The term SSL (short for ‘secure socket layer’) describes a technique for encrypting and authenticating data traffic on the internet. With regard to websites, the transfer between the browser and webserver is secured. Especially when it comes to e-commerce, where confidential and sensitive information is routinely transferred between different parties, using an SSL certificate or a TLS (‘transport layer security’) is simply unavoidable.
Here are some examples of types of sensitive data that should be protected with SSL encryption:
- Registration data: names, addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers
- Login data: e-mail addresses and passwords
- Payment information: credit card numbers, bank details
- Data entry forms
- Customer documents
Using SSL helps keep communication safe from those looking to snoop into or manipulate personal data.
HTTPS (‘hypertext transport protocol secure’) is the protocol used for secure data transfer, whereas HTTP refers to the non-secured variant. With HTTP websites, all transferred data can potentially be read or changed by attackers, and users can never really be certain whether their credit card data has been sent to the intended online vendor or a hacker. HTTPS, or SSL, encrypts HTTP data and verifies the authenticity of requests. This process takes place via the SSL certificate or the more sophisticated TLS certificate. Most experts agree that TLS should be used in place of SSL.
The advantages of using SSL/TLS and HTTPS at a glance:
- Data protection and security for customers and partners
- Minimized risk of data theft and abuse of personal information
- Positive ranking factor on Google
- Enables use of HTTP/2 for improved website performance
- Certificates are easy for users to recognize and help to build trust