SSL Certificates Explained

Dwane Welsh
What is SSL and an SSL Certificate?SSL

First of all, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for setting up an encrypted (converting information or data into a code, especially to prevent unauthorized access) link between a web server (where your website is hosted) and a browser (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari – to name some of the more popular). This link ensures the privacy of all data passed between the web server and browsers.

An SSL certificate on the other hand enables a web server to create an SSL connection (encrypted link). SSL certificates are expected by consumers for any site that handles sensitive information like identity information, credit card numbers, or confidential records.

If your website requires users to log in, enter personal information such as credit card numbers or view confidential information such as financial statements, you need to keep the data private and assure your customers that their data is completely safe.

Use of an SSL digital certificate assures website users of 3 things:

  1. That the website really is who it claims to be.
  2. That credit card numbers and other confidential information is encrypted (128bit or higher) and cannot be intercepted.
  3. That the data sent and received cannot be tampered with or forged.

SSL certificates inspire trust because each SSL certificate contains identification information. When you request an SSL certificate, a third party (such as Comodo) verifies your organization’s information and issues a unique certificate to you with that information. This is known as the authentication process. When an Internet user visits a secure web site, an SSL certificate provides identification information about the web server and establishes an encrypted connection. This process all happens in a fraction of a second.

Okay, so now you understand a little bit more about SSL and what an SSL certificate does. You may be asking which SSL certificate is right for me and how do I go about getting one installed and set up?

Which SSL Certificate is right for Me?

Thhe highest level of trust among your site’s users.

Purchasing and Installing an SSL Certificate

If ye right SSL certificate for your business or organization depends on your web site and your audience. We offer three different types of SSL Certificates that cover most scenarios starting at $24.00/year.

(Note: If your website is hosted with us, we will gladly install your SSL Certificate for FREE!)

  1. Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) for the web server you plan to secure (if you are hosted with us, we will do this for you). If you do not manage your own web server, contact your web host or Internet service provider to request a CSR.
  2. Select an SSL Certificate, duration/validity period and purchase it. You can purchase our SSL Certificates here.
  3. Once you have purchased your SSL Certificate you can pick up your certificate right in to your control panel.
  4. Follow installation instructions for your Web server (or have us do it – if your site is already hosted with us).
  5. Download the Site Seal to display on pages within your secured domain.

At the end of the SSL certificate’s validity period (1-5 years, depending on the certificate type and your selection), you have the option to renew your SSL certificate. You may need to provide additional information for authentication or generate a new CSR at that time.

Conclusion

I hope this has helped you better understand SSL and SSL Certificates. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask them below or contact us for more information.

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