What is SSL?
Have you ever visited the internet and noticed before the website you search for, there is written HTTP or https? What exactly is that? Where HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol the https says hypertext transfer protocol secure. That little‘s’ in the end is what SSL is. SSL is the secure sockets layer and in short primarily responsible for keeping your data secure. So the next time you visit any webpage, you might want to ensure that it is https and secured with an SSL layer. The type of data that SSL secures depends on the kind of information that you are entering into that particular website. Sometimes it is your banking details, location, or a handful of personal information.
Speaking of the security of your information, it is just not the power of SSL that makes it secure. Many other things are required, thus making the whole system immune to hacking and keeping your data secure.
Briefly explaining the whole networking is divided into layers. Each layer is assigned a particular work. For example, the data link layer is a part of the networking system that is solely responsible for the transfer of data. Similarly, there stands a transport layer that is responsible for the security of data that is being transferred over the network.
Where SSL can be regarded as a security certificate that is added by the websites to make them more secure, the more enhanced version of SSL is known as the TLS, that is, transport layer security. This version of SSL is primarily responsible for the encryption of data in the transport layer itself so that the data is not leaked into the wrong hands. Whenever you think you are buying the SSL certificates, you are purchasing the TLS certificates, but as they are referred to SSL certificates, everybody goes by the name of SSL only.
Working of SSL/TLS:
Whenever you are online, say, buying something or initiating a payment over the website, the utmost priority for you would be to keep your data secure. Now how does that happen using the SSL certificates?
When a server attempts to connect itself to the web server that is secured with SSL, the communication is initiated. The server asks the webserver to identify itself. The web server then sends a replica of its SSL certificate. The browser then checks whether or not the SSL certificate is authentic. The server sends back an encrypted public key or the certificate. The client checks the certificate and sends an encrypted key back to the server, after which the server decrypts the content and delivers the encrypted key to the client. The client decrypts the content completing what is known as the SSL handshake. If, however, the certificates are not authentic the entire communication fails.
Benefits of having SSL certificates:
• The main reason why SSL is necessary is to keep your data safe and secure. Your data travels from one computer to another before reaching the destination. You surely would not want it to fall into the wrong hands.
• The second main reason to have SSL is that it provides authentication to the website. It is very important to have an authentic SSL certificate and be a valid user. A third party verification is done by the certificate authority to provide you with the authentic SSL certification depending upon the SSL certificate that you chose for the website.
• SSL also improves client trust. A person would only want to go back to a website that ensures his data is being protected at all costs.
• Having an SSL certificate also ensures a better ranking over the google search. As more priority is given to those websites that hold an SSL certificate.
• Also, the SSL certification has been made mandatory in 2018, but some of the websites keep the SSL certificates at bay.
Types of SSL certificates:
Broadly three types of SSL certificates are provided depending on the need of the customer. Let us take a closer look at what all these three are-
Extended Validation ( EV SSL) certificates: Through the extended validation certificate, the certificate authority checks what kind of domain name can be used by a particular client. It goes in and out of an organization’s details to whether they rightfully deserve it or not.
The EV SSL verifies the whole physical existence of an organization. It also verifies whether the details that are entered by the person match the official records or not.
EV SSL certificates can be used by every organization. Be it government, private, funded, non-funded, profitable, or for charity purposes. The certificate authority goes under an audit to check the issuance of these certificates.
1. Organization validated (OV SSL) certificates:
The certificate authority checks the right of the applicant to use a particular domain name and also does some background check of the organization. The critical checks of the website are displayed on the area when somebody clicks on the security seal or the SSL seal. This ensures that a particular website has legitimately acquired the SSL certificate and not faking it around. The organization name is also displayed under the ON section in the security seal to check which organization has the OV SSL.
2. Domain validated SSL (DV SSL) certificates:
Similarly, in domain validated SSL the checking authority has the right to check the right of the applicant if he deserves the domain name. But in the DV SSL, no critical check for the organization is done. No information is displayed anywhere. The information that you pass over the internet is encrypted but there is no guarantee to who is on the other side receiving your information. This is where the DV SSL lacks. The only work of the DV SSL certificate is to ensure if the domain is validated enough or not.
The DV SSL comes with the recognition of that of the OV SSL but the only upper hand in this one is that it does not require the heavy paperwork for the company to be involved. The DV SSL is ideal for low businesses that cannot afford high costs for a security layer but being secure with the data encryption at the same time.
With all these extraordinary features of the SSL, there is one major drawback of the websites that use SSL as we know that the SSL requires both parties to communicate through encrypted handshakes. This process of encryption and decryption of data makes the entire communication process slower. The SSL/TLS server allows the client to choose the type of encryption that is needed to be done to the website. The person visiting that particular website may not even know that he is connected to the server using a lower or less safe version of the SSL. In this case, the data may be enclosed and safe from the attack of the hackers the person receiving the other end of the information may use it negligently.
There is also a high possibility that there might be a decrease in traffic because you have to re-instate your website on Google. The google webmaster tools might not pick up your website if it is not registered again over the internet.
There is a big problem with plugins as well. There are so many internet plugins that may not work on an SSL certified website making it less efficient than the other websites that are present. To make a plugin work, you would have to update it to the highest version or contact the developer directly so that particular errors could also be fixed leading to frustration while working.
Some of the social shared plugins require an unsecured site for working but if it goes onto a website that is SSL/TLS secured, they may cause content errors, popups, and degradation of data. In this case, the SSL layer works against you in every possible way and may also damage the website reputation and a sharp decline in the traffic. Therefore it makes it necessary to resolve this issue as soon as possible.
The SSL is not very cost-efficient. If you want to make your website more secure, well it isn’t going to be free of charge. There is a huge capital involved in setting up the conditions that are required for an organization to prove its identity. It may be easy for the profitable ones to recover the cost that is being spent in getting an SSL certificate, but for the websites that are not much of a profit organization, this could be a big toll on their pockets.
Everything does have advantages but bring a few drawbacks too. These were for SSL/TLS certificates. Things are forgiven when a user is made believed that their data is safe and secure. There is nothing pretty much that anyone would look for if they are promised to keep their data in safe hands. But that gives you no right to disregard the things that could have been better without an SSL certificate. Whatever you choose, do it wisely.