When browsing the Internet, protecting the information we share is of the most absolute importance. Internet service providers are aware of this and due to it; nowadays is practically an obligation to use and show security certificates in every URL to guarantee the integrity of the site you visit. Among the most reliable certificates they are, we count the SSL certificates.
Thanks to their well reputed protocols and their accessibility, they have become the number one choice of corporations to 1) shield their data; 2) offer protection to web visitors; and 3) gain a positive reputation on the World Wide Web (www).
Now the logical questions to answer here are: What are SSL certificates? How do they work and how can you acquire them for your site? How many types of SSL certificates are there? Why are they important for your website and company? Let’s delve in the answers to each one of these questions.
What are SSL certificates?
On the one hand, SSL certificates are a sort of digital seal or signature that grants the authenticity of a website. In other words, it classifies the site as secure for carrying out transactions that involve the interchange of sensitive data; granting that is safe to browse in that site because they’re free from security risks; and you can interact with it with the most absolute confidence.
On the other hand, SSL is the acronym for Secure Socket Layer of a digital security certificate used in protocols of secure http communication (https). This system allows the exchange of information taking as a reference of protection these three important parameters:
- Confidentiality: Prevents espionage when exchanging the information.
- Integrity: Proves the inalterability of the exchanged information.
- Authentication: Ensures the identity of the program, the individual or organization.
Originally, NetScape and RSA Security created SSL certificates as security protocol. However, you can also obtain open source type protocols called TLS.
How do SSL certificates work
SSL certificates are a complement of TCP/IP connections used to share information in the web.
So, a web page that uses SSL certificates provides security and confidence to the users who give their sensitive data in order to make transactions such as banking and commercial interchanges; and even logins and authentication of credentials required for other private transactions.
However, this level of security is granted thanks to an encryption protocol applied to the data shared online between the client and the web application server. This encryption is made up of two types of keys; one public and one private.
Thus, the public key is used for the incoming information, and the private one for deciphering it. These security keys are algorithms of 128 bits length that only share the browser of the user who uses the site, and the server where the web page is hosted.
Types of SSL certificates
Basically, there are two types of SSL certificates, and they only differ in the way you get them. In other words, there are free and private type SSL certificates, for which you pay a fee to obtain them. The advantage and difference of private SSL certificates is that they provide advice and support; which certainly is always a great help.
Also, you need to know that SSL certificates are granted by a Certification Authority (CA). This authority verifies in advance the identity and the authenticity of the information shown on the website.
The server stores the SSL certificates assigned by the CA; and the https protocol is verified each time when a user accesses to the site. At the same time, SSL certificates present different types of authentication:
- Certificates of domain authentication. This certificate restricts only to verify the identity of the domain’s owner. It contains a very basic protocol and the certificate do not check the company’s. This means that the certificate gets granted almost immediately.
- Validation Certificates of the organization: This certificate verifies the ownership of the domain; as well as the information related to its commercial register. This information is then visible to the visitors of the page providing them with security and greater confidence. This certificate has a higher security level than the previous one; however, it is a medium-level certificate regarding security.
- Extended Validation (EV) certificates: As its name implies, it extends the protocols from end-to-end between communications. As EV certificates are safest type of certificates, banks use them to process bank account information; credit cards and similar.
Other important information about SSL certificates
Website hosting providers offer these services only if they are distributors of any CA. This allows you to request SSL certificates to any CA of your preference.
However, if you prefer to use SSL certificates for free and carry out the authentication of your sites and domains on your own; make sure you follow these aspects and parameters:
- Find out if your hosting server supports this technology.
- Define the scope and purpose of your website. From this information will determine the type of SSL certificate you need to enable.
- IP address. DNS servers will need it locate your web domain.
- Your need a server with administrator privileges, with no further restrictions.
- Password or user password.
- Server software. Accounts with wide options among which are Apache, nginx, IIS, etc.
- Operating System and version. The most recommended are Ubuntu 16.04, Debian 7, Windows Server Enterprise
Why SSL certificates are important for my website and my company?
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post; protecting the information we share on the Internet is of utmost importance for everybody; and SSL certificates play a fundamental role to ensure that every transaction and action that takes place on our sites carried out without jeopardizing the integrity of the information we exchange.
Thus, SSL certificates are the first barrier to shield your websites. Nevertheless; we know that digital security goes beyond and demands much more than the green lock at the start of your address bar.
Do you want it all to enhance your digital security? Then you need special tools to complement the SSL certificates of the websites of your company. Here you’ll find the best options to manage them correctly; just leave here your inquiries and data to gladly help you to shield all your connections and interactions with your customers.