A Step-by-Step Guide to How SSL Works


In recent years, as the world embraced technology, most people started purchasing products and services online. Hence, businesses started offering these services through their websites. This also led to a corresponding increase in the number of cyber-attacks and site owners started looking for tools and applications to make their websites secure.

As businesses strive to protect their systems, data, and customers from online miscreants, many have invested heavily in security tools designed to protect the website from viruses, worms, DDoS attacks, and other threats. Most web hosting providers offer vulnerability scans, antivirus and antimalware tools, firewalls, and various other applications to help keep websites secure.

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate is one such tool ensuring secure communication between a web server and the user’s device. There are various Certifying Authorities (CAs) offering SSL certificates like Symantec SSL, Thawte SSL, Comodo SSL, RapidSSL, Sectigo SSL, etc. Of these, Comodo SSL Certificate is preferred by most commercial establishments, making it the largest commercial CA with more than 100 million SSL certificates issued around the globe.

Today, we will be talking about SSL certificates and how they work.

What is an SSL Certificate?

In the simplest terms, an SSL certificate encrypts the communication between two terminals to prevent any unauthorized access to the communication while in transit. While earlier SSL certificates were primarily used by sites that exchanged financial information, it has become a more common occurrence now. Also, with Google declaring that sites without an SSL certificate will be tagged as ‘Not Secure’ in its Chrome browser and might lose some crucial SEO points, SSL certificates have become a necessity for all kinds of websites.

How does an SSL Certificate work?

  1. A user connects to your website that is secured with SSL.
  2. The user’s browser sends a request to your webserver to confirm the identity of the server.
  3. On receiving the request, the server sends a copy of the SSL certificate to the user.
  4. The user’s browser checks the SSL certificate. Upon successful verification, the user’s browser sends a confirmation to the server and digitally signs it to commence the session.
  5. The web server and the user’s browser start sharing data over an encrypted channel.

Why you need an SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates offer a host of benefits for your website. Go through this list before making the SSL certificate purchase:

  • Clients feel safer exchanging information with a website that is secure, and an SSL Certificate assures them of encrypted communication with the site.
  • It helps build trust and retain customers as they perceive the brand as responsible and secure.
  • It helps reduce the number of incidents of data theft since hackers cannot gain access to data while in transit.

Types of SSL Certificates

  1. Domain Validated (DV) Certificates– These validate the ownership of the domain only. They do not display the details of the organization.
  2. Organization Validated (OV) Certificates– These validate the organization along with the domain.
  3. Extended Validation (EV) Certificates– These are available for all kinds of websites and businesses. They are preferred by most online users since they offer the most comprehensive validation checking.

Summing Up

Remember, site security is essential to prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access to critical information. While protecting your server is a must, SSL security or encrypting communication to and from the server can add a layer of protection to your site. Before you buy an SSL certificate, ensure that it uses encryption levels that are at par with the industry benchmark with the most popular one being the 256-bit encryption. Choose the right SSL Certificate for your site.

The following video will guide you for choosing the best SSL Certificate for your website –



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