29Jan, 2022

What are SSL certificates?

What are SSL certificates? How do they work? And why do you need one? These are all questions I will attempt to answer in this article.

First, what are SSL certificates?

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates a web site’s identity and enables an encrypted connection. The term SSL stands for secure sockets layer. Have you ever been browsing and noticed how websites have HTTPS:// in front of their domain name? The ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for secure. Some websites lack this ‘S’, and your browser may warn you that those sites are not protected. To get that ‘S’, one needs an SSL certificate. This ensures that nobody can intercept your communication when you interact with the website and input any data into the website. The transmission is secure.

Second, how do SSL certificates work?

SSL certificates work by using an algorithm to scramble and encrypt data sent from your browser to the webserver or vice versa. Here’s is a short outline of the process that occurs after you have typed the name of the website you want to access.

  1. Your browser sends a request to the webserver of the domain you want to access and asks it to identify itself.
  2.  The server sends a copy of its SSL certificate to your browser
  3. Your browser verifies the certificate to see if it trusts the server.
  4. If it does authorise the server, it sends a signal to the server acknowledging this fact.
  5. The server then sends back a digitally signed acknowledgement to start an SSL encrypted browsing session.

This process takes place in a matter of milliseconds. The user can now safely use the website knowing that it is authentic and that their data is secure.

Why do you need an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is essential to ensure a secure online browsing experience. If a website lacks this certificate, one’s data is at risk of being intercepted. The interception can be used for nefarious purposes by hackers. An SSL certificate helps ensure information such as login credentials, credit/ debit card information or anything else that one input into the website is secure. Also, having a website with an SSL certificate helps improve SEO. Search engines rank websites that they trust and know are safe higher in their list.

Moreover, SSL certificates ensure the website is authentic. Hackers have created fake copies of websites and sent links to unsuspecting victims. These people enter their login credentials, and the hackers steal them and login into their real accounts. To distinguish your website from fake ones, get an SSL certificate.

 If you want an SSL certificate for your website, we can help you. 

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