Guide to SSL Offloading – What Is It? How It Works & Benefits It Offers
Use SSL Offloading to Separate the Process of Encryption/Decryption for Reducing Latency on the Servers
If you think when any website gets more traffic than the usual one, then there’s a possibility to face this situation of the website is slowing down. Yes, you’re right, it’s the actual reason, but besides that SSL/TLS certificate installed onto your server can also be a culprit, which is mandatory to have on the website. But, there’s one way through which you can get a solution, and it’s through SSL offloading.
SSL Offloading – Here’s What It Is
In other words, SSL offloading helps the server by lessening a load of encryption and decryption with the help of SSL offloading device, placed between the browser (client) and the server. This SSL offloading device is also called the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) processor, a load balancer, or a proxy server. In addition, these load balancer devices are designed for using the secure SSL/TLS protocol for performing SSL termination or SSL bridging for reducing these encryption and decryption load of the servers.
Once the load balancer is placed, it’ll receive encrypted traffic from the client, and then it’ll decrypt it and pass on that unencrypted data to the server. Sometimes, the load balancer is also responsible for inspecting HTTPS traffic for ensuring there’s no malware in that received data and then re-encrypt that same data and send it further to the server.
Here, this load balancer can be a special application, a hardware device, or even a firewall.
Some of the trusted SSL load balancer providers are:
Why SSL Offloading Is Needed?
In the past, SSL/TLS was considered a bit lengthy process mainly due to the several round trips of the SSL/TLS handshake process. Now, it has been reduced to a single round trip in this latest TLS 1.3. Again, with all the improvements, SSL/TLS can still add the latency resulting in slow down of the website if there’s a high volume of traffic.
How SSL Offloading Works?
There are two types of SSL offloading, namely:
- SSL Termination
- SSL Bridging
Advantage of SSL Termination
- The server doesn’t require encrypting and decrypting all the data coming from the client-side, which helps in reducing the workload and increasing the loading speed.
- Some of the websites where SSL termination can be considered are like blogs, information related websites like Wikipedia, YouTube. One of those who don’t deal with any sensitive data of the user.
The purpose of SSL bridging is to verify data for ensuring that it’s free from malicious malware. In this, the process includes decryption of incoming data, then inspecting it for any malicious spyware, viruses, and commonly seen web application attacks like DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), cross-site forgery, SQL injections and more. And then again encrypting it and sending it forward to the webserver.
Compared to SSL Termination, this SSL Bridging may come out costly because of its infrastructure investment as well as processing power. However, SSL offloading can lighten the workload of the servers. SSL bridging is useful for the websites that collect sensitive information of the user like credit card details, health data, data concerning tax, and more.
Advantage of SSL Bridging
- Compared to SSL Termination, SSL Bridging is safer as the data remains encrypted throughout the transmission process, which means from the client to the load balancer and from the load balancer to the server, it stays encrypted.