What is SSL?


SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a security protocol that encrypts data transmitted between a user's browser and a web server, ensuring the privacy and integrity of the information exchanged.


Think of SSL as a secure envelope for sending sensitive information through the mail. Just like a sealed envelope protects your letter from being read by others, SSL protects your data from being intercepted and read by unauthorized parties.

In other words

SSL is a security protocol that encrypts and protects data exchanged between a user and a website.

Why is SSL important?

It's one thing to know what SSL is, but that is worthless if you don't know why you should know what a code repository is in the first place. Let's break down the importance of this tech term based on two high-level categories. We'll walk through an explanation as well as provide a score, 1-10, that shows you how much you should care about SSL.

Pre-Product: 6/10

If you do not have a product yet, SSL is still important because it helps establish trust with potential customers and partners. Even if your website is not handling sensitive data, having SSL in place shows that you care about security and privacy, which can be a positive signal when building relationships with other businesses or investors.

Live Product: 6/10

For businesses with a live product, SSL is crucial. It ensures the security and privacy of your customers' data, protecting it from hackers and other malicious actors. Not having SSL in place can result in data breaches, loss of customer trust, and even legal issues. In addition, search engines like Google prioritize websites with SSL, so not having it can negatively impact your search rankings.

Examples of types of SSL

So you know what SSL is, by definition. You know if you should care about it or not depending on your situation as a business/company/product. To dig in deeper, we will walk through some tools and processes so we can make sure you really have a solid grasp on SSL.

SSL Certificates

SSL certificates are digital certificates issued by Certificate Authorities (CAs) that verify the identity of a website and enable SSL encryption. When a user's browser connects to a site with an SSL certificate, it checks the certificate's validity before establishing an encrypted connection. This ensures that the user is connecting to the genuine site and not a fake one created by hackers.


HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is the secure version of HTTP, which is the protocol used for transmitting data over the internet. HTTPS uses SSL to encrypt data exchanged between a user's browser and a website, ensuring that the information remains private and secure. When you see a website URL starting with "https://" and a padlock icon, it means the site is using SSL and your connection is secure.


Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the successor to SSL and is often used interchangeably with SSL. TLS offers improved security features and is the current standard for securing web communications. However, SSL is still widely used as a general term to describe the technology, even though TLS is the actual protocol being used in most cases.

Key Takeaways:

  1. SSL is a security protocol that encrypts and protects data exchanged between a user and a website.
  2. For pre-product businesses, SSL is important for establishing trust and showing a commitment to security and privacy.
  3. For businesses with a live product, SSL is crucial for protecting customer data, maintaining trust, and improving search engine rankings.
  4. Examples of SSL include SSL certificates, HTTPS, and its successor, TLS.
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