Semalt Explains What An SSL Certificate Is And Why It Is Needed

Have you ever noticed the small padlock sign in the address bar when visiting websites on the Internet? And these locks come in different colors. these are a sign that the site has a security certificate installed. 

If it is crossed out and red or not present at all, this is an alarm signal. But let's take everything in order. What is a website security certificate? To understand what an online security certificate is, you need to understand this main thing: if you work with users' personal data, then you are responsible for them.

And if it suddenly happens that this data falls into the hands of intruders, you are responsible for this. So the issue of acquiring a security certificate on the Internet must be approached very responsibly.

So, what is an SSL certificate?

A security certificate or SSL certificate for personal data protection is a way to protect personal data on the Internet.

It is no secret that it is not safe to store personal information on any internet resource. Anyone can steal it and use it for their own purposes. It is to prevent this from happening that site data encryption was invented.

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. In other words, the security SSL certificate is what secures the user's sockets. All information that is on the resource is transmitted over HTTPS, a secure connection or protocol - a set of specific rules that protect personal data.

HTTPS Web protocol 

The HTTPS web protocol is a secure, private channel - an HTTP connection that has three properties:
  • it is reliable;
  • your website's security certificate verifies the authenticity of the information received;
  • it is a private internet connection with an HTTPS protocol, i.e. only one person can use it.
The HTTPS connection protocol uses SSL encryption, which protects users' data.

SSL encryption

A security certificate or SSL certificate is based on SSL encryption. The SSL security certificate is an asymmetric cryptography for verifying the authenticity of the exchange keys used, as well as a cipher to ensure confidentiality. An SSL certificate for a website provides an absolutely secure HTTPS connection.

How does it work?

It works in the following way.

To clearly and precisely show what kind of innovation an SSL certificate is and how it works, let's imagine that you have your own online clothing store. To purchase anything in it, the client needs to create a profile with personal data and enter payment information when making a purchase. 

At the stage when an order is created, and information about it is sent to the server of the owner of the specified site, it can be intercepted by fraudsters. But if you use an SSL certificate, then a secure connection is established between your server and the client's browser, which is called an HTTPS connection over HTML.
  • All data, in particular, the client's card number on a secure HTTPS site, is encrypted into an arbitrary set of characters, which are then sent to your server as a message.
  • This message can only be decrypted using the security key stored on the server. Perhaps the scammers will have time to intercept the information, then they will not be able to decrypt it. Only you can do this. We think it is now clear what a site security certificate is.
There is a legend according to which the very first who began to use encryption was the Roman emperor and commander Gaius Julius Caesar.

He was well aware that it was not safe to pass secret information to the messengers. Then he came up with a special "language": the letter used in his language corresponded to the letter that was to the right of the specified letter in the Roman alphabet.

Thus, no one could recognize what the emperor had in mind in his messages except the emperor himself and the one to whom such a message was intended.

There are several types of Internet security certificates:

  • DV SSL - HTTPS / SSL secure connection, which is suitable for small projects: forums, blogs, personal use sites;
  • OV SSL - ideal for social networks, company websites, travel agencies, an SSL certificate for any online store;
  • EV SSL - suitable for a large online store of a government agency, real estate agency, or car dealer;
  • SAN-SSL (multi-domain certificate) - used for holdings, retail chains, postal organizations
  • WildCard SSL - this electronic security certificate will become a reliable protection for subdomains: multi-pagers, social networks, and more.
So, we have studied in detail what a security certificate is.

Moving on, let's look at an example of how an SSL certificate works

What is an SSL certificate for?

Why is an SSL certificate needed, you ask? And why do you need HTTPS for the site? 

Let's try to answer these questions. Users are known to enter their personal details on many sites. So, if this data is not protected, then unscrupulous persons can easily intercept it.

Personal data includes:
  • passwords and logins;
  • email addresses;
  • phone numbers;
  • social media accounts;
  • bank card numbers;
  • account data;
  • residential addresses and much more.

When is the HTTPS protocol used?

Any information that a user shares on the Internet can become accessible to crooks! It must therefore be protected, which is why an SSL certificate is used.

Important: The danger of an HTTP or open Internet connection is that it is not secure in any way. The advantage of a secure HTTPS connection is precisely the fact that it is protected from any unwanted problems.

How is the HTTPS protocol different from the HTTP one?

The HTTPS protocol is a cipher, and the HTTP is the channel over which this cipher is transmitted.

That, in fact, is the difference. The question of why the HTTP protocol is dangerous is extremely common. It is dangerous because, using this protocol, attackers can steal user data.

When is the HTTPS protocol used?

In any situation where personal data of Internet users are provided that requires reliable protection.

The use of SSL is relevant for any site where users can leave personal data. This is especially true for banks and credit organizations - that is, any companies that have access to people's personal accounts -. Ensuring the security of the site is the main task of those who work with it.

Using HTTPS on the site increases the level of trust among users in a particular organization: they see that the server is protected, which means that their personal information will be stored in safe hands. What HTTPS gives to the site are protection and security, and for the user, this is the most important thing.

Why are insecure websites dangerous?

Perhaps you think it is not necessary to use HTTPS? Unsecured sites are dangerous because they have an open connection, whereby all user data is in the public domain and any unscrupulous person can use it.

So we have answered the question of what an HTTPS connection is and why it is necessary. Well, let's move on.

Does Security Certificate Affect SEO?

Consider whether HTTPS affects the position of the site.

It has long been known that if a site or forum has an SSL certificate and SEO, then it will have an advantage in generating results in search engines.

This was announced in 2014 by Google employees. 

Actually, the idea to make HTTP a ranking factor belongs to this company: they were probably interested in mass-installing SSL security certificates and using SEO.

The security certificate affects SEO, but only slightly. 

The most interesting thing is that it will not be possible to calculate the exact weight of this factor since search engines determine the position of each site on an individual basis.

On Google, sites with a secure connection rank faster, this is a fact proven by the company itself.

Therefore, if you have a security certificate and use Google, you can be sure that your resource will be pulled up in search queries. That is, the indexing of any HTTPS sites in the search engine will be high. 

Speaking of SEO ranking, it is important to be aware of the other factors of Google ranking in order to be sharp. So you will need to do an SEO audit using relevant SEO tools, to detect errors in your site. These errors can also hinder your ranking in the search engine. 

I advise you to use the Dedicated SEO Dashboard tool to do your audit, detect the problems to correct them afterward, and make your ranking easier.

How to check the security certificate

Any user can easily check whether a site is protected by a security certificate. Authentication using the HTTPS protocol will take only a few minutes.

To view the SSL certificate data on Google, you need to do the following:
  1. In the Chrome menu, open "Developer Tools".
  2. In this tab, select "Additional tools".
  3. Click "Security".
  4. Click "View Certificate".
This will open a window with details about the installed security certificate. Here, you can also see the domain for which the certificate was issued and its validity period, as well as information if the security certificate is not yet valid.


As you can see, you can check the site for HTTPS online.

If you want to check the details of the company that issued the SSL certificate, go to the "Details" tab. It is also possible to check the site for existing HTTPS errors.

Important: there should not be any differences in the information about the company. Checking the site for security is a very important point.

Always carefully check the information about the company, otherwise, your data may fall into the hands of scammers.

Important: checking the site's security certificate will help you protect your personal data from intruders, so do not neglect it.