Even though most of us have probably heard the term “SSL Certificate” regularly, very few of us understand what it is or how it performs. Since so few people are familiar with what an SSL Certificate is, it stands to reason that most of them may not be aware of its significance or necessity in the realm of computers and the internet.
The Secure Socket Layer Protocol Certificate, or SSL certificate for short, was created by Netscape to enhance the security to communications among web servers and browsers. The protocol uses a third party, a Certificate Authority, to establish transactions at both ends. If that’s too technical, an SSL Certificate for a website can be thought of as a trustworthy version of a passport or a driver’s license that is awarded by a Certificate Authority.
To illustrate the fundamentals of an SSL certificate, imagine someone delivering a letter in an envelope through the traditional postal service. The recipient with possession of that envelope can readily get its contents, and if it appears valuable, he might even take ownership of it or modify it because it lacks the security features.
To sum up, an SSL certificate is anything that encrypts virtual transactions, transitions, or any transmission of data over the internet, making it entirely safe for the users like E-Commerce merchants.
SSL Certificate Workflow
A Secure Socket Layer Protocol certificate functions in the manner as described below:
- A browser requests a secure page, typically starting with HTTPS://
- A web server sends a public key alongside its certificate.
- Next, the browser confirms that the concerned certificate conforms to the website being contacted, is legitimate, and has been provided by a competent authority.
- After being verified, the public key is subsequently leveraged by a browser to primarily encrypt a randomly generated symmetric encryption key, which is then provided to the server along with the appropriate encrypted URL and other encrypted HTTP data.
- As the web server uses its private key to decrypt the symmetric key, the server in question utilizes the decrypted symmetric key to decipher the HTTP URL and the relevant data.
- The web server then transmits the required HTML file and HTTP data encoded with the symmetric key.
- And finally, the information is presented after the browser uses the symmetric key to decrypt the HTTP data and HTML content.
The above approach may appear somewhat challenging to someone with ordinary technical skills. Several technical topics, such as The Certificate, Private Key/Public Key, Encryption Algorithm, Symmetric Key, Public Key Infrastructure, Passphrase, hash, Signing, etc., must be grasped to have a complete understanding of the SSL certificate and its functionalities.
Classes of SSL Certificates
Since there are various SSL Certificate types, they are not all identical when compared to one another. It is critical to think carefully about the sort of certificate you obtain concerning SSL protection on any website. It primarily performs two tasks because, by nature, it is a security application.
- Locating your company’s website
- Protecting your business website’s sensitive data using encryption
The cost of having SSL security varies depending on the category of certificate you choose and can range from a modest to a substantial amount annually for the type of certificate you decide to purchase.
The primary SSL certificate types and their features are as under:
- Dedicated SSL Certificates: These certificates are granted specifically to the distinctive domain name of the website. Since they cannot be shared with all other domain names, not even sub-domains, dedicated SSL certificates frequently call for unique domain names. The costliest Certificates often fall in this category.
- Shared SSL Certificates: Unlike dedicated SSL Certificates, shared SSL Certificates are those that can be shared with anyone else, as the name implies. You can use someone else’s SSL Certificate for your website. However, the name on the certificate won’t match your credentials; instead, it will reflect the details of whoever owns the certificate, which is a disadvantage. Most notably, this kind of SSL encryption cannot be used when a website is moved between hosts and web servers. Several e-commerce site servers mainly provide this category of SSL Certificates, which makes things remarkably simple and accessible.
- Free SSL Certificates: By naming the word free, we don’t intend that they are completely free, but rather that they are far less expensive than the other categories of SSL Certificates. It is very important to think about acquiring this type of protection from a legitimate company since many businesses are selling these varieties of certificates. The standard of encryption they own may likely differ from the paid ones.
- Wildcard SSL certificates: These certificates are typically used for websites with sub-domains to ensure comprehensive protection of all the sub-domains. With a single SSL Certificate, wildcard SSL protection permits the protection of several Web portal components.
The level of protection available when comparing various types of SSL Certificates is one of the most crucial considerations when it comes to SSL security. However, the industry norm is 128-bit encryption. For a higher cost, even a 256-bit comparison is obtainable. Besides, some businesses even supply 58-bit encryption to make it more affordable. According to this theory, the higher the encryption number, the stronger will be the security.
SSL Certificate Validation Techniques
Three different forms of validation exist. They are, in order of least to most secure:
- Domain Validation (DV): In this case, the applicant’s contact information is compared to the WHOIS database for the website domain name.
- Organizational Validation (OV): It verifies the authenticity of the organization as a whole as well as the integrity of the physical and online addresses.
- Extended Validation (EV): It is the most extensive validation method. The process makes it possible for the green address bar to function as a security signal.
