Guide to SSL Certificate Web Hosting

The main function of SSL certificate is to encrypt data transferred between a website user’s web browser and the web server hosting the website. It is especially important for websites that collect personal data, credit card data or other sensitive data to use SSL certificates. This helps to protect the confidentiality of the data. This article provides a guide to SSL certificate web hosting.

A SSL certificate is usually issued by a recognized Certificate Authority (CA). A browser e.g. Mozilla Firefox maintains a list of trusted certificate authorities. When a user visits a website using a SSL certificate, the browser can check if the certificate is issued by a CA in the list and if the certificate is valid. It would then make a secure connection with the web server.

Please note that even if a website is using a valid SSL certificate, this website may not be the website you want to visit. The website may even be a phishing site trying to steal your username and password. It is important for a website user to check the identity of organization running the website.

With Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate, a certificate authority would perform rigorous checks on the organization applying for the certificate. These checks are based on international standard of extended validation. The certificate authority would only issue the EV SSL certificate if the organization passes the checks. A modern high security browser e.g. Mozilla Firefox 3.5 would recognize the Extended Validation and display a green address bar with the organization name. This allows a website user to confirm the identity of the organization running the website.

If you want to use a SSL certificate for your website, you must first select the SSL certificate which suits your needs. The choice largely depends on the nature of your business and budget. You would then need to order a SSL certificate and provide the certificate authority with the information they need. The certificate authority would perform certain checks before issuing the SSL certificate.

After you have received the SSL certificate, you would need to install it to your website. You shall need a dedicated IP address from your web hosting company. It is a technical requirement to have a dedicated IP address for a SSL certificate to function. In general, the web hosting company would help you with the certificate installation.

Now you are running a website with SSL certificate which secures data communications. It does not mean that your website users’ data are safe. You must make sure such data are stored securely and devise sound security measures e.g. using strong passwords, changing passwords regularly. You must make sure that the data can only be accessed by authorized personnel and they do not take the data to insecure locations e.g. a USB drive. The point is that while using a SSL certificate is necessary for protecting users’ data, it is not the only part in data security.

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