When you are using internet, you are always using a connection to a server. This is usually the server where the website is hosted.

Definition
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents via the Internet. SSL uses a cryptographic system that uses two keys to encrypt data − a public key known to everyone and a private or secret key known only to the recipient of the message

Each time that you load a website in your browser, you load data from that server; whenever you insert data in web forms, you send data to that server.
If the website uses an SSL Certificate, it means that all the information you introduce on that website will be encrypted (secured), and that it can be decrypted only by the server where the certificate is installed.
In other words, the SSL serves as a security branch between your browser and the server of the website.
SSL is recommended for each website that processes or keeps personal information.

How can I see if a website is encrypted via an SSL certificate?

The easiest way to recognize a secured website is by checking the website’s URL (web address). This address will contain an extra “s”: https:// instead of justhttp://. In addition to the extra “s”, you will also see a small lock icon in front of the website’s URL

What types of SSL certificates are available?

  • Domain verification
    This verification is checked by the email associated to the domain name requested and provides the security needed for most applications
  • Organization verification
    This certificate is also checked by email, but additionally requires a phone verification and checks whether the domain name is associated to the correct legal entity (registration number of the company).
  • Extended verification
    In addition to all the aforementioned checks, this type of SSL also requires a verification of an executive of the company. This option is generally recommended for businesses that handle personal medical or banking information.

An SSL Certificate also has other advantages, such as helping to obtain a higher place in search engine results.

The main reason for this is the fact that Google started considering the secure connection in their search result order. SSL is still a lightweight signal compared to high-quality-content and mobile compatibility though. These remain the Google’s main concerns, but this does not mean that SSL can simply be ignored since Google may decide to strengthen the signal in due time.

Here you can read more about Google Ranking

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