An SSL Checker is an online tool that is being used by any individual who wishes to verify the SSL certificate of an existing website. This article will tell you more about SSL, its functionality, and its interaction and relationship with an SSL Checker. You will also know about free-to-use SSL Checkers and some of its options when it comes to reliability, security, and performance.
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What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This security tool was initially created by Netscape, to identify the existence and entity of a website and to protect end-user information such as personal data, credit card information, and other essential details. Its methodology lies on the sending of data from one end to another, where it is encoded to be useless, as hackers steal information during the transport process. In order for a website owner to request for secure data transfer, such as being transported from online forms to servers, the website should have its active certificate in order to use the security protocol to send and receive information via an SSL secure server.
When the first SSL went available in 1995, SSL 2.0 had flaws in its security protocol, which was easily detected by many developers. Thus, SSL 3.0 was created and released to cover such mishaps, and was released in 1996. Due to some challenges, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) was able to create better secure layers via Transport Layer Security (TLS). After its development in 1999, SSL 3.1 was known under TLS 1.0 then SSL 3.2 was released and recognized as TSL 1.1 in 2006. It did not stop there as TSL 1.2 was established, also known as SSL 3.3.
Although both SSL and TLS uses security layers to protect files and information exchange, their process is different in a few ways. While SSL uses pre-generated public and private keys to encrypt data on both sides of the server, TLS only creates a secret key upon the instance of exchanging data and encrypting it shortly after. Both tools use certificates to validate and read site information. For a detailed explanation on how SSL works, here is a particular situation:
- A customer takes interest in buying a mobile phone in an online shopping site.
- As he purchases his mobile phone, he goes to the checkout page.
- Before the checkout page loads, the user’s browser requests for an SSL certificate from the website server.
- The website server presents certificate information to the user’s browser to validate identification entries
- Once validated, the browser’s SSL certificate creates a private key to encode data to be sent to the other server, while the server creates a public key to decode sent information.
- Now that both certificates are synchronized, data is sent upon encryption from the user’s end.
- Web server receives the data and decodes it, seeing data as it is encoded on the online form.
- SSL certificates on both ends are now confirmed of safe information exchange.SSL Certificates are of different types, varying on encryption levels, authentication stringency levels, and reputation of providing Certificate Authorities.
Why is an SSL Checker Necessary?
An SSL Certificate can only be used once it has been installed and loaded on a site server or a browser. As this certificate may encounter errors and problems in the installation process, the SSL Checker confirms what these issues are and registers that the certificate may be missing, invalid, or not trusted. Some of the errors may be noted as one of the following:
- Certificate Name Mismatch Error: This occurs when the SSL certificate of one website was given by mistake to another website. This happens when the certificate’s IP address is correct, but the attempt for connection does not proceed. This also takes place when there is a typographical error on the end of the Certificate Authorities.
- Installation Error: This happens when the installation process of the certificate was never completed or was placed on a different server.
- Loading Error: This concerns both secure and non-secure items whenever the step up from http:// to https:// does not load correctly.
How does an SSL Checker Work?
There are generic SSL Checkers that only look for server information and there are others, such as VeriSign SSL and Thawte that have their own SSL Checkers that confirm installation. It is advised that the checker to be used should come from the same CA that issued the SSL certificate to confirm that everything done, including the validation, is secure. Since SSL Checkers are free tools coming from SSL CAs, there should be no hesitation on the part of the SSL certificate owner in not using a free service to guarantee the working condition of the SSL.
Particular SSL Checkers ask for some details like the domain name of the server, the user’s port number, and a test button to see if everything works. A Java Applet will be used to confirm that the SSL certificate is doing fine.