Dev

What is an SSL Certificate and how it works? 💻🔐

Even though you might not be familiar with the “SSL” term. For sure all of you have noticed that when you copy & paste an URL link, at the beginning of the URL, you see HTTP or HTTPS. But what are these?

I. What is HTTP? 🌍

The acronym HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the base of the www (World Wide Web) and it is used to load web pages. The HTTP protocol is designed to transfer data between devices connected to a network. A typical data transfer involves a user who makes a request to a server, which then sends a response message.

Now that we all know what HTTP is, let’s find out what does it mean the “S” at the end of HTTP. It is really important to know that not all websites have the HTTPS in their URL. This means that the SSL certificate is not installed on the domain of the website that you are currently visiting.

As an example, let’s take https://www.amazon.com/, we can see the https:// at the beginning of the URL. This means that Amazon does have an SSL certificate installed and that your connection to this website is secured and encrypted. Whatever data you enter is safely shared with the website. The technology behind the “S” is called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).


II. Should all websites have an SSL installed? 🔐✔️

Yes. However, from the user point of view, it is not the end of the world if you land on a website which does not have an SSL certificate installed, as long as you do not enter sensitive data. From the website owner point of the answer is still yes. Because SSL encryption has a range of very important advantages for website owners. Including data protection, customer trust, and better search engine rankings on the internet.

The websites where it is important to see an SSL certificate installed are the eCommerce websites or websites where you must enter sensitive data, like credit card numbers, personal details, etc.

SSL certificates represent a technology, an algorithm that encrypts the data passed from the user to the server and vice-versa. (see photo 1.1)

1.1 How SSL Certificates works

III. You do not have an SSL installed on your domain name? ❌🛑

Hackers might steal your information or the sensitive data of your customers, in case you’re the owner of the website. How does this happen? A “cybersecurity exploiter” or better said a “hacker”, will place a small undetected script on the server. That script will wait in the background until the user will enter his/ her information. Once the website visitor will start typing, the script will activate itself and it will capture the information then send it back to the hacker. 

Google’s search engine algorithm will heavily punish your website if you do not have an SSL installed on your domain. Your website will lose position on Google’s search results in favor of competitors who have already an SSL installed.


IV. Examples of SSL Certificates 😱

1️⃣ Single Domain SSL Certificate (This type of SSL certificate does protect only one domain. You can’t install this type of certificate for other domain names or even subdomains.)

2️⃣ Unified Communications SSL Certificate (This kind of certificate allows multiple domain names to be on the same certificate and it can cover up too 100 domain names.)

3️⃣ Wildcard SSL Certificates (This certificate ensures that if you install a certificate for one domain name, you can use the same certificate on the same certificate for subdomains.)

4️⃣ Domain Validation Certificate (The certificate can be installed on the domain name itself and not on the subdomain. If you are running a small business that can’t afford a higher-level SSL, this one will get the job done.

5️⃣ Organization Validated SSL Certificate (As the name shows, this certificate verifies if your organization and domain are valid and real.

6️⃣ Extended Validation SSL Certificate (This certificate is built for the website owners that must collect sensitive customer details, like credit card infos.)


To have a look at the prices and at the details of each individual SSL certificate, please check SSL Certificates .

Normally each Hosting Provider does offer the option to install this certificate from their Web Hosting Platform, Plesk/ CPanel, etc.

Let’s recap, nowadays with all the cybersecurity attacks, it is really important to have an SSL certificate installed on your domain name. And is also really important to verify first if the website you are landed on has an SSL certificate or not.