Thursday, December 23, 2010

What is SSL?


What is SSL? SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer, an encryption technology that was created by Netscape. SSL creates an encrypted connection between web server and web browser allowing for private information to be transmitted without the problems of eavesdropping, data tampering, or message forgery.

To enable SSL on a website, you will need to get an SSL Certificate that identifies you and install it on the server. The use of an SSL certificate on a website is usually indicated by a padlock icon in web browsers but it can also be indicated by a green address bar. Once you have done the SSL install, you can access a site securely by changing the URL from http:// to https://. When an SSL certificate is installed on a website, you can be sure that the information you enter (contact or credit card information), is secured and only seen by the organization that owns the website.

Millions of online businesses use SSL certificates to secure their websites and allow their customers to place trust in them. In order to use the SSL, a web server requires the use of an SSL certificate. SSL certificates are provided by Certificate Authorities (CAs).

How SSL Works

A certificate authority is an entity which issues digital certificates to organizations or people after validating them. Certification authorities have to keep detailed records of what has been issued and the information used to issue it. There are many commercial CAs that charge for their services (VeriSign, Thawte, SwissSign, DigiCert, Comodo, GoDaddy & etc.). You can have your own CAs, and there are also free Certificate Authorities.

Every certificate authority has different products, prices.

It is not necessary that certificates are better because they cost so much more. You can get a certificate for $100 that does that exact same thing as a certificate sold for $1000 from another certificate authority. It is the exact same SSL encryption.

Why the difference? Trust is the biggest difference. Since VeriSign has been around for longer than other certificate authorities, more people trust them so they can charge more. You are essentially paying for the brand.

The certificate you purchase to secure your web site must be trusted. If it isn't signed by a trusted root certificate, or if links in the certificate chain are missing, then the web browser will give a warning message that the web site may not be trusted.

So browser compatibility means that the certificate you buy is signed by a root certificate that is already trusted by most web browsers that your customers may be using. The certificates from all major certificate providers are compatible with 99% of all browsers.

A trust seal is a logo that you can display on your web site in order to maximize customer trust.

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