What is a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Why You Need to Install It

Billie Hillier

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Secure Sockets Layer

The core function of a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) SSL certificate is to protect server-client communication.

When SSL is employed, every bit of information is encrypted, meaning it’s turned into an indecipherable format that can only be returned to a readable format with the proper decryption key.

Secure Sockets Layer

What is a Secure Sockets Layer

SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in online communication. The use of SSL technology ensures that all data transmitted between the web server and the browser remains encrypted, private, and integral.

Here’s why SSL is essential for your website

  1. Encryption of Data: The primary reason why SSL is used is to keep sensitive information sent across the Internet encrypted so that only the intended recipient can understand it. This is important because the information you send on the Internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server.
  2. Data Integrity: Data integrity is the maintenance and assurance that the information can only be accessed and modified by those authorized to do so. Data integrity also means that the data is accurate and reliable during its entire lifecycle.
  3. Authentication: SSL provides authentication to a website. It prevents attackers from creating a fake version of the website to trick users. With SSL, you can be sure that the information on your website, including customer information, goes to the right server and not to an imposter trying to steal information.
  4. Trust and Confidence: When users see the green padlock or the “https” in the address bar, it can help build trust and confidence. Sites secured with SSL display a padlock in the address bar, letting users know that their data will be transmitted securely. This increased trust may lead to higher conversion rates.
  5. SEO Rankings: Google has also confirmed that they use HTTPS as a ranking signal. This means that websites that have an SSL certificate installed may experience a boost in search engine rankings.

To implement SSL on your website, you’ll need to get an SSL certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA). This certificate needs to be validated and installed on your server—a process that varies depending on the server type and hosting provider. Some hosting providers even offer free SSL certificates as part of their hosting packages.

SSL was actually succeeded by Transport Layer Security (TLS), but SSL is still commonly used to refer to the process of encrypting web traffic, despite the actual use of TLS protocols. It’s also worth noting that both SSL and TLS are part of a larger suite of protocols related to the secure transmission of data over the internet known collectively as “HTTPS” or HTTP Secure.

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