An SSL Certificate is a digital certificate that necessitates authentication for a website and also enhances an encrypted connection to the server.
They are important because they give information about domain ownership by the web service host, at the time of issuance to the certificate authority.
Benefits of having an SSL Certificate
- SEO benefits! Google Announced SSL is a ranking signal
- Shows your side is verified and safe from hackers
- It ensures data security
- It ensures your website identity is authenticated
- Keeps attackers at bay, hence no tempering with your internet communication
- Ensures protection of your website from serious threats such as data breaches, phishing scams
- Ambient and secure environment between clients and the server is enhanced
Basic facts about SSL
Secure Sockets Layer is a protocol all for servers and web browsers that enhances authentication, encryption and decryption of any data transmitted over the internet.
How it works
- The client networks to a SSL service in this case the website
- Clients application prompts a request for the server’s key
- The client sends to the server which will then be encrypted by the server’s public key.
In server to server communication, the client can send his own certificate if requested by the server.
Ways you can use SSL
- Asymmetric Cryptography
This makes use of a mathematically related key pair to encrypt data. Where one is interested in communication, one key referred to as a public key is then shared. The other pair referred to as a private key is secretly kept.
- Symmetric Cryptography
This has only one key to encrypt and decrypt data. This key is only known to the sender and the receiver. The commonly used symmetric algorithms are AES-192, AES-128, and AES-256.
Process of data transfer over SSL
SSL protocol transfers data using the symmetrical and asymmetrical
Cryptography. This allows communication to take place between the server and the browser, leading to the actual data transfer and SSL handshake.
- SSL Handshake
This is an asymmetrical cryptography which is crucial in verifying the web server, obtaining the public key and creating a secure connection before actual data transfer takes place.
- Actual data transfer
This is a symmetrical cryptography where the shared session key is used by the client and server to encrypt and decrypt the data and transfer it. This is preferred over asymmetrical cryptography because it is easy and consumes less CUP.
Why is an SSL Certificate crucial online?
It confirms authentication. the identity of the provider is established.
It enhances sure connections between websites and other devices.
It helps build website trust. Customers and visitors are also protected from scammers.
It secures data and information such as:
- Contracts and legal documents
- Personal information such as name, date and year of birth, addresses etc.
- Credit cards and bank details
- Medical information
- Legal contracts and documents
- Logins and references
Types of SSL Certificates
There are three types depending on the level of security. It is important to know the kind of SSL Certificate used by different sites that can best suit your needs.
- Those based on level of validation
It enables the website to set a trust level with the client’s visitors. This ensures that important information collected from the website is transferred securely. They include:
- Domain validated certificate
This only verifies the owner of the site
This certificate demands a low level validation because its only function is to secure communication between the browser and the web domain. Certificate Authority sends an email to the sites email address to verify its identity. These certificates have little trust, hence prone to cybercrimes as they are easily obtained.
- Organizational validated certificate
This uses medium level validation and is good for public websites with less sensitive information. The certificate Authority validates certain information such as the website’s domain name, the organization and its location. It examines the right of the organization to access the domain and information.
- Extended validation certificates
This is an option for websites with highly sensitive information. It is easily identifiable and demands a high-level validation as it performs an organizational background control in relation to its principles such as verification of physical, legal and operational entities. The process involves applicants review by the CA to ascertain his performance. Corporate documents are examined, the identity of the applicant is confirmed and the information is compared with those in third-party databases.
- Those based on the domains they can secure.
- Single domain certificate.
This can only secure one domain name that is fully qualified. It cannot protect subdomains.
- Wildcard SSL Certificate
These are found in the domain and subdomain number. In a single domain, unlimited a number of subdomains can be secured with this certificate. It is better than using several SSL certificates for a single domain.
- Unified SSL Certificate
This uses SAN extension to secure many domains of up to 100, using the same certificate. You can also change names with the SAN.
This certificate helps link communication between the server and the browser. Also involve several domain names by the same person.
How to get a SSL Certificate.
- Establish the choice of the certificate
Different SSL certificates are needed when you are using many platforms such as subdomains. Ordinarily, a standard SSL certificate will suffice. You can consult an IT expert for further advice.
- Determine Validity period
Most SSL certificates do not last long, available for two years at most. It is advisable to look for advanced options. These would last long.
How to confirm if your SSL Certificate is valid
Go to the website, click on the padlock to check on its encryption status. Alternatively, go to your browser then click View˃ Developer˃ Developer tools then go to security. You will be able to check its status.
Ways to get an SSL Certificate
- Get a certificate for free
Free domain validated certificates are offered by Cloudfare and Let’s encrypt.
- Buy an SSL Certificate
You can buy from thesslstore.com. The team at TargetMySite has DNS knowledge needed to set your SSL certificate up quickly.