Public Trust & Certificates

What is SSL?

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and its successor, TLS (Transport Layer Security), are protocols for establishing authenticated and encrypted machine-to-machine communications (i.e., servers on a network, laptops to webpages, mobile phones messaging each other, etc.). SSL certificates are made up of a key pair: a public and private key, which work together to establish an encrypted connection. The certificate also contains the subject name, which is the identity of the certificate/website owner.

What is TLS?

TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. It is the protocol that succeeded the now-deprecated Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Functionally, IT professionals use the TLS protocol in the form of digital certificates, which is the standard method for securing machine-to-machine communications. The most common use of TLS certificates is in securing web pages (both public and private) and is the only way a site can enable HTTPS.

TLS encryption also helps identify website owners and authenticates their identities. In addition, TLS secures your logins, passwords, credit card information, etc. while in transit so the data can’t be intercepted or altered. TLS 1.2 was first used in July 2015 after SSL 3.0 was deemed insecure and deprecated by the Internet Engineering Task Force RFC 7568.

We sometimes refer to our security certificates as SSL because it is a more commonly used term, but when you are buying SSL from DigiCert you are buying the most up to date TLS certificates with the option of ECC, RSA or DSA encryption.


What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and is used to secure bidirectional communication between two or more machines. Web browsers show that a site has active HTTPS by displaying a padlock icon in the address bar. This padlock signals to users that information exchange with the site is encrypted and secure, and that the domain or organization hosting the site has been authenticated. The use of HTTPS protects digital communication against eavesdropping and tampering, such as man-in-the-middle attacks. HTTPS is an extension of HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and is secured using TLS (Transport Layer Security). HTTPS Everywhere is an initiative to make the internet safer by making HTTPS the default security setting for all websites.


What is SSL, TLS and HTTPS?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and, in short, it's the standard technology for keeping an internet connection secure and safeguarding any sensitive data that is being sent between two systems, preventing criminals from reading and modifying any information transferred, including potential personal details. The two systems can be a server and a client (for example, a shopping website and browser) or server to server (for example, an application with personal identifiable information or with payroll information).

It does this by making sure that any data transferred between users and sites, or between two systems remain impossible to read. It uses encryption algorithms to scramble data in transit, preventing hackers from reading it as it is sent over the connection. This information could be anything sensitive or personal which can include credit card numbers and other financial information, names and addresses.

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is just an updated, more secure, version of SSL. We still refer to our security certificates as SSL because it is a more commonly used term, but when you are buying SSL from DigiCert you are actually buying the most up to date TLS certificates with the option of ECC, RSA or DSA encryption.

HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) appears in the URL when a website is secured by a TLS/SSL certificate. Web browsers show that a site has active HTTPS by displaying a padlock icon in the address bar. This padlock signals to users that information exchange with the site is encrypted and secure, and that the domain or organization hosting the site has been authenticated.


What is managed TLS/SSL?

Managed TLS/SSL is offered as a professional service by DigiCert and includes help installing your TLS/SSL certificates and setting up automation, certificate discovery, training on TLS best practices and a TLS health check scan to ensure your network is fully protected and secure.

Additionally, at DigiCert our customers can self-manage their TLS/SSL certificates inside our award-winning console DigiCert CertCentral®. For larger enterprises with hundreds—or thousands—of certificates we offer DigiCert CertCentral Enterprise.