What is an SSL?
According to SSL.com, SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. An SSL is a set of protocols for establishing authenticated and encrypted links between networked computers and servers.
While some SSLs may technically be TLS (transport layer security), these technologies are still commonly referred to as “SSL” or “SSL/TLS.”
How SSL Works
SSL (or SSL/TLS) works by binding together the identities of websites to cryptographic key pairs via digital documents known as certificates. Each of these key pairs consists of a private key and a public key. The private key is kept secure, and the public key can be widely distributed via a certificate.
At a very basic level, these SSLs and key pairs are the foundation to secure web browsing.
Why SSLs Matter
Have you ever made an online purchase with your credit card? Or paid a bill online using your bank routing and account number? All of this information is information that is private to you—you clearly do not want it leaked to hackers, credit card thieves, or the general public.
SSLs help keep information that needs to be kept confidential safe and secure. When you visit a website that uses an SSL, you can be assured that the website is authentic and that any information you are providing to the website is encrypted.
If you visit a website without an SSL, any data sent to this website is sent in plain text, easily available to any hackers with access to that data stream.
Should Your Website Have an SSL?
However, if you are an e-commerce website, being proactive and getting an SSL is a good idea. Doing so will give your customers peace of mind and will help protect your website from data breaches.
You can typically tell if a website is using an SSL by looking at the address bar. If the URL begins with “https://” or displays a locked lock icon, that indicates that your web session on that web page is secure.
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