SSL Certificate | What is It and How to Use It on Your Site

What is an SSL certificate

The expanded meaning of the SSL is a secure socket layer. SSL certificates are cryptographically secured digital files that enable secure data transfer between a web browser and a web server.

Millions of online businesses and individuals use those digital certificates to minimise the risk when transferring sensitive data like credit card information, usernames, passwords, email, etc. Simply the SSL allows for a private connection only between the two connected parties.

Usually, SSL certificates bind a domain name, server name or hostname together with organisational identity and location.

If a company or an individual wants a secure connection, then they need to install SSL certificates on their web server. After establishing a secure connection, all the web traffic between the browser and the webserver will be encrypted and secure. No, any other third-part will able to obtain the data you transfer.

Are All SSL Certificates Same?

The simple answer is NO. You will see many different kinds of SSL certificates online. For example;

  1. Single: This SSL certificate secures one domain or subdomain name
  2. Wildcard: This type of Certificates secure one domain and all its subdomains
  3. Multi-domain: This is a single certificate that can be used to secure multiple domains on a single server

Also, digital certificates can be categorised according to the level of validation needed. Such as

Domain validation: Here, you only need to provide the ownership of the domain to the certificate authority. Then the SSL certificate authority may ask you for email verification, file base verification or web registrar’s information to validate your domain.

Also, this is the least expensive type of digital certificate. Usually, these types of certificates take a few minutes to several hours to receive. If you want only some necessary encryptions, then this is the best option. It only covers basic encryption of your data.

Although you can assure that your data is encrypted and protected, you cannot precisely know who is genuinely receiving the information you sent.

Organisation validation: apart from the basic encryption and validation of the ownership of the domain name, some other details of the owner such as name and address are authenticated. Usually, it takes a few hours to several days to receive this kind of certificates.

Extended validation: This is the most expensive digital certificate that provides the highest security to your data. In addition to the ownership of the domain authentication, the legal, operational and physical entity of the organisation will be verified. Usually, it takes several days to several weeks to receive this kind of digital certificate.

How Does a Digital Certificate Work

Here are the steps of how SSL certificates work

First, a browser or server tries to connect to a website that has an SSL certificate installed. The browser requests that the web server identify itself

Then the webserver send a copy of its SSL certificate to the browser

Next, the browser/ server checks the validity of the certificate and then send a message to the webserver

Then the webserver send a digitally signed message to the browser saying to start an encrypted session

Finally, encrypted data is shared between the browser and web server

Why Do I Need an SSL

  • Because it protects your sensitive data such as usernames, passwords, credit card details etc. It also helps to
  • Increase your Google ranking since most users like to use secured web sites
  • Keep data secure between servers
  • Improve conversion rates
  • Build customer trust.

How to Buy an SSL

Many sites allow you to purchase SSL certificates. You can do some research and then compare the prices of the companies and the services they offer before buying an SSL certificate for your site.