New to SSL? Here's what you need to know to get started.
What is SSL?
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol for enabling data encryption and site authentication on the Internet. Credit card numbers, health details and other sensitive information are transmitted only after being converted into a secure code. Domain authentication reassures site users that they're interacting with the site identified in the URL bar. Without SSL, online transactions would be vulnerable to interception by unauthorized parties. SSL is commonly used to protect communications between web browsers and servers. However, it is also used for server-to-server communications and for web-based applications.
How do visitors know if a website is using SSL?
When a browser connects to a secure site, it retrieves the SSL certificate and checks to ensure the certificate has not expired, that it was issued by a certificate authority the browser trusts, and that it is being used by the website for which it was issued. If it fails on any of these checks, the browser will display a warning to the end user. If it succeeds on all checks, the user will see indicators of a secure connection:
The beginning of the URL or web address changes from http:// to https://
In the web address bar, a padlock or other security icon will indicate a current SSL certificate is encrypting the site
What is a Certificate Authority?
An organization that issues SSL certificates is known as Certificate Authority (CA). The protection provided by an SSL certificate is only as good as the company that stands behind it. Web browsers like Firefox and Chrome maintain a list of trusted Certificate Authorities. If your site serves up one of these trusted certificates, the browser will recognize the site as secure.
How long does enrollment take and how soon will I be able to secure my site?
An SSL certificate may be issued within minutes of submitting your enrollment information, as long as the information is correct and the authorized administrator responds promptly to the confirmation email.
What is a certificate signing request or CSR?
A CSR is a public key that you generate on your server according to your server software instructions. If you do not have access to your server, your web host or internet service provider will generate it for you. The CSR is required during the SSL certificate enrollment process, because it validates the specific information about your web server and your domain.