Home » A Beginner’s Guide to What is an SSL/TLS Certificate?

A Beginner’s Guide to What is an SSL/TLS Certificate?

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What is SSL Certificate

Everything You Need to Know About SSL Certificates

Security is the most overlooked aspect that should be the first thing everyone must take care of. The case becomes even more strong for websites. That’s where SSL comes into the role. SSL/TLS certificates verify that your website connection is secure and untraceable. However, the topic of SSL certificates is too broad and essential to understanding if you are a publisher or planning to be one or own any kind of website. There are different types of SSL certificates, and different browsers display them differently. In this article, we will make it a piece of cake for you by covering everything. So, let’s discuss What is SSL certificate in detail without any delay.

What is SSL Means?

What is SSL full form, SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a global standard security technology that encrypts data sent between a browser and a server.

Millions of people and organizations use it online to protect their private data from being intercepted or altered by malicious parties. This includes credit card details, login credentials, and email addresses.

In essence, SSL enables a one-to-one dialogue between the persons involved only.

What is SSL Certificate?

When an SSL certificate is used, it creates an encrypted link between two computers, which is the cornerstone of every reliable connection. In order to reassure users that their connection is safe, browsers display specialized visual elements that we refer to as EV indications.

Moreover, A secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate has two primary functions:

  • It verifies the site’s claimed ownership
  • Transmission data is encrypted before the transfer

How and Who Issues SSL certificates?

SSL/TLS certificates verify the identity of a website’s server and provide encryption for all traffic between the two parties. By showing a padlock in the browser, they assure consumers they are on a legitimate site.

SSL/TLS certificates, which play a critical role in PKI, can’t function without a corresponding digital certificate. That’s where a Certificate Authority (CA) comes into play.

The CA plays an important role in this process and issues digital certificates upon request from an entity (individual or group). To begin, it creates a set of keys, namely, a private key and a public key.

After completing the CSR, the applicant must send it to the CA so that they may validate the applicant’s identification and the information included in the CSR. In the next step, the CA creates a digital certificate, signs it with its own private key, and transmits it to the entity that requested it. This way, an SSL certificate is issued for you to install it on the network.

What is SSL Certificate used for?

SSL certificates are essential for ensuring website security. They have two primary functions: first, they confirm the identity of a website, ensuring that users are interacting with the intended site and not a fraudulent one. Second, they encrypt data transmitted between the website and the user, safeguarding sensitive information like credit card details from being intercepted by hackers. Without an SSL certificate, websites are at risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches, which can have serious consequences for both the website owner and their users.

Benefits of SSL Certificate

Let’s discuss the benefits of SSL certificate:

1. Increased Visibility in Search Engines

Google’s usage of HTTPS (secure websites with an SSL certificate) as a ranking factor has been well-publicized for several years. Moreover, users often bounce from websites without secure connections, which makes Google see you as spam or flag you, ultimately harming your visibility. Thus, having an SSL certificate can improve your SEO & Google rankings.

2. Secure Sockets Layer safeguards Private Data

An SSL certificate encodes the data, so it cannot be deciphered until it reaches the destination server. No one can see your data while it is transmitted from your computer to the web servers.

3. SSL helps you fulfill PCI/DSS standards

Your website must adhere to PCI standards if you plan on receiving online payments. If you are operating an eCommerce store or a website where taking payments is part of it, integrating an SSL certificate becomes non-negotiable.

Types of SSL certificates

You may choose from a wide variety of SSL certificates depending on the number of domains or subdomains you manage such as:

Primary Classification

  • Single: Requires only one fully qualified domain name or subdomain to be registered.
  • Multi-Domain: Protects an unlimited number of domains with unlimited validation levels.
  • Wildcard: Applies to the top-level domain and an infinite subdomain.

Types of SSL Certificates based on Validation

SSL certificate Types are mainly divided into three categories, namely, Extended Validation (EV SSL), Organization Validation (OV SSL), and Domain Validation (DV SSL).

There is no difference in encryption strength across certificates; what varies is the validation requirements for obtaining the certificates and the rigor with which they are checked.

Domain Validation SSL (DV SSL)

This entry-level SSL type ensures your domain name is registered in your name and that you have basic control over its encryption and ownership.

Time to get DV SSL: In most cases, you’ll need to wait anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to acquire this certificate.

Organization Validation SSL (OV SSL)

In this SSL type, additional information about the registrant (such as their name and address) is validated besides standard encryption and checking who is listed as the registrant of a domain name.

Time to get OV SSL: It might take a few hours to a few days to acquire this certificate.

Extended Validation SSL (EV SSL) Certificate

Obtaining this SSL type requires you to go through a rigorous validation process. However, once you pass it successfully, you can be certain that your data is safe and hasn’t been compromised. (It is in accordance with the stringent requirements established by the organization that regulates the SSL certification business).

In addition to domain registration ownership and entity verification, the entity’s legal, physical, and operational presence is confirmed.

Time to get EV SSL: This sort of certificate often takes a few days or weeks.

How to Check active SSL in Different Web browsers

To best check whether your SSL certificate is active or not, test your website as a user. You can simply start by searching your website and checking your web pages.

The steps of checking an active SSL can vary for different browsers but here’s how to check it on some of the primary web browsers.

How to View SSL Certificate in Chrome?

  • Enter website URL in address bar
  • Click on Grey Padlock icon
  • Click on Connection is secure option
  • Then click on Certificate is Valid option
  • Check the General tab where you can find the certificate details and it’s provider at Issued To & Issued By section

How to View SSL Certificate in Firefox?

  • Enter your site URL in address bar
  • Click on Padlock icon
  • Click on Connection secure option
  • Then click on More information option
  • Go to Security option and click on View Certificate button.
  • New window appears where you can see the your certificate details.

How to View SSL Certificate in Edge?

  • Enter website URL in web address bar
  • Click on Padlock icon appears before the URL.
  • Go to Connection is secure option
  • Click on Certificate Icon to view Certificate details.
  • Certificate Viewer popup opens where where you can see your certificate details.

How to View SSL Certificate in IE (Internet Explorer)?

  • Enter your site in URL bar
  • Click on the Padlock icon which appears at right side of URL bar
  • Click on View certificates option
  • Certificate window appears where you can see your certificate details in General section.

How to View SSL Certificate Information in Safari:

  • Enter your website in URL bar
  • Click on the Padlock icon
  • Click on Show certificates option
  • Certificate details in displayed on screen.

Closing Thoughts on Beginner’s Guide to What is an SSL Certificate

As a publisher or a business owner, building trust among your target visitors is the first step. That’s where an SSL certificate becomes a non-negotiable part to instill trust among your users. The above guide covers all the aspects of SSL, and we hope it answers and clarifies all your questions about what an SSL certificate is and how it works. Further, there are several different types of SSL certificates to choose from for your website.

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