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What is an SSL certificate?

Karl -

For every new instance of one of our apps, we purchase and install an SSL certificate on behalf of the customer.

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is a technology that creates an encrypted connection between the web server where your site is hosted and your visitors' web browser.  This allows for private and sensitive information to be transmitted securely without the worry of third party interference or malicious intervention.

Although all of our apps are built on a very secure software platform which includes its own security, providing an SSL adds another layer of protection and decreases the likelihood of a breach of data.  We also feel it provides added peace of mind to our customers, many of whom are dealing with sensitive information from members of the general public.  

How can I check that a site has an SSL certificate?

Web browsers will indicate the presence of an SSL in different ways, but common approaches are to show a padlock in the address bar or to simply highlight the address bar in green (or sometimes both).

Here's how the latest version of Google Chrome displays an SSL certificate:

Chrome shows a green padlock next to the URL of a site with an SSL certificate

What else does an SSL certificate do?

Aside from adding increased security to a website, some SSL certificates - including those that we provide - also show additional information about the organisation that owns the website domain.  This can be reassuring to visitors as it proves that what they're seeing is indeed controlled by the organisation they are expecting to deal with.

Accessing this information differs from browser to browser, but more often than not clicking on the padlock will bring up the option to see more information held within the certificate.  For example, when using Google Chrome, clicking the padlock on the Citizen Space site will bring up this window:

Chrome shows the verifier of the SSL

Clicking on the Certificate Information link will display the following information:

Information such as the SSL issuer and subject location