Since Google announced several years ago that they would be giving search rank priority to sites using secure HTTP connections (HTTPS), it’s becoming ever more important to have your site encrypted with an SSL certificate.
SSL is an essential technology for any site with eCommerce functions or collection of sensitive data, such as credit card info or passwords, but there are benefits to using HTTPS even for non-eCommerce sites. Aside from the benefit of a better search ranking, HTTPS connections can load site assets faster than regular HTTP connections, which will also have a positive impact on user experience. In this article, we will outline the common steps to purchasing and installing an SSL certificate.
What is SSL?
SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layers, is an internet security technology that creates an encrypted connection between two points — generally a server and the client. As a solution, this method assists users to encrypt either website or email connection. SSL is also known as a security protocol, which outlines certain rules for how algorithms should be used to encrypt data.
While data transfers over HTTP (HyperText Protocol) are sent using just plain text, HTTPS encrypts the data being sent, removing the vulnerability of a hacker or other threat receiving private data such as social security numbers or other personal info.
An SSL certificate ensures that the client (the user) is accessing the correct site they are intending to access (HTTPS://www.facebook.com, for example), rather than a site meant to look like the real one. Attackers will often set up a fake site meant to look identical to the site you’re trying to access, but in actuality, it’s being used to collect user’s personal data for malicious purposes.
What SSL version am I using?
To ensure better website security, knowing which SSL version is currently installed onto each web server is important. First, users review which version of SSL browsers support. To locate, users explore tools, internet options, and advanced options on web servers. Under security, users then review the settings menu. From the settings menu, the list of SSL versions appears for reference.
How do I know if I have SSL or TLS?
Both serving as protocols, SSL and TLS protect and secure information between server and user. While most users have SSL, Transport Layer Security (TLS) is also available for users for web server security. To check, users follow the procedure of accessing web servers and entering a URL. Next, users right-click on the page to view the URL’s properties. From the properties section, the user reviews the connection section. Lastly, the connection section displays the version of the certificate protocol for that site address.
Is SSL enough for your security?
For full protection, SSL does not encrypt all features within specific web servers. Reasonably, if SSL certificates do not indicate proper installation, then the content on web servers is susceptible to insecurities. However, for users operating online without relying mostly on sensitive information, SSL is simple enough. In contrast, free and paid SSL certificates differ in security as paid certificates serve single domains. Also, there is not protection with SSL after data is compromised.
As an alternative, a Transport Layer Security system offers better protection. For TLS, the protocol supports more modern web browsers than competitors. As a benefit, The system significantly reduces and prevents data breach, encryption altering, and message manipulation.
Can HTTPS be hacked?
In general, the HTTPS protocol secures network connections by establishing encrypted links between browsers and servers. The data within the connections also undergo encryption for better security. In regards to risk, HTTPS is still subject to data interception and potential data threats. The protocol checks validity across web browsers’ security certificates and verifies server authentication authority. Overall, the HTTPS certificates signal better security and meet standard regulations in web traffic.
Is data sent over HTTPS encrypted?
Encrypted with SSL and TLS, HTTPS data is safer than HTTP. In other words, data sent over HTTPS is only decrypted once accessing the end server. In regards to data threats, HTTPS is subject to interception. Moreover, the interception of HTTPS data is possible during the occurrence of third party interception during data transmissions. Since data moves from web server keys to public keys, the third-party data threat would require access to a user’s public key for data decryption.
Where are SSL certificates stored?
Commonly misunderstood, all SSL certificates are store differently. Bound with a cryptographic key, SSL certificate digital files pair with the identity of a website. Upon application of SSL certificate, the user generates CSR’s (certificate signing requests) when sent to the Certificate Authority for validation. Alternatively, users who generate CSR and SSL installation on the same server will have private keys automatically stored.
After approval of SSL requests, users receive the downloadable files and information for storage use. From the files, users review server certificates for specific domains and intermediate certificates. For storage purposes, SSL certificates store on the user server and Cpanel web interfaces.
My SSL certificate has expired
In some scenarios, a user SSL certificate may expire. As an informational note, expired SSL certificates are subject to certificate renewal for the end-user. In most cases, a renewal notice prompts users before the SSL certificate expiration period. Equally important, the renewal period typically sets for a brief time before and after the expiration date.
