One of the most important components of online business is to create a trusted environment where customers feel confident to share their confidential information’s. SSL certificates create a foundation of trust by establishing a secure connection and browsers give visual signs, such as a lock icon or a green bar, to help visitors know when their connection is secure. This article describes about SSL Certificate and How Does it Work? Summary of the article:
- What is an SSL Certificate?
- How Does SSL Certificate Work?
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details including company name, address, and expiration date of the Certificate. SSL certificates bind together two things. One a domain name, server name. Second one an organizational identity and location. SSL certificates is installed onto the web server where the site is hosted. When a SSL certificate is installed successfully on a web server, the application protocol (HTTP) is change to HTTPs. Here ‘S’ stands for secure. There are different types of SSL certificates we can purchase. Depending our certificates, a web browser will show a padlock or green bar in the browser when we visit a website that has an SSL certificate.
How does an SSL certificate work?
SSL Certificates uses a mechanism called public key cryptography. It binds the power of two keys which are long strings of randomly generated numbers. One is called a private key and another one is called a public key. A public key is known to our server and available in the public domain. It can be used to encrypt any message. If A is sending a message to B she will lock it with B’s public key but the only way it can be decrypted is to unlock it with B’s private key. B is the only one who has his private key so B is the only one who can use this to unlock A’s message. If a hacker captures the message before B unlocks it, all they will get is a cryptographic code that they cannot break, even with the help of a computer.
If we look at the above situations in terms of a website, the communication is happening between a website and a server. Here website and server are A and B.
Why do we need an SSL certificate?
SSL Certificates protect our sensitive information such as credit card information, usernames, passwords etc. It also:
- Keeps data secure between servers
- Increases our Google rankings
- Builds/Enhances customer trust
- Improves conversion rates
Types of SSL Certificates
Different types of SSL Certificates are available and can be grouped based on Validation level and number of secured domain/subdomains.
- On Validation Levels
- Domain Validation Certificates
- Organization Validated Certificates
- Extended Validated Certificates
- Under Number of Secured Domains/Host names
- Single Domain Certificate
- Wildcard SSL Certificate
- Multi-domain SSL Certificate (MDC)
- Unified Communications Certificate (UCC)
Single Domain Certificate
It works only for a single domain or subdomain. For example if we purchase a Single Domain Certificate for www.abc.com it will not works on www.mail.abc.com.
Wildcard SSL Certificate
It works an unlimited number of subdomains for a single domain. For example if we purchase a Wildcard SSL Certificate for www.abc.com, it will work on carrer.abc.com, blog.abc.com, help.abc.com, etc. It will work on any subdomain of abc.com. But, it will not works on syz.care.abc.com.
Multi-domain SSL Certificate (MDC)
Same Multi-domain SSL Certificate works on up to 100 domains. Owner can easily add or remove domains at any time. This type of certificates simplifies SSL management. Because, the administrators need to keep track of a single certificate with a single expiry date for all domains instead of keeping track on multiple certificates. In addition, it is cost saving over the price of individual certificates. For example if we purchase a Multi-domain SSL Certificate, it will works on abc.com, abc.org, abc.info, abc.net, abc.co,uk, etc
Unified Communications Certificate (UCC)
Same Unified Communications Certificate works on up to 100 domains. It is specially designed to secure Microsoft Exchange and Office Communications environments. It protects different domains with a single certificate with the help of the SAN extension.