Hosting User Manual
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1. What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer protocol) is a standard for transmitting confidential data such as credit card information over the Internet. Most true business sites support this feature to increase security during data transmissions over the Internet. This is the standard minimum security level for an internet business.

SSL works by using a private key and public key to encrypt data before it is transmitted, at the other end the matching key decrypts the transmission. If you are going to transmit sensitive information via a webpage it should be protected. This is done for both you and your customer's safety.

To read more about what is SSL and how it works, go to http://www.modssl.org/docs/2.8/index.html

a. Providers

There are many SSL providers that will provide you with a dedicated SSL certificate for your domain. These providers range in price and popularity depending on the provider. Here are a few of the current providers worth looking into.

Thawte
Go Daddy
Verisign
CAcert
Rapid SSL

b. Shared vs. Dedicated SSL

With a shared SSL certificate you get the benefits of SSL with out the costs that are usually associated with setting up a SSL server. Shared SSL uses a certificate we provide to secure multiple sites. With shared SSL you usually get a secure URL like https://domain.c5.hostexcellence.com/. The c5 would represent the control panel which you are on. You can find this information by clicking on the magnifying glass icon under SSL inside your hosting account control panel.

For dedicated SSL you must purchase your own SSL certificate and have a dedicated IP address to run the SSL server on. Dedicated SSL certificates are not free so they are usually something only used if you were going to process credit card transactions or transmit sensitive information.

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2. Installing an SSL certificate

To install an SSL certificate
  • Click the SSL icon on the control panel.
  • Select the domain for which you wish to install the certificate.



  • You can install a shared SSL certificate or a dedicated SSL certificate. You can't have both shared and dedicated SSL certificates installed.
a. Using our shared SSL certificate

You can use our shared SSL certificate instead of purchasing a certificate of your own. Unlike a regular SSL certificate, it is free and doesn't require a dedicated IP, while still belonging to an equally trusted Certificate Authority.

To use our shared SSL:
  • Click the SSL icon on the control panel.
  • If the icon is currently off then click the button under the shared SSL column to turn it on.
  • The secure certificate would look like this domain.C*.hostexcellence.com.

b. 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 an "unknown certification authority" warning window.

To generate a new temporary SSL private key and certificate, do the following:
  • Click the SSL on your control panel page.
  • Enable the SSL for the requested domain in the list.
  • Click the generate link at the top of the form that appears.



  • Click on generate a temporary SSL certificate and certificate request.



  • Once you have the needed information filled in click on the submit button. This 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.



    NOTE: You must remember to click the submit query link once you have relayed the information to the certificate authority.

    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 or VeriSign.

    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.
c. Acquiring a permanent certificate

There are many providers who can provide a SSL certificate; however for this tutorial we are going to use a free certificate provider, cacert.org.
  • The previously created signing request completed above is submitted to CAcert:



  • CAcert provides the full server key to install:



  • Click the SSL icon from the control panel.



    NOTE: After generating a CSR do not hit the on button because you will have to generate a new key from your provider.
  • Once inside of the control panel you will click on the edit button



    The certificate in this example has only one certificate, this is usually the case with a previously generated certificate request. Some providers will also give you multiple keys such as Go Daddy and Verisign



    Once the certificate file has been pasted correctly select the upload button. This should be the last step. If you have installed your SSL certificate correctly you should see the information issued by your provider:

    NOTE: It can take a few hours for the changes to start working.

    Certificate Viewer:"*.hostexcellence.com"

    *.hostexcellence.com
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