ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Does SSL Encryption Work?

Updated on April 8, 2009

Secure Socket Layer

Website transactions are a daily occurrence by millions.  Being able to do it safely and securely is a number one priority and the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) does that for us.  SSL works with a combination of programs and encryption/decryption routines existing on the host computer and browser programs such as Internet Explorer.

SSL is important to anyone using the web because during a secure transaction, the information transmitted between the website and the customer needs to be encrypted so others can’t intercept and view that information, particularly things like credit card numbers.  When you order something from a secure website, the address shown will start with https, indicating that the site will protect that information.

How does the SSL process work?  In simple terms, it relies on a three step process. 

The first is to determine a secure connection. 

There are several layers to run through when initiating internet communication, starting with the server or HTTP.  It can also be through the IMAP (mail server) and FTP (file transfer program).  Depending on the next request the user makes it will head to the SSL level, which requires the secure connection before any communication is allowed to the next layer TCP/IP.  It is sort of like knocking on the door to see if you can come in. 

An SSL handshake is initiated in the next step. 

This is what syncs the user and server with the encryption methods and will be used for the transaction.  At this point, the user’s browser will check the information received with the domain it is trying to connect with securely.  If the security certificate information on the site is not matching that domain, then the user is automatically notified.  This can indicate there is a problem with the secure information being passed. 

Providing the security certificate passes, then it is off to the final step, which is completing the handshake – compare it to the secret handshake your fraternity required for entrance. 

The browser creates a “premaster secret” that will be used to encrypt the remainder of the transaction.  There are several types of encryption methods such as DES, DSA, and KEA. 

The string created by the premaster secret will work with the browser and website to create a “master secret string” and use it with the encryption program to encrypt/decrypt the information.  With all this in place, the website and browser will be able to verify the data didn’t change during the transaction.  The website server and browser will essentially talk back and forth for the rest of the transaction in encrypted code. 

SSL authentication is important to the integrity for both ends, the server and the user.  If you are looking to get one for your website, then your web host can assist in generating that request.  They can guide you to the best solution for your site as well as e-commerce information.  There are typically small charges incurred for these services.  It creates a peace of mind for the user to know that their information is secure. 

Encryption Can Also Be Ghetto Stylez


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)