User Guide

 

Securing Transferred Data through SSL

 

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SSL (Secure Sockets Layer protocol) is a standard for transmitting confidential data such as credit card numbers over the Internet. Most true business sites support this feature which allows more security in data transmitted over the WWW. This is the standard minimum security level for true business on the Internet. SSL works by using a private key to encrypt data that is transferred over the SSL connection. To read more about what is SSL and how it works, go to http://www.modssl.org/docs/2.8/index.html

You can secure transfer of the confidential data on your site through:

 

Using the Key and Certificate You Already Have

SSL requires a dedicated IP, because name-based hosting does not support data encryption in HTTP requests. To enable SSL, do the following:

  1. Select Domain info in the Domain Settings menu.
  2. Click the Edit icon in the Web Service field.
  3. Enable SSL for the domain in the list.
  4. Agree to charges, if any.
  5. Enter the SSL Server Private Key and SSL Certificate in the boxes that appear:

 

Creating a Temporary Certificate

The only difference between temporary and permanent certificates is that temporary certificates are generated by your control panel, not trusted Certificate Authorities. Thus, when visitors enter your site, they will get the "unknown certification authority" warning window.

To generate a new temporary SSL private key and certificate, do the following:

  1. Select Domain info in the Domain Settings menu.
  2. Click the Edit icon in the Web Service field.
  3. Enable SSL for the domain in the list.
  4. Agree to charges, if any.
  5. Click the link at the top of the form that appears.
  6. On the page that appears, confirm your details by clicking the Submit button:

    These data will be used to generate the certificate. Don't make changes to the data if you are not sure about the purpose of these changes.
  7. Follow instructions that appear at the top of the next page.

    • SSL Certificate Signing request. It includes the details that you submitted on the previous step. Use this request if you want to get a permanent SSL certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority, such as Thawte and VeriSign (see below).
    • SSL Server Private Key. This is the secret key to decrypt messages from your visitors. It must be stored in a secure place where it is inaccessible to others. Don't lose this key, you will need it if you get a permanent certificate.
    • Temporary SSL Certificate. It validates your identity and confirms the public key to assure the visitors that they are communicating with your server, not any other party.

 

Acquiring a Permanent Certificate

To get a permanent certificate, do the following:

  1. Generate a temporary SSL certificate (see above).
  2. Copy the signing request and private key for later use.
  3. Go to Thawte, VeriSign, or any other Certificate Authority and choose to get a new certificate. When requested, enter the signing request that you have saved.
  4. After the permanent SSL Certificate has been generated, save it to a secure location.
  5. Select Domain info in the Domain Settings menu.
  6. Go to the Web Service page and click the Edit icon in the SSL field.
  7. Enter the certificate into the upper box of the form that opens and click Upload:

  8. Now you can use the sertificate jointly with the private key you have saved.

 

Using Your Provider's SSL Certificate (Shared SSL)

If your provider offers a Shared SSL certificate, you can use it instead of purchasing a certificate of your own. Unlike a regular SSL certificate, it costs less, doesn't require a dedicated IP, and belongs to an equally trusted Certificate Authority. The disadvantage of shared SSL is that it can be used only with third level domains.

To secure your site with Shared SSL, do the following:

  1. Select Domain info in the Domain Settings menu.
  2. Click the Edit icon in the Web Service field.
  3. Enable Shared SSL for the domain in the list.
  4. Agree to charges, if any.
  5. If you are using a second level domain (example.com), you will be asked to create a third level domain alias (e.g. domainalias.example.com):

Now the site is available both at the non-secured second level domain name (e.g. http://example.com) and at the secured third level domain alias (e.g. https://example.victor.psoft). Note that Shared SSL certificates work only within one domain level, i.e. for user1.example.com and not for www.user1.example.com. In the example above, the certificate will not work for www.example.victor.psoft, and your visitors will get the warning: "The name on the security certificate does not match the name of the site".

NOTE: When designing your pages set any internal links to images or frames as <a href='https://user.domain.com/images/example.jpg'> or simply <a href='/images/example.jpg'>. If you use the <a href='http://...> link, your visitors will get the message: "The page contains both secure and non-secure items". This isn't much of a problem in terms of security, since visitors may simply choose the "do not display nonsecure items" option, but no graphics will be displayed.

 


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