How Does SSL Work? | SSL Certificates and TLS
SSL, also known as TLS, uses encryption to keep user data secure, authenticate the identity of websites, and stop attackers from tampering with Internet communications.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it refers to a protocol for encrypting and securing communications that take place on the Internet. Although SSL was replaced by an updated protocol called TLS (Transport Layer Security) some time ago, “SSL” is still a commonly used term for this technology. The main use case for SSL/TLS is securing communications between a client and a server, but it can also secure email, VoIP, and other communications over unsecured networks.
What are SSL Certificates and Why do I Need Them?
SSL certificates are an essential component of the data encryption process that make internet transactions secure. They are digital passports that provide authentication to protect the confidentiality and integrity of website communication with browsers.
The SSL certificate’s job is to initiate secure sessions with the user’s browser via the secure sockets layer (SSL) protocol. This secure connection cannot be established without the SSL certificate, which digitally connects company information to a cryptographic key. Any organization that engages in ecommerce must have an SSL certificate on its web server to ensure the safety of customer and company information, as well as the security of financial transactions.
How SSL Certificates Work
- A browser or server attempts to connect to a website (i.e. a web server) secured with SSL. The browser/server requests that the web server identify itself.
- The web server sends the browser/server a copy of its SSL certificate.
- The browser/server checks to see whether or not it trusts the SSL certificate. If so, it sends a message to the web server.
- The web server sends back a digitally signed acknowledgement to start an SSL encrypted session.
- Encrypted data is shared between the browser/server and the web server.
There are many benefits to using SSL certificates. Namely, SSL customers can:
- Utilize HTTPs, which elicits a stronger Google ranking
- Create safer experiences for your customers
- Build customer trust and improve conversions
- Protect both customer and internal data
- Encrypt browser-to-server and server-to-server communication
- Increase security of your mobile and cloud apps