To explain what an SSL certificate is, let's start with a definition. We'll then explain the interest an SSL certificate can bring to your website.
Definition of an SSL certificate
An SSL ("secure socket layer") certificate is a file that is installed on a webserver. This certificate is designed solely to secure the sending of some (or all) server data. Security is achieved through encryption which, for websites, is generally at 128 bits, providing a high level of privacy while making it very difficult to break the certificate. This TLS certificate - its official name since the patent was purchased by the Internet Engineering Task Force - does not insure against the interception of encrypted data, but provides effective protection.
Origin of the certificate
The SSL certificate was invented by Netscape in 1994, in partnership with various companies such as Mastercard and Bank of America. The IETF bought the patent from Netscape in 2001, and named it "Transport Layer Security" (TLS). Following this acquisition, the IETF created the standard RFC 2246.
Operation of the SSL certificate
Four security objectives are sought for the use of the certificate:
- the authentication of the web server transmitting the data: necessary to ensure the authenticity of the website that issues the certificate ;
- the confidentiality of the information transmitted and exchanged ;
- the integrity of the data exchanged: the certificate must be "powerful" enough to prevent a third party from altering the transmitted data ;
- last optional step: the client's authentification: to ensure, ultimately, that the data was transmitted by the user who made the request.
The SSL certificate works under a client-server format:
- First step: the client connects via SSL to the server, and requests its authentication. The client simultaneously sends the encryption systems its browser uses (in descending order of importance) ;
- After receiving the request, the server sends the public key, and the name of the first encryption system it is compatible with ;
- After verifying the certificate, the client creates a random private key, encrypts it with the public key and returns a session key ;
- Last step: using its private key, the server decrypts the session key, which becomes a common key. Both parties can now "converse" using this session key, ensuring the integrity of all data exchanged.
Certain elements allow us to recognize an encrypted internet page. The first of these is an icon on the status bar of your browser. The second visible element for an encrypted page is the appearance of the initials "https" in the address bar of your browser, indicating that the address is secure.
Installing an SSL certificate with Namebay
To obtain an SSL certificate with Namebay, follow these four steps:
- firstly, generate a CSR that is unique to each software application and/or version managing the web server. For example, if you use Apache, you need a CSR for Apache, whereas if you use IIS, you need a key for IIS.
- 2and step: complete the online application for a certificate.
- we'll process your request
- After receiving our e-mail, copy and install the SSL certificate that was generated for you.
A few technical details describing the TLS/SSL certificate. The SSL protocol is implemented in the TCP/IP session layer, which ensures the transmission of data over the Internet. The link layer is the intermediate layer between the transport layer and application layer (which contains the HTTP protocol). The HTTPS protocol is thus the HTTP protocol on the SSL.
Usefulness of the SSL certificate
The SSL certificate is crucial for conducting business online: it provides a very high level of "respectability" and security. Internet users can be put off from completing purchases, even on a dazzling website, if no SSL certificate is installed to indicate that all transactions are secure.
Thanks to the SSL certificate, users are reassured from start to finish that any sensitive information transmitted cannot be used by a third party. Europe is one of the largest market areas for internet services. A quarter of all domain names are registered in Europe. Not including an SSL certificate in your e-commerce solution translates into a serious handicap against the competition.
CSR : Acronym for "Certificate Signing Request": a certificate request.
SSL : in English, this acronym stands for "Secure Socket Layer".
HTTPS the acronym for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secured".
TCP/IP : an internet suite of protocols that are a protocol stack used for the Internet. TCP stands for "Transmission Control Protocol". IP stands for "Internet Protocol".