What is SSL?

Compare SSL certificates from all major certificate authorities

What is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)?

SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer, a global standard security technology developed by Netscape in 1994. SSL is all about encryption. It creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser. The link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remains private and secure and is recognised by millions of consumers by a secure padlock which appears in their browser.

The SSL protocol is used by e-Business's globally to protect their customers ensuring their online transactions remain confidential. In order to be able to use the SSL protocol, a web server requires the use of an SSL Certificate. Certificates are provided by Certification Authorities (CA) who in most cases also offer additional products and services to aid e-Businesses to demonstrate that they are trustworthy. Consumers have grown to associate the 'golden padlock', that appears within their browser display, as an indication of trust in the web site. This simple fact allows e-Business providers an opportunity to leverage that increased trust level to turn visitors into paying customers - so long as you know which type to choose.

What is SSL
Things you need to be aware of that your customers will see

Clicking on the Padlock displays your SSL Certificate and your details

Your company details - 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 expiry date of the Certificate and details of the Certification Authority responsible for the issuance of the Certificate. Only certificates issued by High Assurance Certificate Authority will actually display your company details that your customers will reply upon when making a purchase.

Expiry Date - 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. Make sure you renew your certificate with time to spare.

Some customers may look at the date and be concerned if it expires too soon. Check for the vendors who when you purchase before the expiry date will actually add remaining days to your certificate for free to avoid this problem. The other alternative is to make sure you purchase a multi-year certificate to minimise your set-up costs and demonstrate to your customer that you will be around in the years to follow.