Have you ever wondered why certain URLs begin with http:// and others begin with https://?
Perhaps you noticed the added "s" while visiting websites that need you to provide sensitive information, such as when paying bills online.
But what does that additional "s" imply, and where did it originate from?
Simply said, the additional "s" indicates that your connection to that website is secure and encrypted, and that any information you provide is securely exchanged with that website. SSL stands for "Secure Sockets Layer," and it's the technology behind that tiny "s."
What is the difference between an SSL certificate and a digital certificate?
SSL certificates are short data files that create a secure connection between a web server and a browser using cryptography. This connection guarantees that all information sent between the web server and the browser is kept private.
On an unsafe website, the information you input on a page containing a form to fill out and submit might be intercepted by a hacker.
This information might range from bank account information to an email address used to register for an offer. In hacker jargon, this kind of "interception" is known as a "man-in-the-middle assault."
Are you curious in how assaults take place? One of the most prevalent methods is as follows: On the server that hosts a website, a hacker install a tiny, undetectable listening application. That malware sits in the background waiting for a visitor to start inputting information on the website, at which point it activates to begin collecting the data and sending it back to the hacker.
Isn't it a bit frightening?
When you visit a website that uses SSL encryption, your browser will establish a connection with the web server, verify the SSL certificate, and then bind your browser to the server. This secure connection ensures that only you and the website can view or access the information you enter.
This connection is instantaneous, and some even claim that it is quicker than connecting to an insecure website. Simply visit a website that uses SSL, and your connection will be encrypted immediately.
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It's a protocol that ensures that data exchanged between servers and web browsers is kept secret. This is accomplished via the use of an encrypted connection between the server and the browser.
SSL certificates should be installed on every website that requests personal information from a user, such as an email address or payment information. Having one indicates that the information you're gathering is secure, and it assures customers that their privacy is protected when they see the padlock and https://.
The amount of validation and encryption supplied OR the number of domains or subdomains covered by the certificate are used to classify SSL certificates.
Depending on the SSL you receive, you may earn one of three sorts of certificates. Let's take a closer look at them.
Certificates of Various Types
SSL certificates are classified as encryption and validation, as well as domain number. They are divided into three categories and may be applied for on the SSL website. A Certificate Authority (CA), which is software created particularly for operating and providing certificates, processes certificates.
There are three types of encryption and validation certificates: domain, organisation, and extended validation. The varieties of certificates based on the domain number include single, multidomain, and wildcard.
- SSL Certificate with Extended Validation (EV)
To avoid being mistaken for a spam website, this certificate displays the padlock, HTTPS, company name, and business nation in the address bar.
Extended Validation (SV) SSL certificates are the most costly, but they are useful for demonstrating the authenticity of your website in the address bar. To get an EV SSL, you'll need to show that you have permission to use the domain you're submitting. This assures customers that you are lawfully gathering the information required to complete particular tasks, such as a credit card number for an online purchase.
Any organisation may acquire an EV SSL certificate, and it should be a top priority for companies that want identity assurance. If your website accepts online payments or gathers data, for example, you'll want to acquire this certificate.
- Certificate with Organisation Validation (OV SSL)
This certificate validates that your company and domain are legitimate. Organization Validated (OV) SSL certificates are acquired in two phases and provide a medium degree of encryption. The CA would first check who owns the domain and if the company is functioning lawfully.
Users would see a little green padlock with the company's name after it on their browser. If you don't have the financial means for an EV SSL but still want to provide a reasonable degree of encryption, use this sort of certificate.
- Certificate with Domain Validation (DV)
A green padlock next to the URL in the address bar indicates that the Domain Validation (DV) certificate provides a modest degree of encryption. This is the fastest validation available, and it just requires a few corporate papers to apply.
When you add a DNS to the CA, this verification occurs. The CA will examine the applicant's eligibility to possess the domain being submitted for this certificate. (Note that DVs only safeguard the domain itself, not subdomains.)
The CA, unlike the EV SSL, will not check any identifying data, thus you will have no idea who is getting your encrypted data. However, if you're part of a company that can't afford a higher-level SSL, a DV will do.
- SSL Certificates with Wildcards
Wildcard SSL Certificates are classified as "domain and subdomain number." Wildcard SSLs guarantee that if you acquire a certificate for one domain, you may use it for subdomains as well.
If you acquired a Wildcard for example.com, you might use it for mail.example.com and blog.example.com, for example. This is less expensive than getting numerous SSL certificates for a phone number or domain.
- SSL Certificate for Unified Communications (UCC)
Unified Communications certificates (UCCs), also known as Multi-domain SSL certificates, enable many domain names to reside on the same certificate. UCCs were originally designed to connect a single server and browser, but they've subsequently grown to accommodate numerous domain names owned by the same person.
To demonstrate verification, a UCC in the address bar displays a padlock. They may also be classified as an EV SSL if the green text, padlock, and home country are shown. The only difference is the amount of domain names that this certificate is linked with.
SSL certificates that cover up to 100 domain names are known as multi-domain SSL certificates. You may use the Subject Alternative Name (SAN) option to change the names in any manner you choose. www.domain.co.uk, www.domain.com, mail.example.com, and checkout.example.com are some instances of Multi-domain names you may employ.
- SSL Certificate for a Single Domain
One domain is protected with a single domain SSL certificate. It's important to realise that you can't use this certificate to secure subdomains or an entirely separate domain.
If you buy a certificate for example.com, you won't be able to use it for blog.example.com or 2ndexample.com.
What is the procedure for obtaining an SSL certificate for my website?
The first step is to figure out what kind of certificate you'll need. If you're hosting material on numerous platforms (on distinct domains/subdomains), for example, you may need different SSL certificates.
For the most part, a regular SSL certificate will suffice. However, if your company is in a regulated field, such as banking or insurance, it's important to check with your IT team to be sure you're following the industry's unique SSL certificate standards.
SSL certificates vary in price, however you may receive a free certificate or pay for a personalised certificate on a monthly basis. On the free side, Let's Encrypt provides certificates for no charge, but I highly advise you to get the assistance of someone who is familiar with your website's DNS and technical configuration. Make sure these certificates are up to date since they will expire in 90 days. Some CMS solutions, such as HubSpot's free CMS, will include a free SSL to assist you get started with website security.
The certificate's validity duration is another important aspect. Most conventional SSL certificates are valid for one to two years by default, but if you need a longer-term solution, check into more complex certificates with extended validity periods.
Is SSL beneficial to SEO?
Yes. While SSL's main goal is to secure information sent between visitors and your website, it also has Search Engine Optimization advantages. SSL is a feature of Google's search ranking algorithm, according to Google Webmaster Trends Analysts.
Furthermore, suppose two websites offer equal material, but one has SSL enabled and the other does not. Because it is encrypted, the first website may gain a minor ranking boost. As a consequence, installing SSL on your website and across your pages has an obvious SEO advantage.