SSL Certificate – Definition and Explanation

Are you concerned about the security of your online transactions? Do you want to protect your website and users from potential cyber threats? Look no further than SSL certificates. An SSL certificate is vital for securing online communication and personal data and establishing customers’ or users’ trust.

This article answers the question: What is SSL certificate? Further, we will discuss the best SSL certificates in the market, how SSL certificates work, and their benefits. From enhanced security to improved search engine rankings, SSL certificates offer a variety of advantages for website owners. So, whether you are a business owner, website developer, or just an internet user, read on to discover the importance of an SSL certificate in today’s digital age.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that encrypts online communication between a user’s web browser and a web server. SSL certificates ensure that data transmitted between the two endpoints is secure and cannot be intercepted by third parties. When a website has an SSL certificate installed, the website’s URL begins with “https” instead of “http,” and a padlock icon appears in the browser’s address bar. 

SSL certificates work by using a public key and a private key to encrypt data. For instance, when a user visits a website with an SSL certificate, their web browser sends a request to the web server. The web server responds by sending the SSL certificate, which includes the web server’s public key. 

The user’s web browser then generates a unique session key and encrypts it using the web server’s public key. The encrypted session key is sent to the web server, which decrypts it using its private key. Afterward, all data exchanged between the user’s web browser and the web server is encrypted using the session key.

Types of SSL Certificates

  • Domain Validated certificates are the most basic level of validation and SSL certificate type. They verify that the website’s domain name belongs to the person or organization applying for the certificate.
  • Organization Validated certificates provide a higher level of assurance. In addition to verifying the domain name, the certificate authority (CA) verifies that the organization is legitimate and registered.
  • Extended Validation certificates provide the highest level of assurance. Here, the CA verifies the domain name and organization and that the organization is legally registered and has the right to use the domain name.

Benefits of Using SSL Certificates

  • Protection against data breaches and cyber attacks: SSL certificates encrypt data transmitted between a user’s web browser and a web server, making it impossible for third parties to intercept and steal sensitive personal data or contact information such as passwords and credit card numbers.
  • Improved search engine rankings: Google and other search engines give higher rankings to websites with SSL certificates, which can lead to increased visibility and traffic.
  • Compliance with data protection regulations: Many data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, require websites to use SSL certificates when collecting and transmitting sensitive information.

How to Obtain an SSL Certificate

Many web hosting providers offer SSL certificates as part of their hosting packages. This is often the easiest and most affordable option for small to medium-sized websites.

For larger websites or those with specific security requirements, third-party CAs may be a better option. Third-party CAs offer a wider range of SSL certificate options, including EV certificates, and may offer additional security features, such as vulnerability scanning and malware removal.

To install an SSL certificate on your website, you must generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) and provide it to the CA. The CA will then issue the SSL certificate to install on your web server. The installation process will vary depending on your web server and hosting environment, but most CAs provide detailed instructions for installing SSL certificates.

It is worth noting that SSL certificates are not a one-time purchase. SSL certificates have a limited validity period, usually between one and three years, after which you must renew. Further, SSL certificates must be kept up-to-date with the latest security protocols to ensure maximum protection against cyber attacks.

The Best SSL Certificates

When selecting an SSL certificate provider, consider the validation levels required for your website, the type and number of domains to be secured, and the level of customer support and assistance provided by the SSL certificate provider. Also, ensure the SSL certificate provider is a trusted and reputable company with a proven track record of providing reliable and secure SSL certificates.

  • Let’s Encrypt – A reputable and widely used SSL certificate provider that offers free SSL certificates. While they only provide Domain Validated certificates, their ease of use and cost-effectiveness make them popular with many website owners.
  • Comodo – Offers a range of SSL certificates, including Domain Validated, Organization Validated, Extended Validation, Wildcard, and Multi-Domain certificates.
  • DigiCert – Offers a range of SSL certificates and has great customer support.
  • – Offers a range of SSL certificates and has the fastest turnaround times.
  • GlobalSign – Offers a range of SSL certificates and is excellent for growing companies.
  • Sectigo – Offers a range of SSL certificates and is suitable for e-commerce businesses.

More from us: Cybersecurity Tips for Businesses

Final Words

SSL certificates provide a secure and encrypted connection between a user’s web browser and a web server, protecting sensitive personal data and contact information from interception and theft. SSL certificates also enhance the trust and credibility of websites, improve search engine rankings, and ensure compliance with data protection regulations. Thus, it is a must-have for you.

Obtaining and installing an SSL certificate may seem daunting, but it is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your online transactions are secure. Whether you are a business owner, website developer, or internet user, it is vital to prioritize and improve your website’s security via SSL certificates.

About the author

Hassan Abbas

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