SSL Certificates | An Introduction To SSL
This article is an introduction to key SSL concepts. If you plan on installing SSL certificates on your web site, this article provides the background information you need.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) enhances a web site's security by providing two important features: encryption and authentication.
- Encryption means that the data sent between your web site and users is unreadable by others. When a user accesses your site using an SSL connnection (URLs that begin with https://), the web server and web browser exchange encrypted information. Contrast this with unencrypted web transactions, which are transmitted as plaintext and subject to eavesdropping.
- Authentication means visitors can trust that you actually are who you claim to be. When users access your site using an SSL connection, they can be confident that they are seeing your site, and not an impostor's. Whereas encryption helps protect data, authentication helps prove your identity to others.
When users visit an SSL-enabled site, most web browsers display a lock icon (usually in the address bar). To enable SSL for your own web site, you must obtain and install a certificate.
Does my web site need an SSL Certificate?
If your web site handles personal data or any kind of payment-related information, you need an SSL certificate. Additionally, if your web site contains login forms where users log in with a username and password, you should protect their information with SSL. This helps prevent malicious actors from eavesdropping and stealing login credentials.
Most A2 Hosting servers support Server Name Indication (SNI), which means SSL certificates do not require
a dedicated IP address to work correctly. However, to ensure complete compatibility, you should consider purchasing a dedicated IP address. For more information about SNI support at A2 Hosting, please see this article
How do I obtain an SSL certificate?
There are several ways you can obtain an SSL certificate for your web site: