What is SSL? SSL (Secure Socket Layer) explained!

michael-long .

An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is security technology that creates an encrypted link, keeping information sent between clients and  servers private and protected.

SSLs work by using a public key and a private key to encrypt the information it’s receiving.  Each pair (public and private) are uniquely connected cryptographic keys which basically comprise of long random numbers and letters.

The public part is available to everyone whereas the private key is only available to the owner and remains confidential. The information that is inputted via the public key can only be unlocked by the private key, thus information submitted by the user such as personal information or bank details, can only be seen and used by the server or website it was intended for.

Why do I need an SSL?

When you’re receiving information off your customers, whether that’s personal information such as contact details or sensitive information as bank details, it’s important that you protect that information the best you can in order to prevent devastating security and privacy breaches if an identity thief gets access. Your customers need to be assured that you value security and will take the necessary precautions to protect their information.

Although previously, an SSL certificate was recommended it wasn’t essential for a website. Google Chrome, recently in an attempt to encourage a safe and secure internet have announced that they will now be flagging sites as insecure to users if they do not have a SSL certificate installed on their site. This would obviously have a hugely negative effect on a websites success. Even if they are not taking user details or information, the idea that a site is insecure is an immediate deterrent. You can read more about this HERE.

Which type do I need?

The type of SSL you need is based on what level of assurance you want to give your potential customers. When SSL’s were first introduced to the industry, encryption would be levelled differently depending on which SSL was installed on the website, now the encryption technology is actually exactly the same no matter which SSL you are purchasing. The only thing that is different is the visitor assurance. When you input your bank details on a site you want to be confident your information is safe and protected. The more obvious a site can make this clear, the better for user experience. It has been drummed into us that user experience is everything when it comes to conversion rate so the smoother you can make their journey the more chance they’ll purchase.

The difference in how the SSL appears to your users is the main difference you’ll find. If you decide to go for a high visitor assurance certificate, you’ll not only get the HTTPS redirect which tells the browser that the connection to the server is safe but you’ll also get a green bar before the website address with your company name highlighted in green. This is instant visual recognition that the company and website has been verified as safe.  Depending on the browser being used, other SSL’s should show somewhere in the address bar a padlock symbol to indicate that the connection is secure. If this symbol is instead shown as broken or red, the connection is unsecured.

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Find out how to make sure your site is HTTPS HERE

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