An SSL Certificate is a small file that will digitally secure (by means of encryption) an organisation’s web site or web application. When installed on a web server or web site, it activates the commonly seen padlock symbol and the https protocol and allows secure connections from the web server to a client’s or user’s browser (Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Internet Explorer amongst others). Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and login details, and more recently is becoming the norm when securing the browsing of other web sites.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’ and is a security protocol used to secure data between two machines using encryption. As a website owner it is your responsibility to secure your customer data and keep your users and your own business safe. Without SSL in place, hackers can easily exploit your website or web application to steal its information including credit card details and web site usernames and passwords.
Once a secure connection is established by installing an SSL Certificate, all web traffic between the web server and the users web browser will be secure using the HTTPS protocol. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
Depending on the type of certificate you install and what browser your users are surfing the internet on, a browser will show a padlock or green bar in the browser when you visit a website that has an SSL Certificate installed.
What does a website with an SSL Certificate installed look like?
Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates:
Standard SSL Certificates display:
How Does an SSL Certificate Work?
SSL Certificates use something called encryption. This encryption uses two ‘keys’ which are long strings of randomly generated numbers. One is called a private key and one is called a public key. The public key is known to your server and available in the public domain through your web browser. It can be used to encrypt any message. The private key is only known to the server and is used to decrypt the message. In terms of your website the communication takes place between the browser and your server.
Why Do I Need An SSL Certificate?
SSL Certificates protect sensitive information such as credit card information, usernames, passwords etc, they safeguard your users and you as a business. It will also:
- Keep data secure between servers
- Can help increases your Google Rankings
- Builds/Enhances customer trust
- Improves conversion rates
Where Do I Buy An SSL Certificate?
SSL Certificates need to be issued from a trusted Certificate Authority. Although they can be purchased from many different sources it is important you receive the right information beforehand. In the case of e-commerce, an incorrectly installed or configured SSL Certificate can result in a lack of confidence in the website and your business risks losing confidence and business from the majority of customers.
Enigma Creative can help advise your business with the purchase of your SSL certificate to ensure your web site or web application functions as securely as possible.