From the SSL expiration, users become more susceptible to data encryption threats and additional warning signals appear. Moreover, expired SSL certificates deter more users from accessing sites and enables more information to be transferred without protection. However, a certificate undergoing expiration may encrypt outgoing data as data decrypts once received.
How do I fix an expired SSL certificate?
As a solution, users follow specific procedures to resolve SSL certificate expiration issues. First, individuals choose and install an SSL certificate to meet website needs and validity periods. Next, users opt to renew the SSL certificate through the settings preferences. During renewal, users confirm the account details and personal information to update SSL certificates. After documentation and reviewal, users may be subject to make SSL payments. Lastly, users enroll the SSL certificate onto the website through the web server settings.
With an SSL checker, individuals better secure their website and prevent risk warning indicators. For verification purposes, the software provides users insights into SSL certificate activity and performance on online servers. Additionally, the software runs diagnostics to ensure that SSL certificates install properly onto various sources. Overall, the SSL checker assists individuals to develop valid sites, trusted, and functional.
One SSL Checker is Scrapebox, software for Secure Socket Layers. Available for purchase, Scrapebox features multiple benefits for users. Firstly, the software issues fast multi-threaded operations with multiple concurrent connections. Secondly, Scrapebox is highly modifiable and numerous features to enhance search engine optimization (SEO). Thirdly, the system includes free add-ons and tech support for new and existing users.
DigiCert, a high-assurance digital certificate provider, is an SSL diagnostic tool available for individuals. In regards to services, DigiCert offers trusted SSL, private and managed PKI’s, and compatibility for emerging digital certificates. For users with SSL certificate issues, the software features easy-to-use features that locate and verify SSL certificate installations. Lastly, DigiCert offers user’s discovery tools, code signing certificate management, and CSR Wizards.
Qualys SSL Labs
For SSL website testing, Qualys SSL Labs is available for users. Within the software, the SSL Servers test offers individuals straightforward forms to input hosting domains. After the scan, the Quals SSL Labs offers various and helpful information for users. Next, the program offers overall ratings, documentation, and certificate information. Regarding certificates, users review secure keys, certificate paths, and certificate authorities. Overall, Qualys SSL labs ensure more trusted sites and better-secured servers.
Installing an SSL Certificate
The process of purchasing and installing an SSL certificate is typically fairly straightforward. Most popular web hosting providers (such as GoDaddy, Nexcess, WP Engine, etc.) offer SSL certificates either included in their hosting packages or available for an additional fee. The process, varying slightly for different hosting providers, are the general steps. These steps follow the outline:
Create a CSR (Certificate Signing Request)
A CSR file includes information about your server and public key. Users will need to generate CSR files first before purchasing and installing an SSL. Typically, users may access the cPanel or equivalent server control panel settings to perform this function.
Purchase the SSL Certificate
Most hosting providers can offer SSL certificates, but if not, you can go through a direct SSL service, such as Symantec, DigiCert, or GlobalSign. Just make sure you are getting your certificate through a reputable source.
Download the SSL Certificate
After purchase, you will receive a file containing the SSL certificate, either by email or potentially through the account panel of your hosting provider.
Install the SSL Certificate via cPanel
Once you have the certificate, you can typically upload the file via the SSL Manager in cPanel. Alternatively, you can also often just copy/paste the certificate into a dedicated text field.
Test the installation
After installing SSL, make sure to test it by visiting your site in various browsers, using HTTPS:// before the domain instead of the regular HTTP:// prefix.
SSL configuration requires an advanced understanding of web technologies. If you’re not experienced we highly recommend you consult with a software developer.
Jhonathon believes in providing high-quality project management services. He currently works for Sunlight Media LLC in Downtown Los Angeles, California. As a Project Manager, Jhon collaborates with clients on website design and development, marketing, and creative solutions for campaigns. In addition to Project Management, Jhon is a content writer who writes articles that rank well on Google and other social media platforms. His skill sets include social media marketing, eCommerce, brand development, programming, web design, and graphic design.