What is SSL/TLS?
Let's start with the basics. An SSL/TLS Certificate serves two primary functions. It enables encrypted connections between clients (a website's visitors) and web servers (the server that hosts a website) via the SSL/TLS protocol. It also authenticates the identity of the company or organization that holds the certificate.
What is Data Encryption?
When a client and a web server communicate, typically that information is out in the open and capable of being intercepted or manipulated by a third party. For obvious reasons, this is not ideal. An SSL/TLS Certificate enables an encrypted connection, wherein all communication between the client and server is encoded in such a way that only an authorized party can read it. This protects personal data and sensitive information being shared between the two.
What is Authentication?
As we mentioned, an SSL/TLS Certificate serves two functions. The first is to encrypt communication between a website and its visitors. The second, authentication, offers verified information about the company or organization operating a website to its visitors. Trust is absolutely essential online, and authentication provides your site's visitors with the confidence they need to do business with you.
How does an SSL/TLS Certificate Actually Work?
So, by now you know that an SSL/TLS Certificate enables an encrypted connection between a client and a web server, but what does that actually mean? How does it enact this kind of secure connection? It starts with an interaction known as the SSL Handshake that, within a matter of milliseconds, can facilitate an encrypted connection that protects all communication between your website and its visitors.
How will my website's visitors know I have SSL/TLS?
When you purchase an SSL/TLS Certificate, you're making an investment in protecting your customers' privacy. But let's be honest, in addition to its being the right thing to do, you'd also like to get a little bit of credit from your customers for keeping them safe. Fortunately, there are some very obvious visual indicators that come with SSL/TLS.
How does the SSL/TLS Issuance Process Work?
There are several steps you'll need to take in order to get your SSL/TLS Certificate issued. Starting with generating a Certificate Signing Request and a Private Key, you'll also need to undergo the verification process, receive the certificate and all accompanying files from the Certificate Authority, then install it on your server and configure your server for HTTPS.