SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is an encryption technology that scrambles/encodes a message so that only the recipient can unscramble the data. It provides you with a safe way to transmit sensitive information across the Internet. It creates a secure channel between your website and your customer, by encrypting the data prior to it being transmitted, thereby ensuring that it remains private. The information being transmitted may include credit card numbers or personal details, but whatever its nature, your customer will be reassured to see the symbol.
To the right, you will see the logo from our issuing Certificate Authority. Please note that this is not an indication of whether the particular page that you are viewing has been encrypted using SSL, simply that the site itself has been issued with a certificate, enabling it to serve selected pages using SSL.
When you are operating over a secure connection, you should see either a padlock, or a gold key, depending on the browser you are using. The symbol can usually be found at either the top of your screen, the lower left corner, or the right hand corner. If you see a padlock, the image will be either locked or unlocked. If the padlock is locked, or , your link is secure and the information you are sending is safe. If the padlock is absent or unlocked , your link is NOT secure and the information you send is unprotected. If you see a key, it will appear to be either broken , or whole . A whole key means that your link is secure. A broken key means that your link is NOT secure.
For Internet Explorer browsers, the padlock is not a reliable indicator of whether the pages and their information are encrypted with SSL as it may remain unlocked (or even invisible) in certain circumstances, even though the pages are actually encrypted. To check SSL encryption status without relying on the padlock :-
- Right-click on the page and select Properties.
- Click on Certificates.
- If the page is not encrypted, you will see a message 'This type of document does not have a security certificate.' If it is encrypted, you will be shown the certificate properties.
As an example, click the following link to open a window to a secure (SSL encrypted) page.
Click the following link to do the same, but with an insecure (not SSL encrypted) page.