website development in Europe

What is an SSL certificate and why is it needed

SSL-certificate (Secure Sockets Layer certificate) is a digital certificate that provides a secure connection between a website and a user, or more specifically, a user’s browser. There are several organizations that connect a website to their service – this is called issuing an SSL certificate for a website. This service encrypts the data that the user’s browser transmits to the website and vice versa. This provides privacy and security when transmitting sensitive information such as passwords, credit card information, email addresses, and other personal data. If a website has a padlock icon at the beginning of the address bar in the browser, then that website has an SSL certificate connected.

How it works

SSL-certificate protects your data transfer from unauthorized access and interception.  Information transmitted over a secure SSL connection is reliably protected from interception and hacking.

SSL certificates work by using cryptographic keys that allow you to encrypt data on the user side and decrypt it on the website side.

A cryptographic key is a secret information used to protect confidential information in cryptographic systems. Cryptographic systems are based on the idea of data encryption, i.e. the transformation of plain text into a coded form that cannot be understood without knowledge of a special key.

A cryptographic key can be secret (in which case only the owner knows it) or public (in which case all Internet users know it). 

A cryptographic key can be secret (in which case only the owner knows it) or public (in which case all Internet users know it)

The question is, why a public key?

The fact is that you can use symmetric cryptography, whereby the same key – a secret key – is used to encrypt and decrypt messages. Or you can use asymmetric cryptography, in which case you need two keys: public and private. The public key is open to all users and is used to encrypt messages, while the secret (also called private) key is kept only by the key owner and is used for decryption.

Cryptographic keys can be generated using special algorithms that ensure a high level of randomness. Physical devices, such as a token or smart card, can also be used to store the key with the owner.

Without the appropriate encryption key, the information transferred by the sender cannot be read by intruders, even if they are able to intercept the message

When a user opens a website with an SSL certificate, the user’s browser receives the website’s public key. The browser uses this key to encrypt any data it sends to the site. The site then decrypts this information using the secret key (a pairing to the public key). Since only the website has this secret key, if the information is intercepted, it cannot be read: the user’s data is safe!

How to get an SSL certificate

You can get an SSL certificate through organizations that specialize in issuing certificates, such as Comodo, Symantec, GoDaddy, and others. To obtain an SSL certificate, you need to go through a certain procedure. In this case, you need to confirm that you are a real person and prove that you own the website domain. This means that the website owner will have to provide copies of documents about themselves and their company. This procedure makes it highly likely that you can trust the website.

What does obtaining an SSL certificate give you?

As described above, an SSL certificate provides protection for your important data, i.e. security. In addition, most Internet users pay attention to the sign of such a certificate. If they are not looking for something special, they will most likely not stay on an unsecured website, let alone register on it and definitely not buy anything. Most search engines (for example, Google) also pay attention to an SSL certificate, which is reflected in the search results.

So it’s better for your site to have an SSL certificate than not.

It is inexpensive, and many providers provide such a certificate for free as part of their hosting package.

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