SSL is an abbreviation for Secure Sockets Layer, this is a global standard for security technology which enables encrypted communication between a browser and a server. You should have heard about SSL certificates or seen the signature for these in the URL for some sites, it is displayed as https:// rather than a site without the additional certification which is seen as http://.
While some of you reading this will know what an SSL certificate is, I'm going to explain for the purpose of everyone who may not know or is not certain, what it is and why you should consider having one.
An SSL Certificate is a small data file that digitally binds a cryptographic key, when it is installed on the webserver housing your website it activates the padlock and the https:// protocol which then allows you a secure connection from your webserver/website to the browser.
These certificates are used by millions of online businesses to decrease the risk of sensitive information (such as passwords, emails, usernames, credit card numbers, etc.) from being stolen or tampered with by hackers and identity thieves. In essence a SSL allows for a private connection between your website and your visitor.
An SSL Certificate is also sometimes referred to as a digital certificate and when installed on your website server it not only creates a secure connection but it also
- authenticates the identity of the website - ensuring that you are not on a cloned or bogus site
- encrypts the data being transmitted preventing third party access.