How does a SSL Certificate work?

Thanks to SSL Certificates you can transmit secure information, encrypting and decrypting the transmitted data between both parties, but, how does a SSL certificate really work?

SSL Certificate behaviour

The operation is completely transparent for the visitor that will acces your website, thanks to the browser, who will already have the necessary information in order to understand the information transmitted using the SSL Certificate installed in the web server he visits.

The real steps are:

  1. The browser accesses the website and checks the certificate in order to ensure that he is connecting to the real site and not to another that could be intercepting the information.

  2. Determines what type of encryption both browser and server can use in order to "understand" each other.

  3. The visitors browser and the web server exchange unique codes they will use when encrypting and decrypting the information they are going to transmit between them.

  4. The browser and web server start using the encryption, from this moment on the padlock (or the green browser bar, depending on the used certificate) appears and the pages and information are transmitted securely.

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