SSL Frequently Asked Questions’s FAQs cover a variety of general queries about SSL Certificates, their function, identifying the most appropriate type for your business, how tos, authorities and their functions, and how SSL works.

Should you require more specific information, our Knowledgebase covers all aspects of functionality, features, terminology, etc. Please feel free to submit a request for support on our Open an SSL Support Ticket page, should you be unable to find an answer.

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This prevents data from being tampered with and provides businesses and consumers with assurance that their private data (i.e. credit card numbers etc.) is kept confidential.

An SSL Certificate is required to initialize an SSL session. An SSL session can be identified by seeing a small gold padlock in the browser as well as the address bar beginning with https: as opposed to the standard http: offers you a wide range of world class, cost effective SLL technologies, enabling all sizes of business to secure their eCommerce transactions.

What Does the 'Green Bar' Look Like in Internet Explorer?

The green address bar in Internet Explorer 7+ and field displaying the company’s name and GeoTrust® as the Certificate Authority is a difficult interface feature for a malicious site to imitate.

What Documents Are Required for a True BusinessID + EV?

To qualify for True BusinessID® + EV the company requesting the Certificate must be registered as a corporation, or equivalent, with the appropriate government agency, in its country of jurisdiction. Official government agency records must include the company's registration number, date of registration or incorporation and the registered office, or address.

What is domain control validation?

The SSL issuer sends an email to the domain administrator who is listed with the registrar. If the authorized administrator does not reply, a second email will be sent to another email address registered with the domain such as info@ or support@.

In addition to validation by email, they will request a telephone number where the administrator can be contacted, immediately after submitting their enrolment. If all the information supplied is validated, the SSL certificate will be issued.

What is encryption and why are there different levels?

Encryption is a mathematical process of coding and decoding information. The number of bits (40-bit, 56-bit, 128-bit, 256-bit) represents the size of the key. In a similar vein to a longer password, a larger key has far more possible combinations. When an encrypted session is established, the encryption level is determined by the capability of the web browser, SSL certificate, web server, and the client’s computer operating system.

How to identify if a website is using SSL?

When a browser connects to a secure site it retrieves the site's SSL certificate and checks:
  • that it has not expired,
  • that it has been issued by a Certificate Authority the browser trusts, and
  • that it is being used by the website for which it has been issued.
If it fails on any one of these checks, the browser will display a warning to the end user. If it succeeds, several security indicators that are built into modern browsers, will indicate that SSL is enabled, by one or more of the following:
  • The beginning of the URL or web address changes from http:// to https://
  • A padlock on the browser window changes from open to closed
  • The address bar will turn green and display the name of the website owner when connecting to a website protected by an Extended Validation SSL certificate.
  • In addition, a trust mark / site seal may be added to web pages on a secure site.

What does browser recognition mean?

When a browser, or operating system, encounters an SSL certificate, it checks to ensure that the certificate is valid and trusted - if it is signed by a “trusted” or pre-installed root certificate. If a browser that does not contain the root CA certificate used to issue the SSL certificate, a security warning will display.

What is a certificate signing request, or CSR?

A CSR is a public key that is generate on an user’s server according to their server software instructions. (If you do not have access to your server, your web host or Internet service provider will generate it for you.) The CSR is required during the SSL certificate enrolment process, as it validates the specific information about your web server and business.

To see more information relating to SSL certificates please view our comprehensive knowledgebase

What is a public/private key pair?

SSL uses unique cryptographic key pairs. Each key pair consists of a secret private key and a related public key. Information encrypted with a public key can only be decrypted with the corresponding private key, and vice-versa.

What is a certificate authority (CA)?

A certificate authority, is an entity which issues digital certificates to organizations, or people after validating them. Certification authorities have to keep detailed records of certificate issues and the information used to issue them. They are also audited regularly to ensure that they are following defined procedures.

How many domain names can I secure?

Most SSL server certificates will only secure a single domain name or sub-domain. For example, a certificate could secure or, but usually, not both. The certificate will still work on a different domain name but the web browser will give an error whenever it notes that the address in the address bar does not match the domain name (called a common name) on the certificate.

Should you need to secure multiple sub-domains on a single domain name, you can buy a wildcard certificate. For a wildcard certificate, a common name of * would secure,,, etc...

What is a trust seal?

A trust seal is a logo that can be displayed on a website, and verifies that the website has been validated by a particular certificate provider. It also validates that the websiteis using their SSL certificate to secure the site.

It can be displayed on secure and non-secure pages, although it is most appropriate on pages where customers enter personal information, e.g. shopping cart page. Displaying them on every page of the website, however, does build trust.

Every certificate authority's trust seal is different and some do look more professional than others. Take into consideration the look of a seal, to assist you in maximizing customer trust.

Can I get a refund on my SSL Certificate?

Refunds can be processed on SSL's within 14 days of order, provided the SSL has not yet been configured.