In simple terms, an SSL certificate is a communications protocol that provides security for web developers and users whilst using the Internet. This type of safeguard is important since the information sent across the Internet is essentially unsecured and, in theory, could be intercepted and accessed by a third party.
SSL certificates provide a layer of confidentiality and security that ensures privacy for users when transferring sensitive information between websites or through email. For this reason an SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, is integral to the successful operation of web based business and other concerns that deal with users' personal information.
An SSL certificate is associated with your particular domain name and so, when you buy an SSL certificate, you are ensuring that any data sent between your server and the client is secured against external threats.
In essence, there are three different types of SSL certificates available
- DV - Domain Validation
- OV - Organisation Validation
- EV – Extended Validation
Each of these conveys a different level of trust
Domain Validation certificates are by far the most common SSL certificates. They simply provide a verification of the right of the applicant to a specified domain name – the perfect solution for smaller websites, forums, blogs, intranet and mail servers, or anyone who requires cheap SSL certificates. All traffic will be encrypted but no further validation is conducted.
Level of trust: low
The Organisation Validation certificate checks the legitimacy of a business. Organisations are strictly authenticated by checking business registry databases and documentation. The information about the business is included into the certificate. This way customers can validate the organisation operating a website. These additional checks ensure a higher level of trust and add a level of protection against phishing attacks.
Level of trust: high
For the Extended Validation certificate, extended checks verify the identity of the applicant. The Certificate Authority conducts a thorough vetting of the organisation, including verification of:•the legal status
•physical operational existence
•identity in line with official records
•the authorised issuance of the EV SSL certificate
This type of certificate is available for all types of business, however, they are most often used by public authorities.
Level of trust: very high
SSL certificates work by establishing a trusted connection secured by end-to-end encryption between the website's server and the client's browser. This is accomplished almost instantly as the host and the provider communicate the particular SSL certificate and verify a common key. As the Internet has developed, so too have SSL certificates, providing increased security as external threats have become more sophisticated. This means that you will always be protected, despite the changeable nature of these external threats.
It should be noted, that the level of encryption varies between 128 and 256 bits with the higher bit count providing greater possibilities for combinations of algorithms leading to greater security. In addition to this, SSL certificates are distinguished by browser compatibility, whether for single, sub or multiple domains, and the validation process of the domain or identity of the website. These safeguards ensure the security of your website and reassure your customers regarding their sensitive, personal details and data.