Installation of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates is a prerequisite for any e-commerce website due to its obligation to provide a secure environment for all transactions. Basically, SSL Cert is an application that encrypts sensitive information like customer details (address), payment information (credit card number etc.). The SSL Certificate verifies the identity of the customer and authenticates all information. All payment information is encrypted with 40-bit to 256-bit encryption and can only be decoded by the SSL secure server having the correct key. Thus installation of a certificate becomes indispensable for all websites wherein buying and selling of goods take place.
Installation of an SSL Certificate may vary depending on the web host, platform or even the company from where the SSL cert was purchased. There are different processes followed for different platforms. There are many e-commerce web hosts who can guide through the process for installing SSL Cert. Even the administrators of the server being used assist you through the installation. A Certificate Signing Request (CSR) is generated by the server which is used to validate the identity of a computer. The CSR contains information like name of the website, address where the website is registered, and the name of the organization. For generating the CSR using Microsoft, one needs to access the Management console present with the IIS. Once the CSR is generated successfully, one can request for the SSL Certificate.
For this, there are many leading banners providing SSL certificates and you need to decide on one company. The company sends the certificate via email, or through a download page. The certificate is then installed on the Web Page which needs to be secured. The installation is done via the Server Certificate option provided with the Directory Security Tab. In order to use the certificate, it is required to enable port 443 on the e-commerce website.
SSL Certificate was developed by Netscape to provide security to all transactions that involve sensitive information. There are different types of certificates providing different levels of encryption and security like:
– Dedicated: Requires unique domain name and are mostly the most expensive certificate.
– Shared: Sharing of certificate across websites is possible.
– Free: The encryption provided is not very secure and hence is avoided by reputable websites.
– Wildcard: Provides security for the main domain along with all the sub-domains.
The three different methods of validation which a SSL provides are: Domain Validation, Organizational Validation and Extended Validation. In short, certificates provide a layer of security which ensures that all financial information is passed in an encrypted format. The growing importance of e-commerce and online transactions has catapulted the importance of SSL Certificates to a much higher level.