Have you ever wondered why some web addresses are different from others? Let’s discuss it with detail.
What is TLS, SSL and HTTPS
Online attacks are increasing day by day and easy to execute. Because of this, businesses around the world are heavily scrutinizing online transactions involving confidential data to ensure that customers are as secure as possible. Websites without proper security are leaving valuable digital assets vulnerable. Hackers can target customers through email phishing campaigns or intercept private information passed along through a site. All it takes is a single breach to devastate a business. If your website is not safe, secure, and reliable, users will likely avoid it.
In a nutshell, the internet can be a rather dangerous place. Over the past few years, Google has taken steps to shed light on this issue and keep everyone on the websafe. Google’s large browser market share means they have a significant influence on how the Internet operates and where it’s going in the future. Visual security indicators are more apparent now than ever to equip consumers with information to decide what companies they trust with their business.
The very first part of every web address indicates whether the site uses Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). In both instances, data is sent between your browser and the website you are on but HTTP websites are generally not considered encrypted or secure. Trust is the foundation of the Internet economy, and to ensure it, you need end-to-end security. HTTPS ensures that ongoing online communication between server and browser is encrypted and secure.
Google also began to use HTTPS as a lightweight ranking signal in the search algorithm. Its algorithm prioritizes websites that used encryption, which, together with a whole variety of metrics, helps to outrank those without.
SSL vs TLS
Here is when Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) come into play. To establish an HTTPS connection, you will have to first purchase an SSL or TLS certificate from a trusted provider. Once the certificate is set up, data will be transmitted by using HTTPS which makes your website less vulnerable to cyber attacks.
SSL ensures secure communication almost the same way TLS does, and the differences between the two protocols are small and rather technical. Despite all the similarities they do differ from each other in some respects. Both protocols provide authentication and encryption when transferring data and work by tying a cryptographic digital key to a website’s identifying information. The Internet Engineering Task Force simply created TSL as the successor of SSL; therefore, nowadays, it is considered the encryption standard, although the term SSL is still widely used.
TLS, or the older SSL, both are technologies for encrypting the link between a web server and a web browser. When a browser accesses a server over HTTPS, a sequence called a “handshake” occurs, which establishes a cypher suite (a set of algorithms) for each communication. For the authentication, they utilize a pair of keys (a public key and private key, created together as a pair) that manage the connections. Public keys are encryption tools that use one-way encryption, while the original sender can “sign” data with a private key to secure it.
When you add a certificate to a website, you are encrypting sensitive information, which can include transaction and bank information, credit card information, usernames, passwords, contact information, or anything else being passed between a user and your site. With it, you safeguard your business and your customers’ information by making sure that any data transferred between parties remains impossible to read by hackers.
There are a few visual indicators that indicate a secure website. In addition to displaying your web address as HTTPS, all browsers will show the following trusted visuals cues:
- Padlock / green browser bar
- Company name
- Trusted site seal
Many browsers trigger security warnings when a user attempts to enter a site with an unsecured connection. Google Chrome, for example, flags all non-encrypted websites as unsafe and even displays a Non Secure warning to deter customers from visiting them. The goal is to have your website served to as many people as possible and to give customers a great experience as intended.
TYPES OF CERTIFICATES
Every website should have an SSL or TLS certificate, but there are a variety of certification options that differ in type, price, and level of validation. Any certificate will prevent browser warnings from driving traffic away from their sites, however, a website that deals with particularly sensitive information, such as an e-commerce site, requires a certificate that indicates a security standard with visual SSL indicators. When choosing the best SSL / TLS certificate, two aspects should be considered; validation level and functionality.
- Domain Validated (DV): requires proof of control over the domain. DV is a good, fairly easy option for small sites that don’t collect personal data.
- Organization Validated (OV): requires light business authentication, which results in verified business information being listed in the certificate details. It is a good option for Enterprise environments and intranets.
- Extended Validation (EV): because a trusted certificate authority has fully vetted your organization, browsers will give your website special treatment, displaying your organization’s name in the address bar.
- Single-Domain (SD): can be installed on a single domain and is available at all three validation levels.
- Multi-Domain (MD): can encrypt up to 250 domains with a single certificate.
- Wildcard (WC): can secure a single domain and all accompanying first-level sub-domains, but is only available in DV and OV.
- Multi-Domain Wildcards (MDWC): can encrypt up to 250 domains, plus any accompanying sub-domains, but is only available in DV or OV.
There are free and cost-effective SSL solutions which satisfy the bare minimum requirements, but if you want your company to rise above the basic industry standards, as well as offer more security for your website and gain confidence in your brand, you should invest in the right certificate for your needs. 101domain offers a buyer’s guide that goes over everything you need to know to decide on your ideal certificate type.
Since security certification is a dynamic and constantly evolving aspect of web security, it is essential to do your homework before you purchase just any SSL / TLS certificate.
This is all for today and if you have any question regarding this post, you can comment down below and ask me. I am looking forward to hearing from you.