SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a security protocol that authenticates and creates a secured bridge between the server and the client with strong encryption. However, TLS- a successor is used for better security, and at present, TLS v. 1.3 is now used in SSL certificates.
TLS certificate aka SSL certificate is the same, and SSL protocol is also referred to as a TLS protocol, a successor version of SSL protocol. However, SSLv.3.0 was deprecated earlier due to specific vulnerabilities. TLS 1.3 is defined in RFC 8446. The main object of the TLS certificate is to provide authentication, data integrity, and strong encryption.
SSL certificate is a secure channel through which the data flows from the server to the user’s browser and vice versa. SSL certificate works on public and private keys in which a public key is used to encode the data while the private key is for data decoding. The reason to have an SSL certificate is to save the data from prying eyes that can modify or steal the data.
SSL certificates are divided into main three types, what varies is the vetting and authentication process required to get an SSL certificate. The certificate authority (CA) examines personal and organizational details before issuing a certificate. The issuance time of a certificate may vary based on the validation process.
DV SSL (Domain Validation): Domain Validation is a primary level of vetting process in which the certificate authority checks the right of an applicant to use a domain name. There will be no company information vetted and displayed in a secure site seal. The issuance of a certificate takes a few minutes as only domain rights are to be verified.
OV SSL (Organization Validation): Organization Validation is a step ahead vetting process performed by a certificate authority where a CA not only checks domain ownership rights but also verifies business details. When a customer clicks on a site seal, additional and vetted information is displayed. It enhances the confidence of customers and assures that the site is verified.
EV SSL (Extended Validation): The certificate authority checks domain rights as well thorough verification of business information. The whole vetting process follows standardized EV guidelines mentioned by the CA/Browser forum. The validation process includes below steps:
- Confirmation of the legal, physical, and operational identity of a business.
- Verification of business identity with official government records.
- Verification of domain rights.
- Verify that the business has been authorized to use the EV SSL certificate.
The selection of an SSL certificate depends upon the requirement of domains’ security. For example, a single domain website or blog requires a single-domain SSL, whereas multi-domains need a multi-domain SSL certificate. If the site has numerous subdomains pointing to the main domain, then a wildcard can do a good job.
Ordering an SSL certificate is a few steps process that includes common steps.
- First, select the desired SSL certificate that matches your website’s requirements.
- Second, create a certificate signing request (CSR) on the server on which you want to install the SSL certificate.
- Third, Submit the CSR to the SSL provider and furnish the required details and complete the SSL configuration process.
- Fourth, you need to validate the domain and company with the certificate authority
- Fifth, the certificate sends an email certificate in provided email address
- Sixth, install the received SSL certificate on the server.
The issuance time depends on the type of validation you choose like domain validation takes a few minutes in issuing a certificate. In contrast, organization validation takes up to 3 days, and an Extended validation certificate takes up to 5 days in issuance.
Installation of an SSL certificate depends upon the server type. Each SSL certificate should be installed on the server to work efficiently. Server types you can consider, like cPanel, MS Exchange, Apache, OpenSSL, etc. Each has its guideline, and you need to follow it during installation. You can ask the SSL provider to give an insight into the stepwise installation process.
The Certificate Signing Request (CSR) can be generated on the server, and there are different guidelines to be followed according to different servers like Apache, cPanel, OpenSSL, etc.
In the browser’s address bar, a user needs to check the URL of a website either it starts with HTTP (insecure) or HTTPS (secured). Besides it, there should be a secured padlock at the beginning of a URL in the browser’s address bar. If there is an installed SSL certificate on the server, the URL will start with HTTPS. It shows that the site is secured and safe to pass the information to the website. The data will remain secure traveling between the server and the browser.