How to encrypt your website


Whether you’ve just created your website or made several over the years, there is always time to start thinking about website security. There are so many elements to website security, from firewalls to anti-virus software, but today we’re going to talk about the Secure Certificate every website needs – an SSL certificate.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate you can install on your server to encrypt the connection to your website and anyone connecting to it through their web browser. If you weren’t already aware, encryption helps keep any information sent over this connection private. The exact process of this is pretty complicated, but the short version is when a website and server connect, they go through a process known as the SSL handshake. Once both sides have validated and authenticated the other, both end up with a specific key. When data is sent from the browser, it “locks” it with its key, scrambling it so that it’s unreadable to anyone without it. When the browser receives the data, it unlocks it with its key, so it becomes readable again.
These steps ensure that user information is kept safe and secure.

But is an SSL certificate essential?

Yes, yes, it is, for many reasons. First on the list is customer and user trust. Internet users are a savvy bunch these days. If they’re visiting a new or unfamiliar site, they’re likely to exercise caution before proceeding, mainly if it’s an e-commerce site. One of the signs of safety they’re likely to look for is the trusty padlock symbol in the address bar that all SSL-secured websites have. Not only does this show that a website is encrypted, but users can also click on the padlock to read details about the person or company that purchased the SSL, providing more peace of mind about the website’s legitimacy.
Beyond wanting customers to trust you, it’s also become an expectation from most major web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox. These web browsers require a website to have an SSL before they load it. If a website doesn’t have an SSL, any user trying to access it from one of these web browsers will hit a wall. Or a warning stating that your site might not be secure and that they should proceed cautiously. Would many users move after a sign like that? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

The takeaway

Website encryption is essential for everyone, from website owners to users to web browsers. While it may not appear like a big deal, SSL certificates play a vital role in making the World Wide Web more secure.
Designers and developers can use several other encryption methods — the algorithms or ciphers employed in scrambling data. To encrypt data, you require a key to alter it. You could use a symmetric encryption key, a randomly generated personal legend that the sender transmits to the receiver. Or you could employ an asymmetric encryption key that operates a public key to encrypt the data or news and a private key to decode the message.
Which methods should you employ in coding and designing? That will rely on the sensitivity of the data being sent or stored, the data file’s size, how the data will be shipped (email, FTP), and the encryption standards your receiver picks.

Encryption examples: When do you use it?

There are several encryption points to comprehend when it’s best to use.
AES, or the Advanced Encryption Standard, is one of the world’s most famous file encryption methods. It’s a symmetric block cipher that protects sensitive data shared in closed systems and held in large databases. It is also a good option for emailing sensitive information, like your new product catalog and price list, or sending a large ZIP file via email.
Open PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy, employs a symmetric legend to encrypt and an asymmetric key to decrypt data. The private keys can also verify the sender’s authenticity, which adds an additional layer of protection when sharing information across open networks. Open PGP is a good choice when sharing sensitive information like payroll deposit data with your financial institution.

SFTP, or Secure File Transfer Protocol, communicates over a secure connection and uses public key encryption and password authentication. SFTP encryption is typically used in server-to-server file transfers, such as information exchanged with healthcare providers.
FTPS, or file transfer protocol fast, uses two data connections. A public key encrypts the data; a general key certificate provides authenticity, and private key decrypts the data. Legal, government, and financial services entities depend on the security of transferring files via FTPS.
Secure Mail utilizes asymmetric encryption. It covers personally identifiable information in an email, such as proprietary business data or personal information like an account number.

About the author

Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


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