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Q10241 - FAQ: What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers.

To be able to create an SSL connection a web server requires an SSL Certificate. When you choose to activate SSL on your web server you will be prompted to complete a number of questions about the identity of your website and your company. Your web server then creates two cryptographic keys - a Private Key and a Public Key.

The Public Key does not need to be secret and is placed into a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) - a data file also containing your details. You should then submit the CSR. During the SSL Certificate application process, the Certification Authority will validate your details and issue an SSL Certificate containing your details and allowing you to use SSL. Your web server will match your issued SSL Certificate to your Private Key. Your web server will then be able to establish an encrypted link between the website and your customer's web browser.

The complexities of the SSL protocol remain invisible to your customers. Instead their browsers provide them with a key indicator to let them know they are currently protected by an SSL encrypted session - the lock icon in the lower right-hand corner, clicking on the lock icon displays your SSL Certificate and the details about it. All SSL Certificates are issued to either companies or legally accountable individuals.

Typically an SSL Certificate will contain your domain name, your company name, your address, your city, your state and your country. It will also contain the expiration date of the Certificate and details of the Certification Authority responsible for the issuance of the Certificate. When a browser connects to a secure site it will retrieve the site's SSL Certificate and check that it has not expired, it has been issued by a Certification Authority the browser trusts, and that it is being used by the website for which it has been issued. If it fails on any one of these checks the browser will display a warning to the end user letting them know that the site is not secured by SSL.

Be sure to visit SSLTools.com for some great services and tools to assist in your implementation of ssl on your site or if you want to examine the ssl certificates of other websites.

