What is SSL?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol used to secure data transmission over the internet. It provides encryption and authentication mechanisms to protect the confidentiality and integrity of data exchanged between a web server and a client, such as a web browser. SSL has been succeeded by TLS (Transport Layer Security), but the term "SSL" is still commonly used to refer to both SSL and TLS protocols.
SSL serves several important purposes:
Encryption: SSL encrypts the data exchanged between a web server and a client, making it extremely difficult for unauthorized parties to intercept and decipher the information. This helps protect sensitive information like login credentials, personal data, and financial transactions.
Authentication: SSL certificates are used to verify the identity of the server. This ensures that users are connecting to a legitimate website or service and not a malicious one.
Data Integrity: SSL ensures that data sent between the server and client is not tampered with during transmission. If any modifications occur, the SSL connection is terminated.
Secure Handshake: When a client connects to a secure website, an SSL/TLS handshake occurs. During this process, the client and server exchange cryptographic parameters and establish a secure connection before any data is transmitted.
HTTPS: SSL/TLS is commonly used to secure web browsing through HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). Websites that use HTTPS have a padlock icon in the browser's address bar, indicating a secure connection. This is essential for online shopping, banking, and protecting user privacy.
Compatibility: SSL/TLS is widely supported by web browsers, email clients, and many other applications. It is an industry-standard for securing data transmission.
How To Order An SSL Certificate
Ordering an SSL certificate can be very simple with the right preparation. You'll generally need to create a CSR and prepare your WHOIS record and company validation documents before submitting your order. The process of ordering a certificate goes something like this:
Prepare by getting your server set up and getting your WHOIS record updated (it needs to show the correct company name and address), etc.
Generate the CSR on the server
Submit the CSR and other info to the Certificate Authority
Have your domain and company validated
Receive and install the issued certificate
What do I need to have before buying an SSL certificate?
A unique IP address. Because of the way that the SSL protocol was set up, you will need a separate IP address for each certificate that you want to use. If you don't, some older devices and browsers won't be able to use your site.
If you have multiple subdomains on one IP address, you can secure them with a Wildcard SSL Certificate. If you have multiple different domain names on one IP address, you can secure them with a UC Certificate. You will need to set up SSL Host Headers to do this.
Business/Organization validation documents:
If you are buying a high-assurance certificate, your business must also be validated. Certificate authorities often check government databases online to verify that your company is registered but they may still need you to send in a government registration document if they can't find your business. Each certificate authority has slightly different requirements for validation. If you want to check whether your company is correctly listed and active with your government, try using one of these online searches. If you are buying an EV certificate, you will need to provide even more documentation. Your certificate provider will let you know what you need to provide after you place your order.
How long does it take to get my certificate?
How quickly you get your certificate depends on what type of certificate you get and which certificate provider you get it from. If you get a domain-validated only certificate you will receive it within a few minutes. If you get a normal, organization-validated certificate, you may receive it within an hour to a few days after you submit all the documentation. If you get an extended validation certificate (EV), you may wait several days to a few weeks while the validation takes place before you get the certificate.