SSL is short for secure sockets layer, a standard security protocol used to form encrypted connections between a web server and a web browser. It’s a commonly used cybersecurity measure that ensures no interceptions or modification take place during data transactions. SSL ensures that the data being exchanged between the webserver, and the browser remains secure and private.
An SSL certificate refers to the code on a web server that provides security during online transactions and communications. It establishes an encrypted connection when a browser attempts to contact your secure website. Think of it like a seal on an envelope to add a layer of security before it’s mailed.
SSL certificates contain specific identification information. This means that when you request an SSL certificate, your information is first verified by a third party that issues a unique certificate containing that very information. This process is called authentication.
Here’s how it works:
Each time a user visits a secured website, the SSL certificate installed on the server establishes an encrypted connection. A copy of the web server’s SSL certificate is sent to the browser from which the request was made. Upon receiving this information, the browser verifies the information on the SSL certificate and sends a message to the web server.
This is met with an acknowledgment from the web server, which then starts an SSL encrypted session. All data shared between the web server and the browser is now encrypted.
SSL certificates are necessary for keeping online transactions and interactions private and secure, even as they make their way across the Internet. They’re also useful for building trust with your customers, as the process gives customers the confidence to share personal information on your website.
If your website asks your users for private details like their credit card or account numbers, or is used to view sensitive information like health benefits, you need data security and privacy. An SSL certificate assures your customers that your website is a safe platform, prompting them to proceed.