SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins, and more recently is becoming the norm when securing browsing of social media sites.
SSL Certificates combine:
- A domain name, server name, or hostname.
- An organisations identity
An organization needs to install the SSL Certificate onto its web server to initiate a secure session with browsers. Once a secure connection is established, all web traffic between the web server and the web browser will be secure.
When a certificate is successfully installed on your server, the application protocol (also known as HTTP) will change to HTTPS, where the ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’.
How Does an SSL Certificate work?
SSL Certificates use something called public key cryptography.
This particular kind of cryptography harnesses the power of two keys which are long strings of randomly generated numbers. One is called a private key and one is called a public key. A public key is known to your server and available in the public domain. It can be used to encrypt any message. If Kazza is sending a message to Kev she will lock it with Kev’s public key but the only way it can be decrypted is to unlock it with Kev’s private key. Kev is the only one who has his private key so Kev is the only one who can use this to unlock Kazza’s message.
If a hacker intercepts the message before Kev unlocks it, all they will get is a cryptographic code that they cannot break, even with the power of a computer.
If we look at this in terms of a website, the communication is happening between a website and a server. Your website and server are Kazza and Kev.
Why do I need an SSL Certificate?
SSL Certificates protect your sensitive information such as credit card information, usernames, passwords etc. They also:
- Keep data secure between servers
- Help with SEO (Google rankings)
- Enhance end user (customer trust)
- Improve Ecommerce conversion rates
Where do I purchase an SSL Certificate?