SSL certificate

The term SSL certificate simply explained

An incredible number of people use the Internet and search engines like Google every day. Countless pieces of information can be accessed in a very short time, global communication is just a click away through the Internet and data can be exchanged easily and quickly. 

Data transmitted via the World Wide Web can unfortunately also fall victim to cybercrime. Sensitive data such as passwords or networks can be tapped by such attacks. In order to protect sensitive user data from such cyberattacks, the SSL Certificates developed. 

If a website has an SSL certificate, data is encrypted and thus secured. 

What is an SSL certificate?

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security technology used to protect the information transferred between a user's browser and a server. The SSL certificate is a small file that puts encryption over the given domain. When an SSL certificate is enabled on a domain and server, the secure connection is enabled via an https protocol. Thus, an SSL certificate helps to ensure that the Data encrypted and secure are and prevents malicious third parties from accessing sensitive information through browsers or servers -. An SSL certificate with an https protocol on domain or server guarantees security!


Info icon comma99 When a user visits a website that has an SSL certificate, the browser displays a padlock icon in the address bar. This indicates that the website is secure and the transmitted data is encrypted. The user can thus enter sensitive information such as credit card numbers and other personal information without fear of it being stolen or misused.


An SSL certificate is thus essential for any website that works with sensitive data. Especially webshops that accept online payments, but also other websites that work with sensitive customer data, need to ensure that information is safe and secure. 


How does an SSL certificate work?

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is responsible for the encryption of data. Encryption involves encoding information in such a way that it cannot be read by anyone except the intended recipient. A specific type of encryption is used for this - namely two keys, each with randomly generated number combinations. This generates a private key and a public key. The public key is known to the server of the respective website and is also available in the domain. For example, if messages or information are transmitted, they are always encrypted thanks to this technology and cannot be identified by third parties (without a key). 

SSL encryption encrypts data before it is sent over a network connection. As a result, the web server and the browser use the SSL protocol to provide an secure connection here. This makes it impossible for third parties to decrypt the information. 

If a website uses SSL encryption, it can be recognized by the fact that the address starts with "https" instead of "http". 

There is another way of encrypting websites - TLS. TLS (Transport Layer Security) is an updated version of SSL that provides even higher security. TLS works the same way as SSL, also using encryption to protect the transmission of information. In the industry, the terms SSL and TLS are often used as synonyms, but the term SSL is more common. 


Why do you need an SSL certificate?

The answer is simple: because the website or webshop only allows a secure connection through this. Without an SSL certificate (or TLS), websites and web stores are classified as not secure - from the user's point of view alone, this is already not very trustworthy. SSL certificates are therefore relevant for every website and webshop, especially when sensitive information is collected. This information (credit card data, user names, passwords, etc.) is protected by SSL certificates.

Besides the secure connection, the use of SSL certificates has another advantage: The connection via http has been an official ranking factor of Google since 2014. Search engines like Google therefore pay attention to a secure connection for websites and webshops. So it is possible that by activating an SSL certificate the Google rankings within the search engine will be improved.


What SSL certificates are available?

There are three different types of SSL certificates: Extended Validation (EV SSL), Organization Validated (OV SSL) and Domain Validated (DV SSL).

  • Domain Validated (DV SSL): The Domain Validation SSL certificate is the least stringent level of verification. To obtain a DV SSL, a company or organization only needs to prove that the domain in question is controlled by them. The process to activate a DV SSL is mostly automated and very inexpensive. A Domain Validated SSL certificate is suitable for the following websites: blogs, portfolio websites or small businesses. 
  • Organization Validated (OV SSL): The Organization Validation SSL requires a manual verification process. This requires an official certificate authority to contact the company or organization and possibly perform verifications. An Organization Validated SSL certificate should be used by SMEs and larger websites.
  • Extended Validation (EV SSL): Extended Validation SSL certificates require that a full verification of the particular organization requesting the SSL certificate has been performed. This validation level takes the longest and is therefore the most expensive. However, Extended Validation SSL Certificates are also more trustworthy than other SSL Certificates. These certificates are also required for the address of a website to be displayed in green in the browser. Extended Validation SSL certificates are required for the following websites: Large companies, online stores, financial companies. 


Where to get an SSL certificate?

Most of the time, SSL certificates can be easily activated via the server hosting or domain management. If this is not possible, SSL certificates can also be purchased through other providers and installed directly on the server. 


How long is an SSL certificate valid?

An SSL certificate is not valid forever. Depending on the provider, SSL certificates have a validity of at least 3 to a maximum of 24 months. If the validity has expired, a new SSL certificate must be applied for the website, otherwise the website will no longer be displayed under https and the security is no longer given. 

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