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SSLTools Manager for Windows server
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Comments...
TNKTH2 This is one awesome article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic. Approved: 3/22/2014
it was a good video, it was very easy to understand. I even asked my husband to view this, he is definitely not computer savvy, but he could totally understand this. I rate this a 10 :) Approved: 3/1/2014
Concepts explained so simply that even a layman could understand the technicality of the concept. Approved: 2/26/2014
Very goooooood Approved: 2/23/2014
clear and simple Approved: 2/5/2014
superb, video was excellent Approved: 12/5/2013
great video Approved: 11/24/2013
very useful thanks Approved: 11/22/2013
The information was very helpful, I am a new IT student working on a thesis. Approved: 11/19/2013
Very useful. Approved: 11/5/2013
its reaaly nice Approved: 10/23/2013
Best. Approved: 9/26/2013
its really appreciable Approved: 2/4/2013
It was good and long, but a little bit too long. Like, in a way, Some people wont bother reading all 6 paragraphs. But it was good wording and helped me understand what SSL actually was. Before I thought it meant server. Another thing is that it was wordy, but it was a little bit too wordy. So overall, i gave this a 7 out of 10. Approved: 1/22/2013
clear, easy and simple to understand Approved: 1/17/2013
well explained and easy to understand Approved: 1/5/2013
nice very useful to me Approved: 1/4/2013
nice Approved: 1/2/2013
very helpful and easy to understand Approved: 12/15/2012
very helpful and easy to understand Approved: 12/15/2012
Thanks, good description and easy to understand. Approved: 12/13/2012
its nice brief thank you very much... Approved: 12/12/2012
Good explanation but, I wanted to know if it cost to use SSL? I couldnt find that info... Scratch that ... My mistake I just saw it Id give it 9 now, thanx:) Approved: 11/29/2012
Very good and easy understanding Approved: 11/28/2012
It will be much better if you explained through some diagrams. Approved: 11/22/2012
Thanks Approved: 10/19/2012
very good Approved: 10/17/2012
it verey very very good... Approved: 10/4/2012
super.. Approved: 10/2/2012
Very nice read, thanks Approved: 10/2/2012
too many words, needs a picture or two! Approved: 9/28/2012
Its very informative and well explained. Approved: 9/26/2012
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers Approved: 9/26/2012
Very Good article about SSL Approved: 9/26/2012
Easy to understand Approved: 9/11/2012
Very easy to understand.. Good effert Approved: 9/11/2012
Very nice. It was clear and simple. Approved: 9/7/2012
Provide basic of ssl ,really Great Approved: 9/2/2012
good Approved: 8/29/2012
It answered my question briefly and to the point. Approved: 8/28/2012
it was great lol Approved: 5/10/2012
Great... Approved: 5/9/2012
Really reader freandly. Approved: 5/7/2012
Good and simple explanation.. Approved: 4/30/2012
Its a good article which provide some basic concept of SSL and its usability process in the different cyber park.Most probably the practical use or implementation of any protocol in the field of networkng is much more essential to give while describing any topic on networking.Thank u very much for providing such an excellent article...... Approved: 4/26/2012
nice information Approved: 4/25/2012
Always good to include a flow diagram and examples as the technical knowledge of the audience will be as varied as the audience itself :) Approved: 4/18/2012
nice Approved: 4/17/2012
Brilliant! Approved: 4/17/2012
GREAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Approved: 3/29/2012
A big thank you for your blog post.Really thank you! Really Cool. Approved: 3/20/2012
Nice Simple And Short Information. Approved: 3/15/2012
taking notes for how SSL works for school, thanks a bunch Approved: 3/5/2012
It explained things well! Approved: 3/4/2012
ho2aW6 It`s really useful! Looking through the Internet you can mostly observe watered down information, something like bla bla bla, but not here to my deep surprise. It makes me happy..! Approved: 3/4/2012
AAlyRX Very informative post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged. Approved: 3/4/2012
It would if you had a lay-man terms section. I do not know if should a SSL or is it just for web masters. Approved: 2/24/2012
CLEAR AND CONCISE AND IVE NOW KNOWN MORE THAN I THOUGHT ID ABT SSL:) THANK U VERY MUCH Approved: 2/23/2012
simple & to the point. Approved: 2/22/2012
Because it given the basic knowledge. Approved: 2/15/2012
Very simple and explanatory Approved: 2/14/2012
Needs an alternative explanation for people who have or need a more technical understanding. It doesnt really explain how SSL works with the encryption keys Approved: 2/8/2012
No Related Links Available. Approved: 2/7/2012
it is too clear and helpful . If you can show us what is the problem wit ssl , like ssl certificate problems and using ssl with firewalls , could you plebe explain that . Approved: 1/18/2012
Need Figure representation Approved: 1/18/2012
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers Approved: 1/11/2012
Written in lay-mans terms for a novice/intermediate, thankyou. Approved: 1/8/2012
Thank you that was awesome, now im in the know Approved: 1/6/2012
CLEAR AND CONCISE AND IVE NOW KNOWN MORE THAN I THOUGHT ID ABT SSL:) THANK U VERY MUCH..... Approved: 12/27/2011
doesnt gives full subjective knowledge Approved: 12/25/2011
This is the first time to read about SSL and this article made me understand it Approved: 12/25/2011
