What is an SSL certificate
SSL certificate is a technology for browsing the Internet securely. It ensures the confidentiality and integrity of data transmitted between two machines. Their aim is to secure banking transactions, protect login credentials, etc. As a result, their full importance is securing any web application. In particular websites, social networks, e-commerce platforms.
The SSL certificate is in fact a key with which the exchanges between two machines will be encrypted. This key links a domain name, a hosting server and a web host name. Some SSL certificates also add the identity of the owning organization. This certificate is installed on the server hosting the website to be secured. After that, a user will now access this website using the secure HTTP protocol: HTTPS.
It is an approved body, called a certification authority, that issues SSL certificates. It can be seen as that trusted body that takes responsibility for approving a site and verifying its owner.
Browsers have a root certificate in memory, identifying each certification authority. When an Internet user connects to a web page, his browser consults its database of these roots. It then compares this root with the certificate used by the site consulted to determine its validity. If so, the browser displays the famous green security padlock. It is important to note that not all CAs are equal. This is because not all browsers have the root certificates of all authorities in memory. The more SSL certificates from a certificate authority you use, the more valuable the authority becomes. So, it we recommend you to opt for proven certificates such as Symantec, Comodo, RapidSSL, GeoTrust or Thawte SSL certificates.
Why you should use a SSL certificate for your website
The Internet provides access to a vast amount of information, a very large market, a multitude of entertainment. It is also the place where hackers roam, where malware is spread. As a result, any person or company that owns a website or uses the Internet must place great importance on digital security. Especially since there are countless companies whose information systems have been compromised, leading some to bankruptcy.
The SSL certificate makes it possible to guard against numerous hacks and to put visitors to their site in confidence. It is therefore essential for any online activity that wishes to ensure its sustainability. Thus, opting for a web hosting offer that includes free SSL certificates is a wise and economical choice.
- A site secured with a SSL certificate increases the confidence of its visitors: When a site does not use a valid certificate, browsers issue warnings. These alerts easily scare away visitors who are afraid of the risks.
- SSL certificates protect against phishing: Some certificates prove that the company that owns the site has been properly verified and authenticated. However, a phishing site cannot claim that.
- They secure the confidential information which passes through: Without SSL certificate, confidential data such as identifiers and bank details circulate unencrypted on the network. Thus, any hacker can have access to this information. Whereas with the SSL certificate, information is encrypted before it is sent. Only the rights holders will be able to decipher them.
- SSL Certificates Protect Email Communications: Certificates even secure email exchanges. This is because they guarantee the origin of an email and prevent unauthorized sources from viewing or modifying the email.
- Secure site’s search engine ranking is higher: Search engines, especially Google, now rank better sites that use valid certificates.
Different types of SSL certificates
Not all certificates have the same value. Depending on the level of security and trust that a certificate confers, there are 3 types of certificate.
- The domain validated SSL certificate or DV SSL certificate. This certificate provides basic security. It guarantees the security of exchanges between the visitor’s browser and the server hosting the site.
- The Organization-validated SSL certificate or OV SSL certificate. This offers a higher level of security to the visitor. It certifies that the certification authority has properly verified the owner of the site. There is, however, no visual difference between a DV certificate and an OV certificate on browsers.
- The Extended Validation SSL certificate or EV SSL certificate. This is the certificate that offers the highest level of trust. Like the OV certificate, the certification authority certifies having duly verified the identity of the owner of the site. With this certificate, browsers display the name of this organization near the security padlock.
The level of security offered by an SSL certificate is a norm for classifying certificates. According to the number of domains they secure simultaneously, we can group them :
- Single domain certificate: You can use this type of certificate to secure a domain and a single subdomain.
- Multi-domain certificate: This allows you to secure several domains at the same time. In addition, it secures only one subdomain of each domain.
- Wildcard SSL certificates: It secures all the top level subdomains of a domain.
- Wildcard Multi-domain SSL Certificates: This is the most powerful type of certificate. It secures multiple domains as well as all their subdomains.
Other Internet Security Tools
SSL certificates can protect against some attacks, but not all. Other tools exist for other needs.
- Code signing certificates: These are digital certificates intended for developers. Their purpose is to authenticate the author of an application. The developer uses it to sign their code, thereby reassuring the end user of the authenticity, reliability and integrity of this application. As a result, the user will no longer see that famous “Unidentified Publisher” security alert when installing the signed program.
- Company authentication certificates: This certificate allows you to digitally sign documents and emails. It thus reassures an organization’s customers and partners of the origin of the documents and e-mails it sends them.
- Anti-malware: Malware, malicious software that causes more or less damage to an information system. They gain access to a system without the owner’s knowledge to retrieve confidential information, modify the operation of this system, etc. Anti-malware is therefore essential for any person and business connected to the Internet.