SSL for Beginners: All You Need to Know in Making Your Website More Secure
You have probably browsed through thousands of websites all your life while barely even noticing something as little as that http:// or https:// preceding each site name, haven’t you? Well, I mean now you might be wondering, “Oh yeah? I see that every time but I mean, why is these two different though? Like what’s with the s and non-s?” Well, let me tell you something fascinating: that little “s” is security.
Making it simple for your initial understanding, that little s certifies that your connection with a website you are visiting is private so hackers will not be able to capture any of your data. The technology that makes this possible is called SSL, which means Secure Sockets Layer. Most websites that use this are those that require you to give sensitive information like when you pay bills online. Now, that is interesting!
And to make it more interesting for you, I will lay down everything you need to know about SSL, how to start getting it for your own website.
THE BASICS OF SSL
SSL is your customary technology that caters security by forming a private link applicable only to a web server and a browser that safeguards all information transmitted by one to another and vice versa.
First, security. SSL offers its users the protection they need to ensure that all their private information will not be tampered by prying hackers and thus, prevents this information from being stolen.
Imagine when you’re about to dig in the last piece of your favorite pizza but right on that moment, your friend decided to be a bummer and get it all in one mouthful! You lost it all at once! This is what will happen without the SSL technology. The hackers can get anything from details of your recent purchases to your billing information; from the lowest to elite information! This might risk not just your privacy but also your financials, for that matter.
Have you heard of “man-in-the-middle” attack? The whole scenario will start as prying individual places a tiny, concealed program that listens on the server hosting a website. This program would queue in the background until a user starts entering information that would trigger the program to start capturing the data and then direct it back to the hacker.
That would be fairly easy for hackers to do and this is when SSL becomes valuable. Through SSL, your browser will form a connection with the server by looking at the SSL certificate. What happens is that the browser will secure that only you and the website you are submitting the information to can access whatever you provide into your browser.
There is no requisite to do this. Once you access a website with SSL, the connection happens instantly!
HOW CAN I ENSURE THAT A WEBSITE HAS SSL? (Especially if I am about to divulge very sensitive information on that website?)
Worry not, my friends! It is really good that you have stayed through this post and now you’re about to add something worthwhile in your knowledge potluck!
- The URL says https://
We have started on this. From now on, you will not ignore that extra consonant on the website URLs because you finally know what it means!
It has to appear like this:
- There’s a padlock icon in the URL bar.
Look back on the image above, you see that padlock beside Dropbox, Inc (US)? Depending on your browser, it can be either at the left or right side of the URL bar. When you hover and click on that icon, you will be provided with details about the certificate that will be useful to you.
- The certificate is valid.
Given the preceding criteria, you might think that is all that you need to find on the website. However, like how a fresh-looking milk might have gone bad, you still have to make sure it hasn’t expired yet. To find out whether the certificate is still valid, click on the padlock icon and afterwards, click “View certificates”.
This would prompt you to the Certificate Dialog Box, wherein you can view the details such as the validity of the certificate.
Given that it is still 2016, the certificate is still valid and thus, you can be assured that the information you enter on this site is still secured.
HOW TO SECURE AN SSL CERTIFICATE FOR MY WEBSITE?
What you need to secure first is the type of certificate you might need for your website. Well, there are different types, depending on your need.
There are various authorities that offer particular sort of certificates depending on how your site is configured. Consider the quantity of certificates you might need and which domains you need to secure. Since a site has multiple links, from your blog proper to your landing page, you may have to consider which among these you should secure.
After considering the number and type of certificate, you go forward in assessing the validity of the certification. There are standard SSL certificates which are valid for one to two years. However, if this appears too short for you and you are looking for a longer-term alternative, just dig into other certificates that offer longer validity periods.
BENEFICIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR SEO
There have been many concerns on switching from http:// to https://; however, it has been told that Google has long been urging websites to switch on that as it is safe to do so.
Aside from this encouragement from Google, there are basically a lot of SEO benefits on using the SSL technology that we would not divulge much into. Nevertheless, to give you a glimpse of what those are, we have:
- Privacy and Security
- Preservation of Referrer Data
- Upturn in Rankings
Did you learn a lot from this article? These are all just the basic things you need to know regarding SSL yet are the most useful ones!