What is a Site Seal?

Security is an important part of our online world because it is so difficult to track down hackers and stop people from obtaining private information. The purpose behind a site seal -- otherwise known as an SSL certificate -- is to generate a secure connection between the user's browser and the web server that hosts the website. All data that is passed through this link will be kept private and secure from prying eyes, adding an extra layer of security to the website for the benefit of the user and the host. SSL has been used by literally millions of websites to establish security for customers and users.

Creating An SSL Certificate

In order for your website to be secure using an SSL connection, you need to obtain an SSL certificate. When you decide to create this connection, you have to submit some data that will include basic information and legal documents about the website and your company. This will allow your web server to create two separate cryptographic keys. One of these will be a private key, and the other will be a public key.

Public and Private Keys: What You Need to Know

The public key is not something that is kept secret, as it contains the public information about your website and company. It will be placed on a Certificate Signing Request -- CSR -- that will hold all of this information. During the SSL certification process, this information will be validated to make sure that it is accurate before issuing it to you. The private key will be matched to the certificate on your web server. After this is completed, your website will be able to establish the encrypted connection between the user's browser and the host's web server.

SSL and the User

Your customer has no idea how complex the SSL certificate is, but instead they are provided with a little locked symbol that will indicate that they are on a secure website. If they click on the lock, they will be able to view all the public information from your certificate so that they can get details about the company and website. SSL certificates are offered to companies and individuals that prove their information is legitimate and that their services require a secure connection.

SSL Certificate Information

Since an SSL certificate requires very specific information, you may wonder exactly what will you will need to present in order to obtain a certificate. The following will always be necessary for the process:

  • Domain Name

  • Company Name

  • Company Street Address

  • Company City

  • Company State

  • Company Country

Your website's certificate will also hold an expiration date. SSL certificates have an expiration date to make sure that the host constantly re-validates their information. Sometimes companies move, and other times they just need to change a little bit of information. This forces companies to keep their certificate updated with all relevant information. If the certificate is expired or fails one of the tests proving its validity conducted by the browser, a warning will be displayed to the user that tells them that they are not connected on a secure SSL encrypted connection.

Conclusion

Hopefully this has shown you what an SSL connection is, and perhaps you should consider getting one for your own website. It makes your website appear more official and helps build confidence in your customers. Many people are hesitant to enter their personal information or credit card number on the Internet because there are so many scams going on. They have very good reasons to think that your website could be a hoax, but that little lock symbol in the upper right-hand corner will gain some of their trust.

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