This article is definitely helpful. But it has been explained more for a layman rather than a techincal person. Since I was looking for more technical details, i think a link can be added with SSL detailed technology for further reference. Thanks! Approved: 12/21/2011
Excellen Easy to understand Approved: 12/21/2011
helpful for me! Approved: 12/21/2011
Great Approved: 12/19/2011
good explanation.. for a new guy.. thanks Approved: 12/17/2011
helpful for understanding SSL concept. But need technical details about creating SSL. Approved: 12/17/2011
Helpful Approved: 12/14/2011
helpful for me! Approved: 12/8/2011
Very clear, consice description. Reader friendly, without having to worry about all the "computer terms" if you will. Approved: 12/6/2011
Very helpful detailed explanation, find it naturally well to understand. Approved: 12/1/2011
coz i got what i want Approved: 12/1/2011
very nice and apt explanation Approved: 11/22/2011
great explannation.... Approved: 11/17/2011
I thank you for a very nice and concise explanation of SSl. If others that have seen your post think they need more details, then they should just do more searching! A far as I am concerned I think it explains it very well for those that just want to know what SSL is. I would, however, like to point out that nothing transmitted over the internet is ever totally “secure”. Security over the internet is only accomplished by “trusting” someone else. If that “someone” happens to be compromised. well your privacy is gone. See http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/090611-comodo-hacker-claims-credit-for-250454.html for an example. I am not an alarmist, I just hope people are aware. Approved: 11/12/2011
very nice explanation..... Approved: 11/6/2011
explanation to the point! Approved: 11/3/2011
nice tutorial Approved: 11/3/2011
You should provide an example also. Approved: 11/3/2011
For a layman like me, it was just fine and understandable. Only problem I see is that hardly anyone dates their Internet material so I dont know if in this case SSL is current technology or even the best in its class. Approved: 11/1/2011
Short and descriptive.. Approved: 10/31/2011
Great article. This is what I needed. Approved: 10/29/2011
not any chance, for layman Approved: 10/29/2011
Thanks for sharing this article it explains exactly what is SSL for common people. Approved: 10/27/2011
Good one to start with... Approved: 10/27/2011
this is very good to understand basic of ssl Approved: 10/24/2011
short and good Approved: 10/24/2011
Its very good and to the point, but there are few more points also which are required to be quoted; such as after getting an SSL certificate the http changes to https and secondly that how data is encrypted and sent through an SSL connection. Approved: 10/16/2011
A very useful article that tell us the fundamental of SSL concept, if add in more technical would be better. thx. Approved: 10/13/2011
This was quite helpful. :-) Approved: 9/28/2011
because it gives me updates on whats happenin anywhere in the world. :) Approved: 9/25/2011
Told me the axact info i had to know tnx :D Approved: 9/22/2011
it sucks Approved: 9/21/2011
fine article Approved: 9/15/2011
iam new to this feature so from above information i understood need of ssl but i need more information Approved: 9/14/2011
it helps me, us people to be updated in different part of the world. Approved: 9/13/2011
Bit more than I needed to know but very helpful Approved: 9/12/2011
Its good Approved: 9/6/2011
Thank you... Thank you... Thank you !!! I have spent 1 hour and fifteen minutes on the computer trying to find out what SSL means. I have read articles and spent time on wordpress trying to find out what these three simple letters mean. I have read articles, which sent me around to other articles, to find out what those 3 letters mean, on hostgator, and wordpress. Finally, I got out of all that stuff and rebooted, and got on google, and asked what does SSL mean? I then clicked on your answer. It means "Secure Sockets Layer" ! Perfectly logical. Why couldnt they just tell me that in the beginning of all this, 1 hour and fifteen minutes ago? You have answered my question, simply, and clearly, and I am eternally grateful to you!! GOD, sometimes I really hate computers... Thank you so much, Ted K... Approved: 8/22/2011
HOW TO SOLVE SSL PROBLEM Approved: 8/19/2011
I dont want to have to answer any questions, i`ll just use the product an thats it! Given the fact that you can get all the info on people you need, without filling in your crap! Why do we have to give our life history just to understand what ssl is? Approved: 8/14/2011
good Approved: 8/10/2011
Concise and to the point. Excellent! Approved: 8/9/2011
What? Approved: 8/5/2011
Nice explaination Approved: 8/3/2011
needs to include more detail Approved: 8/1/2011
It is explained in easily understanding way Approved: 7/28/2011
Concise and informative well done! Approved: 7/27/2011
need some clarity with graphical examples such as screen shots itll be effective Approved: 7/26/2011
Easy to understand Approved: 7/21/2011
very good article Approved: 7/20/2011
Would like to see some diagrams of the connection process, see an example of how this effect the TCIP packet, etc Approved: 6/28/2011
Wow! what a detail given by u about the Sonic firewall .... thanks Approved: 3/5/2011
very very poor Approved: 3/2/2011
Created on 6/7/2005.
Last Modified on 11/21/2013.
Last Modified by Administrator.
Rated 6 out of 10 based on 6800 votes.
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