SSL stands for secure sockets layer, and is the standard means of exchanging encrypted data across the Web.
The most common use of SSL is for securing credit card data. If youíve ever bought something on the Internet and used a credit card to pay for it, then you were ( hopefully ) using SSL to complete the transaction. When SSL is being used, the browsers address bar will change from ďhttp:Ē to ďhttps:Ē Many browsers use icons to indicate that the site is secure, for example a closed padlock.
SSL works by the use of encryption keys. When a browser requests a
secure connection, it will send a list of supported ciphers. The server
will choose the strongest cipher available, and return this to the
browser. The server will then send a digital certificate. This
certificate contains the name of the server, the name of the certificate
authority and a public encryption key.
The browser will then generate a random number with the public encryption key, and return this to the server. The server will decode this using its private key Ė since the server is the only one with this private key; this is what ensures the security of the transaction. The server and browser can then establish a secure connection, and private information can then be exchanged.
Luckily, all of this is totally transparent to anyone wishing to make a purchase on the Internet. All modern browsers support SSL transaction, and all the user has to do is input the information being requested by the web site he is visiting.
The question of whether you need SSL capabilities on your web site will depend on the type of site you are planning. For a personal web page you will probably not need to offer this. However, if you are planning an e-commerce site then you must have some way of securing your customersí data.
In order to offer SSL transactions you will need to offer a digital certificate. To obtain a digital certificate of your own you will need to get this from a certificate company or a web hosting company like 1uhost.com who will sell them to you as an addon product to your hosting account.
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The other requirement for offering SSL transactions is that you will need to have a static IP address for your web site. Many of the web hosting plans that are available only offer variable IP addresses Ė this means that your site is sharing its IP address with many other sites. Unfortunately in order to offer SSL functionality on your site you will need a static IP address. If your choice of web host canít supply a static IP address then you will need to look for one that can such as 1uhost.com
You can expect to pay a premium over the regular monthly/yearly fees in order to get a private static IP address, but if you purchase an SSL certificate from 1uhost.com you will get the static IP address included in the price of the SSL certificate.