SSL Certs – How do they work and why they are important

What are SSL certs?

SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer.” Secure Sockets Layer is a protocol designed to enable applications to transmit information between each other securely. SSL is the most widely deployed security protocol used today. In today’s Internet focused world, we typically see SSL in use when a web browser needs to securely connect to a web server over the insecure Internet. For example, in the case of a browser, users are alerted to the presence of SSL when the browser displays a padlock. This is the key to the success of SSL, as the users know the site is valid and secure and it is an incredibly simple experience for end users.

How does SSL work?

SSL works by the sharing of encrypted keys, or passwords. The keys are created in pairs, one a public key and one a private key. When the keys are traded in a particular manner between two parties, this protocol assures the parties in communication they are transmitting with one another and not a hacker or phisher. It also assures the data being transmitted is not intercepted by someone else.

What happens when my web browser connects to a secure website? (SSL)

  • The browser requests that the web server identifies itself.
  • The server sends the browser a copy of its SSL cert.
  • The browser checks whether it trusts the SSL cert, and if it does it sends a message to the server.
  • The server sends back a digitally signed acknowledgement to start an SSL encryption session.
  • Encrypted data is now shared between the server and the browser.

SSL’s importance in E-commerce

When a customer visits a store they can see who they are dealing with. They can see the person and the product and make a decision on payment. When a customer visits your website they have no way of knowing who they are dealing with or who owns the ecommerce website from which they are about to buy. They are exposed to all the risks associated with sending data over the internet.

Using an SSL cert on your website enables a web browser (your customer) to communicate securely with your website and assures the customer of these three key issues:

  • That the website really is who it claims to be.
  • That credit card numbers, etc are encrypted and cannot be intercepted.
  • That the data sent and received cannot be tampered with or forged. offer SSL certs from €89.99 + VAT per year. For more information on these GeoTrust SSL certs, please visit

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