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How to Install an SSL Certificate

Jul 26, 2008
The most commonly accepted technology for encrypting data is the Secured Socket Layer, more often known as an "SSL certificate". This widely used product offers security for your customers and yourself when applied on web sites. Without this encryption the packets of information that travel between business and customer would be at risk to a breach of confidentiality. The Secured Socket Layers provide tight security of all data transferred from browser to web host. This third party service is issued by a certificate authority to identify both sender and receiver on each end of a transaction.

Websites are hosted mostly with the objective of business. E-commerce sites like that of E-bay, Amazon.com, Dell etc, involve exchange of confidential information through internet. Other sites like, Paypal which is a payment gateway, involve payments through credit cards. Customers use their PIN numbers and other confidential information for such online payments. If encryption was not there, for all these confidential information, then such data would have been extracted by miscreants resulting into severe damages.

Although there is no such thing as absolute protection, and hackers will do everything to find a way in, SSL technology works diligently to provide maximum protection. This vital piece of technology will restrict hacking to a great degree. SSL security is used by many e-commerce sites that collect vital customer data every day. When using a website to make a purchase, customers know to look for the 'HTTPS://" as a signal that the site they are using is secure. Most customers will shy away from a site where this is not seen.

The benefits that a properly installed SSL certificate can provide are many. Just a few examples of these are:

* Increased Customer Security and Confidence with SSL certification:

The web host you choose targets your requirements exactly. You as the website owner select the customers looking for your products and use that website to exchange the necessary information with security and confidentiality. Your webhost will install an SSL certificate using the requirements you outline for your needs. Here are the three signs to look for to see if your site is secure: A padlock in the closed position showing in your browser, the 'https' replacement for 'http' in your URL and the SSL seal on the site. Those hallmarks will alert you and your customers to a site's security for tension free, reliable transactions.

* Provides protection for privileged customer data:

The success of a web host is measured when they are able to install SSL certificates effectively. Encryption technology can be measured in bytes, of which the web host will have a vivid knowledge. If they can implement it, secured data of customer can be shielded, thus building reputation of the website.

* Enable a quick certification

Your webhost can get your certification up online in a short amount of time. They have the personnel and knowledge to understand the complex needs of installing SSL certificates and the resources available to complete the process. If you plan on going it alone and installing your own certificate you need the knowledge to complete the act.

* Helps in meeting regulatory requirements

Web hosts can cater to all types of clientele or website owners right from health care to finance. But there are several company websites that need to abide by government regulations as far as the protection of confidential data is concerned. SSL Certificates help in meeting such regulations like HIPPA or Sarbanes-Oxley etc.

How to be sure you have the right web host for SSL installation:

* Easy to use control panel

Everything you do on your website will go through your control panel. It enables the management of your server. Make sure that you find a host that you feel comfortable with using their interface.

* A good web host will provide a dedicated IP address

Your host must be able to provide you with a dedicated IP address. This is essential for using SSL certificate programs and FTP accounts.

* No hidden charges:

Some web hosts will have hidden charges that may be difficult to find. They don't tell you what the extra charges are until after the installation is finished. If the web host you are considering does not provide clear accurate fee information look in another direction.

* Maximum compatibly with popular browsers:

Be sure the certificate that a web host installs is compatible with a wide variety of browsers. Your customer should be able to use any of the most popular browsers.

* Information on turning on and off

The web host should posses ample knowledge of all the technicalities related to SSL installation. He/she should be able to guide website owners who are ignorant about exactly which pages will have to be encrypted and which will not. SSL provides an option to turn it on when required and off when not in use.

* SSL certificate sharing

Shared SSL certificate is often issued to authentic Web hosts. These web hosts are responsible for installing SSL certificate in the same way as they do with dedicated certificate. However, such secured certificate is linked with each Secure Site Seal that is issued to every domain owners. Such shared SSL certificates enable the top-level domains to encrypt their data. A web host performs all these tasks as they have special expertise.

Installing an SSL certificate

Step 1:

You must have your own dedicated IP address where the SSL certificate will be installed. Your host has the knowledge of how this applies in order to complete the process.

Step 2:

The web host will check to see if a owner has requested the installation of a certificate before installing any programming.

Step 3:

When a web host opens the control panel they look for the 'Install SSL certificate and Setup the Domain, and click on it. A window appears with the wizard to install the certificate.

Step 4:

Using the creation wizard the host will paste the certificate from the SSL Company. Note: The CSR is different.

Step 5:

Once the above is complete a box comes up with a Domain section. This is the domain where the SSL is to be installed. Enter the control panel name in the 'user' field followed with the IP address.

Step 6:

The host they pastes the RSA private key to end the installation process.
About the Author
This article is published with permission from WebHostingMadness.com, a publisher of web hosting company reviews, comparisons and detailed articles about web hosting.
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