What Is an SSL Certificate? – Complete Guide

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In recent years, the security breaches in the form of ransomware and malware penetration are prevailing and surging up. This occurrence is partly to be blamed on the internet users as they visit’s unwanted links which don’t lead to their destination. Hence, getting their personal information exposed to hackers and thieves.

These disasters can be avoided by the internet users through the application of SSL certificate. It is a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate method of encryption which protects your sensitive personal information being transferred from one end to another. Such that there is no intrusion of hackers or identity thieves throughout the data transfer process.

Website with an SSL certificates can be spotted by looking at the green padlock (or sometimes padlock) around the URL bar. The “HTTPS://” instead of “HTTP://”, where S in HTTPS stands for secure.

Sometimes, the URL bar turns green (or the left side of the URL bar or the text of company’s name is green). It indicates that a company has installed Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate.

How does SSL Certificate work?

The SSL certificate uses public cryptography which is a unique type of cryptography that has two string keys:

Public: Use to encrypt the message and you can find in a public domain of the recipient.
Private: Use to decrypt the message which finds only on the recipient.

Through this process, a private information sent between the user’s browser and the website’s server is encrypted and undecipherable. If an SSL certificate were not to be there, a third party can intercept the process of personal information exchange as the data goes through multiple places on the internet in the unencrypted form.

Hackers can impersonate the website where sensitive information is demanded. Although it is very difficult for them to acquire an SSL certificate as they go through several identity checks. An internet user can avoid phishing by integrating the SSL certificate for the website as it creates a secure connection.

Purposes of using SSL Certificate

SSL Certificates protect your sensitive information and acts like an encryption between the recipient and the server. Many websites which require entering sensitive data like credit card information have the SSL Certificates installed in them for protection.

Encrypts sensitive information

The primary reason for using the SSL certificate is to encrypt data shared between the Internets and keep it away from the prying eyes of the data thieves. If a website is not encrypted by SSL certificates. A computer can act as a man in the middle attack and steal your information without being notified about the activity to the recipient and the website server.

A website with a licensed SSL certificate can exchange information which is unreadable to any third party except the recipient. Only the information passed from one computer to another can understand the information thus the installation of SSL certificate is important.

Provides Authentication

SSL certificate provides authentication in addition to encryption, which means that the information you’re exchanging or receiving is genuine and no impostor is trying to acquire your information.

While this may seem simple and basic, it is actually not. The Internet is an interconnected place and the data sent or received passes through several computers. Anyone can pretend or impersonate to be your intended website and steal the personal information.

For example, person “A” wants to send information to person “B” but person “C” is the unwanted person. If person B’s website is not SSL certificate encrypted. The person “C” can intercept the information sends to the person “B” and steal that data.

A particular way to avoid is to use a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) or use Extended Validation SSL certificates from a trusted SSL provider. EV SSL Certificates require more validation as compared to Standard SSL Certificates. Also, it should be the ones that are verified and included in most of the web browsers.

Provides Trust

To provide a seal of commitment or trust, browsers show some graphical differences, such as a padlock (in others, green) or the whole URL bar is tinted with green. These visual cues provide trust to visitors as their connection is secured.

This prevents cybercriminals to lure their customers and websites from stealing their information. A person with SSL certificate knowledge the security and privacy by blocking the entrance of hackers towards the personal information.

SSL certificate also improves the Google rankings for the websites implementing it as versions of Google Chrome on 56th and beyond will notify the users if they are not browsing a website with an SSL Certificate. Also, it improves the conversion rate of a website.

Implementing an SSL certificate on a website

To get started with implementing an SSL certificate. You’ll need to choose a trusted and verified SSL provider like Let’s Encrypt or GlobalSign which must comply with the list of certificates on the browsers and operating systems.

You can also choose to add Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates to your site that will require more checks and verification before being awarded. By this upgraded verification, the trust of the websites from customers will increase.

Conclusion

SSL certificate is not just a security enhancing tool taken for granted, but it is a mandatory thing which should not only encrypt the data being transferred. Also, it gain’s the trust of the customers and allow the site to sell more.

Nowadays, browsers present untrusted websites which don’t have SSL certificate installed. In result, customers lose the confidence on the website and increase the risk of losing their customer traffic.

Overall, the SSL certificate is recommended and important for websites. It allows a secure platform for communicating data between two different parties. It decreases the risk of personal data being exploited by the hackers and eventually, helps customers to gain the trust from the website.

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