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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

Notes on SSL enabling a website

Though implementing it requires complexity, risks, and costs it can mean increased security, better referral data (whenever traffic passes from a secure HTTPS site to a non-secure HTTP site, the referral data gets stripped away but if traffic passes to an HTTPS site, the secure referral information is preserved whether it originates from a site using HTTP or HTTPS), and a possible boost in rankingsMake the switch to HTTPS if doing so is reasonable for your business.

Google has announced they would reward sites using HTTPS encryption (though its not a major ranking factor) with a boost in search results.

According to statistics from BuiltWith, 1.9% for the top million sites and 4.2% of the top 10,000 websites redirect users to SSL/HTTPS by default.

An SSL certificate confirms the identity of the domain name that is operating the web site, encrypts all information between the server and the visitor and ensures the integrity of the transmitted information.

To use HTTPS on the web today, you need to obtain a certificate file that's signed by a company that browsers trust. Once you have it, you tell your web server where it is, where your associated private key is, and open up port 443 for business.

There are a variety of SSL certificates whose cost (StartSSL offers basic certificates to individuals for free) varies according to functionality:
- Domain Validated (DV) SSL CertificatesWhen issuing a Domain Validated SSL Certificate, the certificate authority (CA) checks only that the applicant's name and contact information matches the registration information in the WHOIS database for the domain name associated with the applied for SSL Certificate. Because CAs aren't required to validate the legitimacy of the applicant's business, Domain Validated SSL Certificates are a good choice for businesses where customers will not be transmitting sensitive data or are less concerned about website security issues like identity assurance. 

Organizationally Validated (OV) SSL CertificatesThis certificate assures the validity of a Web site by verifying that the applicant is a legitimate business. Before issuing the SSL certificate, the CA performs a rigorous validation procedure, including checking the applicant's business credentials (such as the Articles of Incorporation) and verifying the accuracy of its physical and Web addresses. An Organizationally Validated SSL Certificate is an excellent website security option for any business conducting online transactions and accepting sensitive data, such as credit-card numbers, from customers. OV certificates conform to the X.509 RFC standards

Extended Validation SSL CertificatesExtended Validation SSL Certificates are the first SSL Certificates to adhere to industry-wide certification guidelines established by leading Web browser vendors and Certificate Authorities, including Network Solutions. The Certificate application process itself is more thorough and the validation criteria more rigorous for EV certification, whose applicants, at least initially, are limited to certain types of business entities and government agencies. Among the new features of EV SSL Certificates is the color-coding of the Web browser's address bar to signal secure connections. The browser navigation window turns green to indicate an authentically validated site with an Extended Validation SSL Certificate, full website security, and encryption in place, and turns red when it encounters a known phishing or otherwise untrustworthy site. 

EV certificates triggers a visible Green Bar on modern browsers to distinguish the secured site apart from others. EV Green Bar cannot not be triggered by DV or OV certificates

Visitors viewing details of the certificate will find more information about the organization than a DV or OV certificate:

It is not possible to get a wildcard Extended Validation Certificate.

Network Solutions and Symantec are two among many providers of SSL Certificates.


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