In this article, we will go in-depth about both what a SSL certificate is and how they work.
What is a SSL Certificate?
In this section, we will give a basic overview about what SSL certificates are. SSL stand for Secure Socket Layer, and it is a protocol that does two main things.
1) It encrypts all data sent between your visitors and the server helping to prevent 3rd party assailants from seeing the data as it moves over the internet.
2) It “certifies” your website telling your visitors browsers that this site is indeed the correct site and not some phishing site trying to take their information.
Now, you may be asking what the difference is between HTTPs and SSL, and the answer is… none! When you see HTTPs, it is telling you that the site is secured with a SSL certificate.
Why do I need a SSL?
For most websites you won’t need an SSL certificate. However if you work with any type of sensitive information (credit card details, medical records, or if you just want to secure your site’s login), it is highly recommended that you have a SSL certificate to help keep that information secure. In fact in some situations (mostly when dealing with credit card details or medical records), you are required to have some form of SSL certificate.
Depending on the purpose of your website, you may need to contact your credit card merchant or review HIPAA guidelines to find out if one is needed.
How do they work?
At its basic, it encrypts all data sent between the server and the user using a private and public key. The server holds the private key and sends out the public key to be used by the client when encrypting traffic sent from their computer. At the same time, the browser generates a public and private key and sends the public key back to the server so the server has a method of encrypting traffic.
What are the different types?
There are many different types of SSL certificates. All of them have the ability to encrypt information sent between the server and the user. The main difference is how it validates the domain, company and website information. Below we outline the different types of SSLs and what they validate.
This is the most common form of SSL certificates and provides basic domain verification.
This type of certificate allows you to secure multiple subdomains using the same certificate. This is very helpful when you or your company uses subdomains (billing.example.com, support.example.com, shop.example.com, etc) to split up the different parts of your website.
EV (Extended validation)
This type of certificate is most commonly used by banks or other high profile companies that want to prove that the website you are looking at is in fact the website for the company. This type of certificate also changes how most browsers behave. For example, in Internet Explorer, it turns the address bar green showing that the website you are viewing is secured with an EV certificate.
How do I get one?
While we do allow SSL certificates provided by other issuers, we also provide the ability to purchases SSL certificates directly through MushroomTech.com
That’s a wrap!
We hope this article has been enlightening and that we have shed some light on how SSL certificates help make the internet a more secure place. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here.