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What is ssl security certificate

what is ssl security certificate

CloudFlare one-click SSL

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This secure link ensures that all data transferred remains private. It’s also called TLS (Transport Layer Security). Millions of websites use SSL encryption everyday to secure connections and keep their customer’s data safe from monitoring and tampering.

SSL is visible to users in several ways in the website address bar:

  • A lock icon in the browser bar
  • The website address starting with https://


SSL is one of the most widely reviewed and adopted security tools on the Internet today. It is essential to keeping the Internet safe and secure.

Why websites use SSL

An increasing number of websites adopt SSL for various reasons:

  • Security: ensure that no one is intercepting web traffic
  • Trust: by displaying a green lock image, the website increases visitors’ trust
  • Search ranking boost: Google ranks sites that have SSL higher in search results
  • Regulatory compliance: financial institutions and web stores that work with credit cards must comply with regulations and adopt SSL on their websites

CloudFlare makes SSL easy

SSL can be difficult for website administrators to set up. Configuring SSL requires going to a Certificate Authority (CA) to verify your identity and authenticity of your website, installing the certificate on your server, and constantly keeping it up-to-date. CloudFlare makes enabling SSL one-click easy. You don’t have to worry about getting a certificate yourself, installing it on your server, or keeping it renewed — we take care of all that.

For sites that require more advanced SSL configurations, CloudFlare supports custom certificates from any certificate authority, full end-to-end SSL with robust certificate checking, and even Keyless SSL which lets sites use CloudFlare without giving up custody of their private keys.

CloudFlare makes SSL fast, easy, and secure for any organization and reduce the friction SSL adds to the security and performance of Layer 7 applications.

CloudFlare helped reddit implement SSL overnight to their millions of users. Read our case study to learn more.

Introducing Universal SSL

CloudFlare is on a mission to build a better Internet. One of the ways we’re achieving this is by bringing the tools of the Internet giants to everyone. Today, in an effort called Universal SSL, we’re enabling SSL by default for all our customers that are signed up directly for CloudFlare— even those on our Free plan.


as much web traffic as possible to prevent data theft and other tampering is a critical step toward building a safer, better Internet. We’re proud to be the first Internet performance and security company to offer SSL protection at no cost.

The SSL for Free plan customers is completely compatible with all other CloudFlare performance and security features. Free plan SSL service will utilize Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) certificates from Comodo or GlobalSign. These certificates will cover both your root domain and first-level subdomains through the use of a wildcard. It may take up to 24 hours to activate. SSL for Free plan users works with these modern browsers which support Server Name Indication (SNI):

Desktop Browsers

  • Internet Explorer 7 and later
  • Firefox 2
  • Opera 8 with TLS 1.1 enabled
  • Google Chrome:
    • Supported on Vista and later by default
    • OS X 10.5.7 in Chrome Version 5.0.342.0 and later
  • Safari 2.1 and later (requires OS X 10.5.6 and later or Windows Vista and later)

Mobile Browsers

  • Mobile Safari for iOS 4.0
  • Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and later
  • Windows Phone 7

Note: If you need more compatibility with older browsers, such as Windows XP SP2 and Android <3.0, please use the SSL on our Pro, Business, or Enterprise plans.

If you have further questions please see our FAQ .

Universal SSL is one of many new SSL features to come from CloudFlare.

CloudFlare SSL options

Flexible SSL:

There is an encrypted connection between your site visitors and CloudFlare, but not from CloudFlare to your server.

  • You do not need an SSL certificate on your server.
  • Visitors will see the SSL lock icon in their browser.

Full SSL:

Encrypts the connection between your site visitors and CloudFlare, and from CloudFlare to your server.

  • You will need to have an SSL certificate on your server. However, CloudFlare will not attempt to validate the certificate (certificates may be self-signed).
  • Visitors will see the SSL lock icon in their browser.

Full SSL (strict):

Encrypts the connection between your site visitors and CloudFlare, and from CloudFlare to your server.

  • You will need to have a valid SSL certificate installed on your server, and the certificate must be signed by a trusted certificate authority and have not expired.
  • Visitors will see the SSL lock icon in their browser.

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