What is SSL Certificate?
SSL also known as Secure Sockets Layer, is a communication protocol for secure communication over the internet and computer network using encryption. The encryption establishes a secure channel between the web server and visitor’s browser to prevent eavesdropping and spoofing. Generally, SSL Certificate is used to protect user’s particulars, passwords, credit card information, and any data transmission between the web server and a browser. It also authenticates website identity to ensure your website is safe.
How does SSL look like?
The URL of any website that have SSL enabled will always start with HTTPS. HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. Refer to the screen-grab below.
Is SSL a necessity?
SSL certificate is not mandatory. However, if you are running an online store that involves online transactions using credit card, you definitely need a SSL certificate. This gives your visitors assurance that it is absolutely safe to do any online transactions on your website. Recent research done by Google shows that there are more spam or hacked sites than ever in the Google Search results. Hence, Google decides to tinker the search ranking algorithms. Website with SSL will have little boost in Google Search ranking. See the article by Google on HTTPS as a ranking signal.
So, is SSL a necessity? Sure. Absolutely. Online store is not the only website that needs SSL. SSL is essential for optimizing your website in search engines too.
How SSL works?
SSL encryption involves a pair of keys: a private key and a public key.
- A browser requests a secure page
- The web server sends its public key with its certificate.
- The browser checks that the certificate was issued by a trusted party.
- The browser then uses the public key, to encrypt a random encryption algorithm and sends it to the server with the encrypted URL required.
- The web server decrypts the encryption algorithm using its private key and uses the symmetric key to decrypt the URL
- The web server sends back the requested webpage data.
- 7The browser decrypts the webpage using symmetric key and displays the webpage.
You will be surprised that all the above actions happen in a split second.
Where to purchase SSL Certificate?
Most hosting providers will have SSL Certificates available for purchase. You may also purchase directly from the SSL Certificate providers such as Thawte, Comodo, RapidSSL, VeriSign, Symantec, GeoTrust and many more. SSL Certificate installation usually required a dedicated IP address on your server. Do check with your respective Hosting Provider for detail.
Which type should i get?
For starters, you may want to consider getting a basic SSL Certificate or SSL Wildcard Certificate. The basic SSL Certificate secure single domain. e.g www.yourdomain.com. Whereas, SSL Wildcard Certificate secure your domain as well as sub-domain. e.g. name1.yourdomain.com, name2.yourdomain.com etc.
Stay tune for more SSL articles.