A Guide to SSL Certificates

A Guide to SSL Certificates

Customer confidence is an important factor for any website that is operating on the World Wide Web. And in order to boost customer confidence and trust your site must be secured so that your customers’ sensitive information is kept confidential. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate is one of the most vital tools you have for protecting your customers’ sensitive information, comforting customers that your website is trustworthy and assisting in making your business legitimate. In this article you will discover how SSL certificates can get your website secure.

What is an SSL?

An SSL (Secure Socket Layers) certificate is a protocol for allowing data encryption on the Internet. An SSL certificate protects sensitive communication on your website by establishing a secure connection between web browsers and servers, server to server and web based applications. In other words, SSL certificates allow information, such as data transfer, login credentials, social security numbers and credit card, to be transmitted securely.

When you install an SSL certificate on your web server you can access your server securely by using “https” with your domain name. Once a browser connects to a secure site it retrieves its SSL certificate and ensures that it is not expired, that it has been issued by a CA (Certificate Authority) that is trusted and that it is used for the purpose issued. If a site fails for any of those reasons, than the browser will display a warning message. If successful, than depending on the SSL that you choose, there are a few trust indicators that signify that your website is protected by an SSL certificate, including: a URL that begins with “https”,a padlock in the web browser or a green address bar.

So who needs an SSL certificate?

Here are a few examples of websites that need SSL server certificates:

Websites that comply with privacy and security requirements.

Websites that receive online orders and credit cards.

Websites that have a login or sign in.

Websites that process sensitive information.

Steps to getting an SSL certificate

1. Preparation: Here are a few things that you need to take care of before buying an SSL.

· Generate a CSR

You will need to generate and save a CSR (Certificate Signing Request) to a text file on the server where the SSL will be enabled. If you are not the one that manages your website, then you will have to contact your web hosting provider or Internet provider to request a CSR.This must be done before requesting an SSL.

· Updated WHOIS record

When you purchase an SSL Server Certificate for a specific domain name, the CA must make sure that you own the domain in question and that you are authorized to get the certificate. This is vetted by making sure that the company name and address matches the WHOIS record, where the ownership and contact information is listed for each domain.

· Unique IP Address

You need a unique IP address is needed because SSL certificates require that you have a separate IP for each certificate. For the most part, SSL’s only secure one domain name or sub-domain, nonetheless, the certificate will also work on a different domain name. However, when the address does not match the domain name (aka common name) the web browser will give an error. For those websites that require an SSL for multiple sub-domains on a single domain, then a wildcard certificate would be the best choice. There are also other SSL server certificates, like Unified Communications (UC) certificates, that would secure several domain names in one certificate.

2. Buy an SSL

The type of SSL server certificate that you choose will depend on what your requirements are. And depending on what type of certificate you have applied for and the provider that you have requested it from will determine the time in which it takes to get it. If it is domain validated only then it will take only a few minutes to get it. However, an organization validated one will take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. And if you are getting an extended validation one then you could wait as long as a few days to several weeks.

3. Install the SSL server certificate

Upon getting your SSL certificate, you then must install your certificate on the server you generated the CSR from.

4. Make sure everything is correct

After you install your certificate, it is recommended that you ensure everything is working properly.

With all of the benefits that are derived from an SSL, going through the arduous process of obtaining a certificate is worth the time and effort. Trying to operate devoid of a SSL server can discourage customers from visiting your site. So with that said, securing your site with an SSL Certificate is an absolute must, as it protects websites from potential web threats and also builds an effective reputation online.

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