What is an SSL Certificate?

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL is a short name of “Secure Sockets Layer” and is the security protocol. It establishes a secure, encrypted communication link between a web browser and web server.

SSL certificate make SSL/TLS encryption possible.

Their purpose is to secure website`s public key and the website’s identity, together with associated information. When the device communicates with the origin server, SSL refers the file to obtain the public key and verify the server’s identity. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and your browser stays as private.

In theory, the public and private keys used for SSL are presented as a long strings of characters mainly used for encrypting and signing data. The data encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted with the private key.

Some questions always comes on mind:

  • why some of the website URLs start with HTTP and others with HTTPS ?
  • why some website URLs have a lock/padlock icon in front of them?
  • Or how to find out if the website needs an SSL certificate?

When you see a padlock icon along with an ‘s’ letter after the ‘http’ (i.e. https) in the address bar it will mean that the website is a secure website. In short, an SSL Certificate basically provides encryption and security to a website.

Read more about what an SSL certificate is and why it is a must for every website.  

When a SSL certificate is installed on a web server, it enables a secure padlock that is shown alongside of website URL and converts http to https protocol, allowing end users to securely transmit sensitive information such as credit card details, bank details, personal details and more to a merchant’s website.

According to w3techs,  more than half of the websites on the Internet use an SSL certificate to encrypt traffic.


Do I need an SSL certificate for eCommerce or SSL certificate for woo-commerce website?

An eCommerce SSL certificate or woo commerce SSL certificate is a must for any eCommerce or woo commerce website, even if customers doesn’t pay online or share their bank or digital wallet details. Why is that?  To illustrate, we look at a scenario below where a customers buy things on an eCommerce site and where SSL certificate would be required for the customer to complete the transaction.

Firstly, when a customer buys a product (e.g., a book) from an online store and selects cash as the delivery option at checkout, the user must register on this page and provide their contact details, which should remain confidential. in any case.

Second, when a customer use third-party payment gateways like Stripe or PayPal, all his sensitive data is processed on the gateway API or its integration page.

The website does not store the information therefore there is no chance of the data being leaked. But when information is collected (even a smallest piece of information) like name, phone number, address or email address, the SSL  certificate ensure that the data is protected from any other third party protocol trying to intervene other than the one who has originally requested.

How to get a free SSL certificate?

Zerossl offers free SSL/TLS encryption and was one of the first company to do so. The free version of SSL shares SSL certificates among multiple customer domains. Zerossl also offers customized SSL certificates for larger organisations and enterprise customers.

To get , a domain owners need to sign up with Zerossl and select an SSL option in their SSL settings.

Other free SSL creticate can also be found here.

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