SSL Certificates (Secure Socket Layer)

In today's evolving World Wide Web, many reasons exist for companies and individuals to want to secure transmissions of valuable information from their Website or their databases to a client's computer.

From preventing online theft by cybercriminals, to protecting internal company information on an intranet, it is more important than ever to have as much protection as possible. SSL encryption is one of the keys to that protection.

SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer.” SSL is an Internet transfer technology that establishes a secure link between your visitors' Internet browser and your Website or database so that all communications transmitted between the server and receiver are securely encrypted.

Why do you need a SSL certificate?

SSL Certificates Have Two Basic Functions

Authentication / Verification: An SSL certificate contains information about the authenticity of the identity of a Website, business or person, which is displayed to visitors on your Website when they click on the browser’s padlock symbol.

Data Encryption: The SSL certificate also enables encryption, which means that the sensitive information exchanged via the Website cannot be intercepted and read by anyone other than the intended recipient. SSL is also used for transmitting secure emails, database files, cellphone data, credit card transactions, Website logins, and other sensitive or proprietary information.

SSL Encryption works by using 'Keys.' Each SSL session consists of two keys. A key is basically a mathematical formula, or algorithm, that is used to encrypt (lock) or decrypt (unlock) your information.

  • The 'public key' is used to encrypt the information.
  • The 'private key' is used to decrypt the information so it can be read.

How to Tell if a Website Has an SSL Certificate

A standard Website that does not have an SSL Certificate displays “http:// ” before the Website address in the browser address bar. HTTP stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol,” which is the standard method to transmit information over the Internet.

A Website that is secured with an SSL Certificate will display “https:// ” before the address, with the letter “S” denoting 'Secure HTTP.'

Types of SSL Certificates

SSL Certificates are available at several levels of protection depending on the client's needs. The main difference between the three types of SSL Certificates is the amount of vetting or background checks that the Website owner must pass to gain approval by a Certificate Authority (CA), which is authorized to issue high-level SSL Certificates.

The three basic levels of SSL Certificates are:

  • Domain Validation (DV) – This is the lowest level of SSL and is used for basic informational Websites, blogs, etc. The process to obtain one only requires the applicant to prove ownership of the Domain name.
  • Organization Validation (OV) – The OV is the second-highest level of protection and as with the EV (below) requires an extensive background check of the applicant's business and personal information. It is used for high-level encryption to send sensitive information over the Internet.
  • Extended Validation (EV) – This is the highest level of protection and requires the most in-depth background investigation of the applicant. The EV is generally used for high-profile Websites that process payments, require logins with personal information, collect data etc.

SSL Certificates are most reliable when issued by a Certificate Authority (CA). The CA has stringent policies about who may receive an SSL Certificate. If your SSL Certificate is issued by a respected CA, it instills a higher level of security and trust for your visitors and clients.

Ready to secure your data? We highly recommend WWW.SSL.COM for SSL Certificates to protect your Website or databases, and do so within your budget. Your business will be more secure and so will your customers' financial and personal information.

SSL Certificates

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