Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Web Hosting
There are a growing number of people and companies conducting business online, and among their chief concerns is how to make customers feel comfortable and secure when ordering and paying for products and services online. That’s where SSL or Secure Sockets Layer comes in.
What is SSL?
It is a protocol, developed by Netscape, to manage the security of data transmissions over the Internet, and is commonly-used to secure most web-based online purchases and monetary transactions. Although originally developed by Netscape, both the Navigator and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer support it, and has become the de facto standard before evolving into Transport Layer Security (TLS). By convention, URLs that require an SSL connection start with https: instead of the usual http:.
Using public key encryption and digital certificates, it provides data encryption, server authentication, message integrity, and optional client authentication for TCP/IP connection.
SSL supports a variety of cryptographic algorithms or ciphers for authenticating the server, the client to each other, transmitting certificates and establishing session keys. There are nine types but the most commonly used cipher suites use the RSA key exchange. It is a key-exchange algorithm for SSL based on the RSA** algorithm.
There are two main types SSL connections, 40-bit and 128-bit, referring to the length of the session key generated by every encrypted transaction. The longer the key, the more difficult it is to break the encryption code, hence many banks require 128-bit encryption for online banking.
The latest version of SSL is SSL 3.0.
The following sites offer more information about SSL and how it works: