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What Is an SSL And Why Is It Important To You?

SL is a subsidiary of Maxar Technologies that builds satellites and space systems for government and commercial customers.


But I’m not talking about that SSL.

I’m talking about the SSL that matters to your online presence.


I know for a fact that you wouldn’t leave your smartphone or car unlocked. So why would you leave your website unprotected?



What is an SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) makes the difference between insecure connection and encrypted connection. It is a security technology. An internet communications security protocol that ensures a high degree of privacy.


Created in 1995 by Netscape the SSL evolved to TLS (Transport Layer Security) in 1999. There is little difference between SSL and TLS and it is the result of change in ownership: the 1999 update was made by IEFT (Internet Engineering Task Force) with no involvement from Netscape. Read more about it in this Cloudflare article.

The SSL/TLS terms are confused because SSL is still a reference for encryption. TLS is actually the updated and used encryption protocol implemented online for over 20 years.

And yes, the SSL certificate is a TLS certificate.



What is an SSL certificate?

It is the tool that allows you to use HTTPS instead of HTTP for your website URL, protecting user privacy. The S comes from secure.

There are a few types of certificates that you can apply for if your website builder platform does not have SSL included and taken care of, like WiX does:


  • Single Domain SSL Certificate.

The one you can only use for one domain, subdomains not included


  • Wildcard SSL Certificate

The one you can use for your subdomains


  • MDC (Multi-Domain SSL Certificate)

The one you can use for multiple domains, on the same certificate


  • EV (Extended Validation SSL Certificate)

The one that requires a full company background check. Ecommerce, financial institutions, or big companies use it.


  • OV (Organization Validated SSL Certificate)

The one that includes a manual vetting process. You might be contacted to verify the organization's identity.


  • DV (Domain Validation SSL Certificate)

The one that often has an automated process. It is fast and cheap, the lowest validation level, used by small businesses, portfolio websites or blogs.


  • UCC (Unified Communications SSL Certificate)

The one you can use for up to 100 domains



You can easily check the SSL certificate or validation information for any website by simply clicking the lock:


Click this link from ssl.com to see the differences between types of SSL certificates and which one would be best suited for your needs.





How does it work?

Encryption and identification are the keywords.


Once a user navigates to a website an SSL (TLS) connection is initiated. The sequence used is called handshake and it works between the visitor’s device and the webserver. The handshake handles authentication and session keys.

HTTP becomes HTTPS and information is secured.


Here is an example. This is how traffic looks like to a potential interception or an on-path attacker:


Before encryption (HTTP):

"This string of text can be seen by everyone"


After encryption (HTTPS):

"Hfl328q?s64893\|kjsg8k001KSd7s/.fs83nc]/ahDR41=}62hSa"



Take a look at this short video made by Lyquix for an animated description.


You can check the SSL by running a diagnostic for any website here with the Cloudflare Diagnostic Center and test the speed, SSL/TLS or HTTP encryption. It also checks the website for encrypted and non-encrypted content mix.




Why is it important to you?

It creates trust.


HTTPS assures visitors of your website’s authenticity, integrity and encryption. They can use it with confidence for any transfer of information (from login credentials to credit card info).

Your website is protected from data breaches and attacks.


Besides security for your business and potential clients, SSL also helps you with SEO. A safe online environment is important for all of us and big players like Google also consider it a priority. This is why SSL certified websites are preferred on search engines.


Since the release of Chrome 68 in 2018 Google labels the non-HTTPS sites as not secure. See here the Google Security Blog information.


Secure versus non-secure connection
Secure versus non-secure connection

It is easy to identify websites that use HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) and websites that do not. The URL that shows the “i” icon indicates the website is not SSL certified and the lock icon indicates the presence of the SSL certificate.


According to HubSpot 82% of website visitors who see the red flag for an unsecure URL decide not to visit it. I bet you would too. Take a look at this short HubSpot video for more insights.


Now that you have a lot of information about SSL and its importance, let me give you the good news. You don’t need to worry about it if you use WiX to build, redesign or manage your website.


Your website is SSL certified. Always.

As easy as that.



I know what spam is and I don’t like it either. So don’t worry, I won’t do it. Subscribe with confidence and be sure you won’t miss the next article.




_________________


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