The Importance of an SSL Certificate
Many web users don’t realize how crucial website security is to an online store’s performance and credibility. Customers will feel more comfortable carrying out transactions when an online business offers them a secure shopping space. You will continue to lose business if you can’t reassure your visitors and clients that your dedicated website, and its confidential materials, are safe from the shadow of hackers and identity thieves.
By encrypting the data, SSL certificates protect the flow of customer data across your website and your customers’ browsers. In the customers’ browser, a padlock will appear adjacent to your domain name. It signifies that your website is protected by an SSL certificate. Depending on the SSL certificate version you select, the encryption level will change.
There are various queries to answer when selecting an SSL certificate for your online business:
How much assurance do you require?
SSL certificates are not all built the same. The type of SSL you select and the service provider will determine the level of data encryption you may receive. Picking the highest level of encryption that your funding will allow is a wise idea considering the severity of online offenses.
Your decision about an SSL may also be influenced by the kind of business you operate; for instance, online stores require high data encryption to safeguard their customers’ confidential account information.
How much time do you have for the procurement?
If your online store is already set up and prepared to accept payments, you might not have the time needed to complete the validation process for high-assurance SSL certificates. Consider implementing a low-assurance SSL to secure your consumers while you wait for the approval of a higher encryption level. It is undesirable to run an e-commerce website without website security.
How many SSL certificates are needed?
The number of domains on your website that demand data encryption will determine the response to this query. Install an SSL on each page that is vital for your customers’ transactions.
Are the website security seals necessary?
Visitors will notice the padlock in their browser bar when they reach your website’s SSL-protected pages. Some SSL certificates, however, also come with a website security mark that you can display on your home page, which is a productive way to provide a decent first impression and invite trust in your business.
Does the SSL come with customer service?
Website security must always be a priority. Before requesting an SSL, find out from your provider whether customer support is available or not. Any online firm can benefit from live customer care through phone or chat.
Investing in an SSL certificate is a crucial step toward website security. Even though you might be hesitant to spend the money on an SSL, you can be confident that it will be worthwhile when clients feel secure making generous purchases from your online store.
Since most digital companies have websites, many of them allow clients to make instant online purchases. Therefore, they would certainly want to obtain a legitimate certificate. It’s because information can be intercepted while being sent via the internet. It may happen frequently without anyone being aware of it.
A valid SSL certificate reveals to customers the security and reliability of the website that may be collecting and preserving their personal information. Any commercial location should have an updated and valid certification. If a website is entirely authentic, and the visitors don’t feel like they can trust it, the business will lose customers. Obtaining an SSL is simple and sometimes even free.
Many people are unaware of the necessity, which causes them to ignore gaining certification for their websites. Internet crime has increased along with the growth of online purchasing. Theft involving hacked credit card information and identity theft has never been more profitable. Hackers obtain the information via the internet, especially through online transactions, and proceed from there.
If a site isn’t sufficiently safeguarded, several computer and browser security settings will set off an alert for the individual visiting the site. It repels prospective clients and customers. Absence of SSL certification can be a devastating blow to a small business or entrepreneur site’s ability to attain its goal.
Customers need to feel secure when parting with their cash. However, they are very particular about it. Any website that wants to win the business should not only have a dazzling site that will entice visitors, but they also need to ensure that those same individuals who visited the site feel secure in making transactions.
By creating a relationship of trust between the customer and the online retailer, SSL has a significant impact on the e-commerce territory and online purchasing. Your web browser’s address bar will display a locked padlock when a website uses a legitimate SSL Certificate.
Customers can feel more confident that the site is secure, reliable, and they are protected with an SSL Certificate setup. In reality, an online store needs to use and have a valid SSL Certificate to process even credit card payments as per the Payment Card Industry (PCI) requirements. E-commerce websites must comply with PCI regulations to prevent heavy penalties and even closure.
Rapid SSL and Its Significance
Rapid SSL is the best choice for you if your business is small and you don’t handle a lot of sensitive information online. Why is it so? Because it only requires one root install SSL certificate, and you can use it to secure many sub domains, not to mention that it is reasonably priced.
Single Root SSL Certificate signifies that the visitor’s browser determines whether or not to utilize the website’s SSL certificate. Note: The browser will consider a list of trusted authorities – or in some cases, it may instruct the user head on whether they should accept the relevant certificate or not.
The risk of cybercrime increases due to the fact that bulk of the businesses are now operating virtually and promoting online transactions. In light of the current global situation, where the rate of cybercrime is at an all-time high, using SSL Certificate protection is no longer an option rather, it’s a bare minimum precondition. Therefore, it is strongly advised to implement SSL encryption with the highest level of security to ensure the total safety of sensitive data and multiple components of a website.
Learn everything there is to know about the advantages of using the most reliable SSL certificate that is offered by an established provider like Small Biz Web Design Studio in Los Angeles. If you wish to incorporate website hosting into your subscription, it will be simple to do so!