How Does SSL Certificate Work?

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As we all know, Cyber Security has become a major concern for all Internet users. An SSL certificate is by far the best and the easiest solution to secure a website and its data against theft and hacking. The acronym “SSL” stands for Secure Socket Layer, and it refers to the layer in which the security protocol takes place. In layman’s terms, it secures your websites with encryption. Let’s learn about how the functionality of an SSL certificate.

When a browser attempts to access a website that is secured by an SSL certificate, it recognizes the SSL, the web server, and the browser, thereby establishing a secure connection. This process is called the “SSL Handshake”, which happens instantaneously and remains invisible to the users.

There are three keys that are involved in establishing an SSL connection:

1) Public Key
2) Private Key
3) Session keys
In general, anything encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted by the matching private key and vice versa.

The process of encryption and decryption requires a lot of processing techniques. Therefore, it is used only during the “SSL handshake” to create a symmetric session key. After establishing a secure communication, the session key is used to encrypt all the transmitted data.

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Functions of an SSL Certificate

The SSL Certificate has 2 significant entities:
1) SSL Encryption, which allows the user to transmit the data securely over the internet

2) Identity validation, which verifies the legitimacy of a business

Server-Browser Communication: Learn How Does an SSL Certificate Work

When a user accesses an SSL secured website:
  • The browser tries to connect to the SSL-encrypted website.
  • Then the browser asks the web server to identify itself.
  • For identification, the servers send the SSL Certificate’s copy to the browser.
  • Now the browser verifies the authenticity of the certificate
  • If the browser trusts the certificate, it messages the server
  • After that, to start the SSL-encrypted session, the server sends a digitally-signed acknowledgement to the browser.
  • Now the Data shared between the browser and the server is encrypted and HTTPS appears.

How to make a Website HTTPS Encrypted?

Get an SSL Certificate: First, you need to have an SSL Certificate to enable HTTPS. Primarily, there are 3 types of certificates for web security:
(1) Domain Validation
(2) Organization validated
(3) Extended Validated
Get any of these SSL Certificates as per your needs. You can get an SSL certificate either from the Certificate Authority’s website or via resellers. Buying from the resellers is a better option, as they offer certificates at discounted prices.
Generate CSR and Private Key: Once you adopt an SSL certificate, the very next step is to generate CSR and private key. CSR (Certificate Signing Request) will be generated using the CSR tool, which will be available with Certificate Authority or Server manager. Fill out the correct information during CSR generation process. You will get CSR and Private-Key in encoded (cryptographic) format. Save the CSR and Private-Key at a safe location on your server or a local drive.

Domain and Business Validation: After CSR and Private-Key generation, the certificate will ask the issuer to submit several business documents for verification. In the case of domain validation, the verification process will be completed by checking the domain registrar’s information via Email.

In the case of organization validated (OV), extended validation (EV) and code signing certificates, the business document verification is mandatory. Here, the user needs to submit documents required by the certificate authority. After verification, if the documents meet the requirements of the CA, it will quickly approve the certificate.

Note: Documents required by CA might change from one authority to the other.

SSL Installation: Once the domain & business have been verified by CA, the SSL certificate is now ready to be installed on the server. The user must know how to Install an SSL certificate on their server.

On successful installation of the certificate on the server, the website becomes ready with HTTPS. Now secured connection is established when a visitor visits the website.

How the Website encrypted with SSL Certificate will look in a browser?

Domain Validated SSL – Website secured with DV SSL Certificates will only display the HTTPS with Pad Lock.
domain-validation-ssl-function
Organization Validated SSL – Website Secured with OV SSL Certificates will display HTTPS with Pad Lock, and it also displays business information in the website seal.
organization-validation-ssl-function
Extended Validated SSL – Website Secured with EV SSL Certificates will display HTTPS, organization name in the URL, and business information in the website seal.
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Read More About SSL:

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