What is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and How it works ??
SSL also used as Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the standard security technology for establishing a secure encrypted link between a web host and a web browser.In simple words in this technology any information going to or from a server gets encrypted automatically which prevents hackers from manipulating any sensitive information.
How it works??
To enable SSL on your website you need to get an SSL certificate.An SSL certificate contains a pair of key called “private key” and “public key”.These keys work together to establish a secure connection between the server and the browser.
To get an SSL certificate you have to create a CSR (Certificate Signing Request) which contains the Public key and other details such as domain name, company name,location, key type (typically RSA),key size etc. Once the SSL certificate is issued you have to install it on your server.
After installing the SSL certificate your site is secured against any kind of data manipulation by hackers while communicating with your server.This can be seen by a new green lock icon in the address bar of the web browser.
How to implement ??
Above discussions may sound a bitconfusing, but don’t worry to implement SSL with your site is very easy. Just follow the below steps
1. Buy the SSL certificate
As discussed above an SSL certificate is like an identity card of your website which typically has a key and when a user access your site through HTTPS it checks for the key and if the key matches the secured connection is established.An SSL certificate is commonly provided by CA(Certification Authority).Many web hosts themselves provide SSL certificates with attractive packages.
2. Generate the CSR
After buying the certificate it is necessary to generate the CSR (Certificate Signing Request) which is typically a form in the control panel of your account on the web host’s website.The form contains fields such as domain name, email, city, state, country etc..In many cases the web hosts themselves do this step.
3. Install the SSL certificate
The last step is to install the generated certificate.Many web hosts provide the interface to install the SSL certificate.
You just need to copy and paste your certificate into the respective fields.
4. Force redirect users to access your website through HTTPS
You have the choice to enable SSL to all pages of your site or only to those pages where sensitive information is being shared such as user details, credit card details etc..
It is recommended to enable SSL to only those pages where it is needed as the encryption and decryption has some time complexity which may hinder the site’s performance.
This can be achieved by simply changing the rewrite rules in the .htaccess file of your web setup or simply using the PHP header function.
NOTE: To get utmost security level a dedicated IP address is recommended.