SSL - A Breakdown
Using the Internet entails, of course, having to visit websites. On most occasions, you will be required to provide some information about yourself, whether it’s through creating a new account, typing in a password, or providing your shipping address for online shopping orders. For situations like these, you need to ensure that your private data is secure from people who could use it for malicious reasons, and one way to do that is to make certain that the websites that you visit have SSL enabled.
SSL is short for Secure Sockets Layer. It is an online security standard used to create a secure and encrypted connection between a server (or website) and a client (or browser).
How does SSL work?
Data exchanged by websites and browsers are usually transmitted through plain text, which can easily be deciphered by anybody with the technological knowledge to intercept the transfer of information. SSL provides an added veil of security on data exchange by scrambling information on the transmitter side and having decoders ready on the receiver side that will adequately convert the encrypted information into intelligible data. An SSL certificate is needed to ensure that the data transfer is a hundred percent secure.
What is an SSL certificate? How does it work?
Think of it as a website’s ID – if you own your own server or website, it will need an SSL certificate to interact with a browser. It contains a “subject” or your identity as the website’s owner. Each certificate also comes with two keys – a public and a private one, both used to encrypt or secure the connection between your website and the browser.
SSL certificates are issued by trusted third party sources that are deemed worthy to determine the level of your website’s security. Upon establishing a link with a browser, your website “presents” its SSL certificate, which will be compared to a list of noted certificate assigners to ensure that your site’s credentials is up to date, has not been revoked, and has not expired yet. Once the certificate is accepted, a session key is created by the browser, which is something that’s needed in order for your site to encrypt and transmit and your browser to decode and receive private data. All information exchanged will then go through this safety channel, without the risk of exposing easily readable sensitive details provided.
Does my website need to be SSL-secured?
Sure it does. It’s not only e-commerce websites that benefit from having SSL protection. Any website that requires a user to provide any kind of information – this includes username and account creation, not just online shopping sites that require your credit card details and shipping information – should consider opting to be SSL-secured, especially if you are managing more than one website. There are many types of SSL certificates to choose from – find one that fits your requirements and get all your questions about SSL certificates answered by reading up on the different choices before settling on one. You can easily find the right SSL certificate from Thawte, a site that offers various options