Pin Me

How Do SSL Certificates Work? Why You Should Include SSL in Ecommerce Web Design?

written by: Sheila Robinson•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 1/19/2011

As a web designer, it is important to know about SSL certificates. How do SSL certificates work? Read this article to find out more about SSL certificates and why it is important to include them in the design of your ecommerce website.

  • slide 1 of 4

    How Do SSL Certificates Work?

    In order to submit a form online (like a credit application), the browser first needs to request the secure page from a web server. Next, the server sends a public key with the website’s SSL certificate. The browser then verifies that the certificate is valid and issued by a trusted party.

    Once verified, the browser uses a public key to create and encrypt a random symmetric encryption key. This is then sent to the web server with the encrypted form data and https URL. Once received, the web server uses a private key to decrypt the symmetric encryption key. The symmetric key then deciphers the form data and URL.

    The requested online form and data (in HTML form) is then sent back by the web server encrypted with the symmetric key. The browser then deciphers the data and document using the symmetric key and then displays the information to the recipient.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Why should you use SSL in your website?

    computer security and ssl You should add SSL certificates to your websites in the early stages of design if they will be online stores where customers can purchase items. Financial information (like credit cards) and other sensitive information are obtained through online forms. Without SSL, information can easily be intercepted and stolen by individuals who use “packet sniffer” programs that can eavesdrop on your network.

    Unsecure websites can be identified by the “http” in their URL. In general, these types of sites are generally informational in nature and do not have interactive online forms. Reputable secure SSL websites have “https” in their URL, and will have a lock icon located at the bottom right of the page. If you are selling items and have an online form without “https”, you will not gain many customers.

  • slide 3 of 4

    What is SSL?

    SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is cryptographic protocol used to secure data on the web. It utilizes an encrypted link between a browser and a web server. To work properly with a specific secure website, it requires a SSL certificate. These certificates are custom designed by website owners who need to complete a set of questions regarding the identity of their company and website. As a result of this information, two encrypted keys (public and private) are created. When submitting a secure form on the web, the public key will be used to verify the SSL’s certificate (making sure it is valid). Then the secure information is safely transmitted over the web in an encrypted form and deciphered using the private key it at its intended location.

  • slide 4 of 4

    Final Thoughts

    A good understanding of how SSL certificates work is important since sensitive financial information can be compromised and stolen. When creating a secure ecommerce website, it is crucial that it is put into place during the early stages of design for the safety of customers and ecommerce website owners.