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Everything You Need to Know About SSL/TLS Certificates

2019-05-16 by Sam Patel

Gaining Momentum into the SSL Industry

SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is an encryption technology which establishes encrypted links between a web server and a browser allowing the transmission of private data. In order to do so, an SSL Certificate must be installed on your web server which can be commonly seen as the Padlock Icon on the address bar.

HTTP VS HTTPS

HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol facilitates communication on the internet by dispatching data from a particular server to a browser in plain text, while permitting the users to browse the web pages.

HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, on the other hand, is an encrypted connection that securely transfers data between the servers using ciphertext.

The differentiating factor between the two protocols is the presence of an SSL certificate.

But first, let us understand what SSL is, and what is an SSL Certificate?

SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is an encryption technology which establishes encrypted links between a web server and a browser allowing the transmission of private data. In order to do so, an SSL Certificate must be installed on your web server which can be commonly seen as the Padlock Icon on the address bar.

An SSL Certificate also known as an TLS Certificate, is a digital certificate which can help you avoid data compromising situations by encrypting your data, so that when private information such as Credit card details, contact numbers, addresses, and social security numbers are entered by users onto a page in their web browser, it is then securely transferred to the server as HTTPS encrypts the data while it is in transit from the browser to the server, therefore, no man in the middle can hack in and steal the data. Hence providing users with a free environment to access your website without the worry of being stolen from.

So how does an SSL Certificate work?

Once you install a trusted Certificate Authority SSL Certificate, you would notice an https:// at the beginning of your website URL. Based on the kind of validation you have opted for at the time of your certificate issuance, (such as the Domain Validated, Organization Validated, or the Extended Validated Certificate) the website may also display a verified site seal.

After that, whenever a browser attempts to access your SSL secured website, an ‘SSL Handshake’ occurs. Now let us understand what is an SSL Handshake?

An SSL Handshake occurs when the browser and the SSL web server acknowledge and establish a connection instantly. The process is as follows:

  • A message is sent from the Client to the Server to initiate an SSL Communication called the ‘ClientHello’
  • In return, the Client receives a ‘ServerHello’ from the Server, mentioning the criteria required for establishing the connection.
  • Next, the server sends a ‘Certificate’ Message which consists of its SSL Certificate Chain. The Client then checks if the received certificate is authentic and makes sure that the Server has the Private Key. If the client receives a nonfunctioning certificate, the connection fails to take place.
  • The server finally sends a ‘Server Hello Done’ Message to let the client know that all the messages have been sent.
  • The client now sends its part of the encrypted key to the server.
  • A ‘Change Cipher Spec” message from the client lets the server know that it has generated the key and is going to encrypt the communication.
  • The server now sends a ‘Change Cipher Spec” message to let the client know that it is also encrypting the communication.
  • Finally, the server sends a ‘Finished’ Message.

The handshake process may seem lengthy and time-consuming when jotted down, but it merely takes milliseconds when actually performed.

Reasons to opt for HTTPS Security

To save yourself the trouble of being Cyberattacked, going for an HTTPS Protocol is always the right choice as it securely encrypts all your data. Even Google Chrome recently initiated a standard security check wherein if a site did not have an SSL Certificate, with a standard ‘HTTPS ’protocol, it would be instantly marked as “not secure.”

HTTPS equals to steady leads. A visitor would obviously trust a website approved by browsers such as Google or IE. However, they would immediately distrust or think twice before accessing an ‘unsecure’ webpage flagged by the browsers.

Getting an SSL Certificate instantly enhances the trust levels of numerous websites and leads to increased SEO Ratings while keeping intruders at bay.

SSL Certificates come with three distinct types of validation levels as mentioned earlier.

  • The Domain Validated SSL Certificate, which is the most basic validation certificate you can get from a certificate authority. It works best for Small Businesses, Bloggers, Freelancers, test domains, internal servers, etc., as it does not provide identity assurance but provides a secure HTTPS connection.
  • The Organization Validated SSL Certificate is a step higher than the domain certificate. This certificate is good to be used by established businesses who require proper legitimation.
  • The Extended Validated SSL Certificate is considered to be the epitome of security. An extremely rigorous validation process is set in place in order to receive the certificate, but the effort is worth it.

Need help in migrating to a secure HTTPS Connection? Contact us now!

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Author

Sam Patel

Sam Patel

CheapSSLsecurity Sam P is working as a Cyber Security expert for CheapSSLsecurity. He is expertise in various cyber technologies and algorithms like Encryption, Cryptography, Website Security, TLS/SSL Security, Cyber Security, and Data Protection. View Sam Patel`s profile for more
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