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SSL Certificates

  • What is an SSL certificate?
  • How do I purchase an SSL certificate?

If you have a website, you must have heard about SSL certificates. But what is an SSL certificate and how does it protect your website? 

Here, we will take a look at what an SSL certificate is and how it can protect your site. We will also look at how you can purchase and install an SSL certificate for your website. 

What is an SSL certificate? 

So, what exactly is an SSL certificate? Well, that can get complicated. In short, it is a certificate issued by a Certificate Authority that verifies the ownership of a domain. This certificate is then used to encrypt data sent between the website server and the end user or visitor to a website. This ensures that any personal information (email addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, etc.) cannot be intercepted by hackers and thieves. SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, is a cryptographic protocol that is used to encrypt data. It does this by using a public/private key pair. 

Browsers are configured to accept servers that are both secured with SSL certificates, or without. This is done by connecting on different ports. Browsers use port 80 for unencrypted websites, and port 443 for SSL protected sites. It is common practice for sites that are SSL protected to redirect all website traffic to the secure port. 

The way you can tell if the site you are visiting is protected with SSL is by looking at the address bar. 

If a site is protected with SSL, then the website address will start with  https:// 

Most browsers will also display a “Lock” icon if the site is SSL protected. Clicking on the Lock will typically show you details about the SSL certificate. 

If a site is not protected with SSL, most browsers will warn you that the site is “Insecure” or “Not Secure”. There should also be a “Lock” icon with a line crossed through it. 

You may also see that the address starts with http:// or it may not show anything but the domain name. 

How does it work? 

There are a few terms that we need to explain first, before looking into SSL certificates: 

  • SSL certificate 
    • this is a digital certificate that is used to verify the identity of a web server; 
    • used to encrypt data transferred between web servers and end users 
  • Certificate Authority 
    • an organization the issues SSL certificates and verifies the ownership of domain names; 
    • a certificate authority will “sign” a certificate that is has verified the domain owner 
  • Host 
    • this is the server on which the target website exists 
  • Client 
    • the end user, or the browser used to visit the site 
  • Private/Public key pair 
    • this is a system that is commonly used with encryption protocols 
    • the private key is kept on the host server and is never shared 
    • the public key is transferred to clients to be used with encryption tasks 
      • both the public and the private key can be used to either encrypt or decrypt data; for example, data encrypted with the private key can be decrypted by the public key, and vice versa 

 

While this can get quite technical, this is a summary of what happens when you connect to a secure server: 

  1. The Client will contact the Host and request the certificate. 
  2. The Host will present the certificate that is signed by a Certificate Authority to be verified by the Client. It also sends the Public Key to the browser. 
  3. If the Client accepts the certificate, the Host will now generate a random number and encrypt it using the Private Key and send it to the Client. 
  4. Both the Host and Client will use this random number to generate a key to be used for the encryption and decryption for the session. 

Now, any traffic between the Host and Client will be encrypted. If anyone was try to intercept the communication between host and client, they would only see encrypted data. 

How do I purchase an SSL certificate? 

While you can purchase an SSL from several suppliers, the easiest way to secure your site is by purchasing an SSL from your Deluxe Hosting client area or here. 

If you do not know how to access your client area, you can find out here. 

Deluxe Client Area

Once you are logged into your Client area, click on the Order New Services link in the shortcuts menu on the left-hand side. Alternatively, click on Services in the top menu bar and select Order New Services. Now select Hosting Addon’s in the Products menu on the left-hand side of the screen. 

Hosting Addons

You will now see the different options available for your hosting services. You can find more information on Email Defense here. 

SSL Certificate 

  • an SSL certificate that will protect one domain or subdomain only 
  • for example, this certificate would protect example.com, as well as www.example.com, but not blog.example.com 
  • these certificates renew annually 
  • this SSL is works for most cases 

SSL Wildcard Certificate 

  • this SSL certificate will cover the main domain as well as any subdomains; 

for example, this certificate will cover example.com, as well as any subdomain of this domain (mail.example.com, blog.example.com), but not www.blog.example.com 

  • these certificates also renew annually 
  • if you have several subdomains that you use with your services, a Wildcard SSL will likely be better for you 

Once you make your selection, click on the Order Now to create your order. You will need to enter the domain that you are purchasing the certificate for (enter the domain and TLD only, not the www, for example, example.com). 

Once you enter your domain name, click Continue to complete the check-out process. 

Once you complete the order, and process your payment, your SSL will be installed. You may receive an email requesting information for the SSL installation. Once we receive the information, we will install the certificate and advise you once completed. 

 

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