What is a Secure Socket Layer Certificate?

What is a Secure Socket Layer?

A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is a security standard for Internet communications that encrypts network traffic between a browser and a server. Its use is common in web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, and voice-over IP (VoIP) protocols. SSL certification is used by corporations to assure visitors to their websites that they are connected securely and any information given to the website is accessible only by the legitimate administrators of the website.

What is SSL certification?

SSL certifications are offered by third-party organizations recognized as certification authorities (CA). Most CAs offer SSL certification as package deals with different certification packages offering different levels of security based on the customer’s needs and budget. Once certification is acquired, the CA will inspect the security of the website while offering suggestions on how to improve your website’s security as well as identifying potential or confirmed attacks on your server(s).

How does SSL encryption work?

SSL encryption is initiated when a user requests a secure connection to a website. This is most frequently done by entering “https://” — the “s” designates a request for an SSL connection — in your browser’s URL bar. In response to this request, the server will send its SSL certification along with its public SSL key. Once the browser has confirmed the certificate’s authenticity, it uses the public key it received to encrypt its outgoing traffic. The public key ensures that only the holder of the private key — usually the server that sent the public key — is capable of decrypting the traffic. Once the traffic is decrypted and the browser’s request is processed, the server encrypts the requested information and sends it to the browser where it is decrypted with the public SSL key the browser received.

What is a shared SSL certificate?

Many websites elect to offload various technical duties to a website-hosting company. Usually, these duties include establishing an SSL server. Website administrators who choose to utilize the hosting company’s SSL server also share the hosting company’s SSL certification. This is known as a shared SSL and is usually acquired by start-up websites and online retailers that operate on a very limited budget. The InstantEcom.net service from Websites-NOW includes a shared SSL that gives you a secure checkout process without having to pay for or set up those services yourself.

What is a dedicated SSL certificate?

Unlike shared SSL certificates, a dedicated (or private) certificate is purchased directly from a recognized CA by the website administrators. Because the administrators have elected to host their website on their own servers, they must also establish and operate their own SSL server.

How does one acquire an SSL certificate?

As stated earlier, each CA offers their own certification packages for different prices based on the security level needed and services each package offers. Prices for SSL certification can range from under $100 to over $1,000 per year and can secure anywhere from one to an unlimited number of servers.