate to a company that has gone through several identity checks.
SSL is required for PCI Compliance
In order to accept credit card information on your website, you must pass several reviews that show that you are complying with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. One of the requirements is properly using an SSL Certificate.
Better Google ranking
The world’s #1 search engine favors HTTPS-encrypted websites and will push them higher in search results. So an SSL not only protects your customers but helps you find more of them.
- First, the SSL “handshake”:
- When a visitor opens your SSL encrypted website, your SSL certificate automatically creates a secure, encrypted connection with their browser. Your site is most secure when SSL is used on all pages and subdomains.
- The lock icon appears:
- Once this is done, a lock icon and the HTTPs name appears in the visitor’s browser bar to show them they’re safe to share sensitive information. If you install an EV (Extended Validation) SSL, the browser will make the search bar green and illuminate your company name to prove you’re secure.
Are all SSL certificates the same?
There are many different types of SSL certificates based on the number of domain names or subdomains you have, such as:
Single – secures only one domain name
Wildcard – covers one domain name and all of its subdomains
Multi-Domain – secures various domain names
Extended Validation (EV) – this provides the highest degree of protection because of the thorough inspection that is conducted before this certificate is issued.
Keep in mind:
When choosing the right SSL provider, consider the fact that users’ web browsers usually hold a cached list of trusted CAs on file – so if a digital certificate is signed by an item that’s not on the “authorized” list, the browser will send a warning announcement to the user that the website may not be secure.