Learn to get an SSL Certificate and Implement HTTPS to your Website in 10 Minutes (Part 1 of 2)
It has been around three months (26 July) since Google announced that, with the release of Chrome 68, web pages starting with HTTP would be marked as “Not Secure.” This nudge undoubtedly drove the web towards encryption and migration approaches to switch their sites and pages to HTTPS by default. At the same time, many of the digital marketing companies are concerned whether they would lose their visitors and if there would be any downright consequences if their websites lacked that extra ‘S’ or SSL certificates. Well, there certainly are, and that’s too more than one, including:
a) Users are less likely to interact with unencrypted HTTP sites or trust their content, thereby significantly impacting relationships with your clientele.
b) Most search engines only support the HTTPS protocol over the HTTP.
c) This very latest protocol will also be leveraged as a ranking signal.
d) The missing ‘S’ in HTTP indicates that the transmitted data is not secure or encrypted, which means hackers or cyber criminals can steal or intercept any of your critical information such as login, financial, or business details.
While taking into account these above-stated reasons, making your mind up to choose HTTPS over HTTP has become a no-brainer. Besides, there are plenty of other whys and wherefores such as website performance, security, and integrity that show the substantial importance of the HTTPS protocol to your business. Here, we have written the most extensive, detailed guide to help you implement HTTPS on your website, explain its key benefits, and also elucidate various website security certificates. So without further ado, let’s get down to encryption!
Firstly, how does HTTPS secure your Website?
At present, many vague recommendations are getting spread around by less tech-savvy users regarding this entire concept, causing many uncertainties concerning the use of this security protocol. In the context of websites or pages, the extra ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for security, which is accountable to protect the integrity and authenticity of bi-directional data (exchanged information between two endpoints or networks) by establishing an encryption connection. The process of encrypting communications takes over SSL or TLS protocol that uses an asymmetric Public Key infrastructure (PKI) system comprising a key pair – a public key and a private key. Any real-time data encoded with the private key can only be decrypted with the public key and vice-versa.
SSL is an abbreviation for Secure Sockets Layer and a cryptographic technology that successfully encrypts a connection as well as requests and responses between a client and a server. TLS, on a side note, is a successor of SSL and serves the same purpose. But it comes with more improved and advanced technologies that provide unparalleled protection and performance solutions by employing numerous resilient encryption algorithms and innovative security features. For this reason, TLS has utterly surpassed the SSL protocol and is quickly being adopted by an array of security-minded Content Delivery Network, web hosting, and digital marking companies.
How Secure exactly are SSL/TLS Protocols?
Both SSL and TLS protocols are as robust and safe as Fort Knox. Many people often think that HTTP refers to as a secure protocol, and this is all they need to protect their website. As a matter of verity, the security of your site doesn’t only depend on this sole protocol but on various factors that might not be necessarily allied to the application protocol itself. Even after being HTTP compliant, your website may still be vulnerable to one or more coercive attacks of the following:
✓ SSL/TLS vulnerabilities
✓ Brute force
These all terms are protocol vulnerabilities that enable the exploitation of your sensitive data to attackers through websites and browsers. In this manner, cyber criminals and uncertified third-parties will have unrestricted access to your passwords, credit or debit card details, personal information, business secrets, and other real-world data.
Obtaining an SSL/TLS certificate from authorized, trustworthy personnel and setting read-only file permissions on them will immediately prevent unauthorized parties to access your servers and configure files. In addition to that, it will also put a stop to all suspicious and fraudulent activities, keeping the criminals at bay. The TLS/SSL session uses a cipher suite, a complete collection of multiple specific algorithms, including key, authentication, bulk encryption, and Message Authentication Code (MAC), needed to establish a secure, encrypted network pairing by mutually agreeing on how to interact with each other over a connection.
There are 3 groups of cipher suites:
a) Modern compatibility
b) Intermediate compatibility
c) Old backward compatibility
Another important thing that you must know is that the TLS protocol is used to encode connections between not only web and mail servers or clients or servers, but also smartphones and manufacture servers.
What are Different Types of TLS/SSL Certificates?
a) A domain-validated or low assurance
b) An organization-validated or high assurance
c) An EV certificate or extended validation
How to get an SSL/TLS certificate from your website?
To prevent users from accessing your website and all subdomains over HTTP, an insecure connection, all you need to do is to acquire a valid SSL certificate, i.e., an X.509 from a trustworthy Certificate Authority (CA) organization. This certificate comes in the form of bundle comprising public key files and some metadata about the entities with respect to the keys.
This certificate is conveniently set out in a bundle comprising key files and some metadata about the entities related to the keys. One can easily obtain it by submitting a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) for approval from the CA. To get their form filled and approved, applicants will need to provide the organization with accurate information about their company and domain as proof of identity. Once the CA organization authenticate the info given by applicants, they will usually receive their SSL certificate compressed in a ZIP archive via email.
You can easily find out numerous CAs out there that offer an SSL certificate with the highest encryption strength and also help you implement it. Symantec, Let’s Encrypt, GoDaddy, Comodo, GlobalSign, Cloud Flare GeoTrust, WoSign, and DigiCert – just to name a few. However, depending on your business needs and what server-side infrastructure you have, a certificate can cost you some significant amount of money or be entirely free.
That’s all for now. In the next part, we will provide you with more insightful information about which certificate will be perfect for your business, how you can easily switch from HTTP to HTTPS, as well as benefits of using HTTPS protocol, so stay tuned for that!