Secure Socket Layer : It is the standard technology for creating an encrypted link between a web server and a browser that makes sure that the data passed between the web server and browser has remained private and protected. It was developed and released by Netscape in 1996 as a technology for security management. It is commonly used protocol for managing the security of the message transmission on internet. It is transparent protocol which requires little interaction from end user when creating a secure session. It is included as a part of both Microsoft and Netscape browsers as well as in most of the browsers. The “Sockets” part of the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) refers to sockets method of passing data between server and the browser or between the program layers in a same computer. In order to create a SSL connection a web server needs a SSL certification.

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What is SSL Certificate?

A SSL Certificate is a way by which the web servers prove their identity to the web browsers, allowing a secure site to communicate privately with the browsers through http protocol. It is digitally signed by a certificate authority that most of the web browsers trust, there are many certification authorities including government agencies . A company can purchase a SSL certificate for its web server from certificate authorities which verify the company’s identity. It inspires trust as each certificate contains identification details and the browser can share the details and it would be private and secure. It is also a bit of coding on web server to provide security for online communication.

Why is it essential and important?

Most of the people wonder as what is the need to use SSL. For people who own sites or customer who wants to make banking or any private transaction it is very important. If you are not using SSL the data transmitted or submitted is not encrypted and if the data reaches the  wrong hands it will create a problem. In order to be on safe side by using SSL data is encrypted and the information is safe.

How can you get a SSL Certificate?

For a SSL certificate first you need to create a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) on your server which creates a private key. Then the CSR should be sent to SSL certificate issuer also called as Certificate Authority or CA. CA will use CSR data files to create a public key that pairs with your private key, the CA will never see private key. After receiving the certificate, install it in your server. Also install intermediate certificates that create credibility for your SSL certificate by tying it with CA’s root certificate. Instructions for installing and testing your certificate will be different based on your server. The certificate contains organization’s identity details, time of validation of the certificate and the name of the CA that issued the certificate.

A browser trusts the certificates and comes out with a list of reputed CAs. The certificate issued by CA verifies that the organization’s identity is genuine. As the browser trusts the CA and the CA certifies your organization, automatically the browser will trust the organization. Then the browser lets know he user that the website is secure and the user will be safe and can share the personal details.

How does it work?                                                

When a user requests for a website through a browser, the browser and the server create a connection through a process called “SSL Handshake”. This is not visible to the user and happens instantly. Mainly three keys are involved in setting up a SSL connection. They are a private key, a public key and a session key. The data encrypted by public key is decrypted by private key and vice-versa.

As the process of encrypting and decrypting the data using public and private keys takes a lot of processing power and time, these are only used at the time of SSL Handshaking to make an SSL connection and create a session key. Once the session key is created  all the transmitting data is encrypted using this session key.

The process goes in five simple steps:

  1. A Browser connects to a web server and requests the web server to identify itself.
  2. SSL sends a soft copy of its SSL certificate to the browser.
  3. Browser checks the certificate and looks if the certificate issued by a CA is in the list of its trusted CAs which it already has and also checks if the certificate unexpired, unrevoked and has a common name that is asked for. If all the details are valid then it creates, encrypts a session key and sends it back to the server through server’s public key.
  4. Server decrypts the session key using its private key and sends back an acknowledgment encrypted using a session key to start the encrypted session.
  5. Now both the server and the browser transmit the encrypted data through symmetric session key.

Types of SSL Certificates

There are many types of SSL certificates. You need to know about the features of all the certificates before purchasing it. Different types of certificates are:

Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate: This type of certificate is designed to prevent phishing attacks. It takes few days to few weeks of time to receive this certificate but provides very high assurance. Before issuing this certificate the CA checks applicant’s right to use of the domain and also conducts thorough vetting of the organization. It verifies legal, physical and operational existence of the organization or the domain. Also it checks the identity matches with the organizations official records. If all these are satisfied then the EV Certificate is issued.

EV SSL Certificates are available for all kinds of businesses, may be a government or non-government organizations. A set of guidelines called EV Audit Guidelines must be followed before issuing EV SSL Certificates. The audits are repeated for yearly.

Organization Validation (OV) SSL Certificate: Before issuing this kind of certificate the CA checks applicant’s right to use of the domain and also conducts vetting for the organization. This certificate displays the owner of the domain, its validation and the name of the CA that issued this certificate. This is provides a good assurance to the browsers.

Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificates: This is a low assurance SSL Certificate. It only displays the domain name but not the owner or the organization details. But authorities can easily know to whom the domain belongs to using “WHOIS”. These certificates are issued instantly and cheaper than others but provide low assurance to the customers.

Wildcard Certificate: This certificate can secure all the sub-domains under a domain name. For example if you have a wildcard certificate for *.domain.com then it secures www.domain.com, mail.domain.com etc. It will secure all the sub-domains with wildcard symbol (*).

SGC SSL Certificate: These certificates enable old browsers to connect to site using 128 bit encryption even the normal browsers have 40 bit. These cost significantly and are issued by only few vendors as there are strong arguments against SGC SSL Certificates.

Root Certificate and Chain or Intermediate Certificate: CA issues certificates in the form of tree structure. The highest is the root certificate that is, it is most trusted certificate. Certificate which is signed by the trusted root certificate is trusted. All the certificates below the root certificate inherit trustworthiness from the root.

The certificate that links your organization’s certificate with the root certificate is called Chain certificate or Intermediate Certificate. These certificates must be installed in your server so that the browsers can link your certificate to a trusted authority.

Scalable SSL Certificate: Most of the certificate authorities now are issuing this certificate. Here the encryptions can be varied from lowest 40 bit to higher rate depending upon what the browsers and servers support.

Advantages:

There are many advantages of using SSL Certificate:

  1. Server Authentication: The certificates protect your website. All the information of your site is stored in a server, using SSL digital certificates all your and customers information is protected.
  2. Private Communication: Your transaction conversations will be private and the SSL certificates encrypt any data that is transmitted, hence the customers feel safer and secure about their data.
  3.  Customer Confidence: The main reason for which you would opt a SSL certificate is customer’s confidence. As the data will be encrypted the customers will feel that their information is safe and have confidence and faith in your site and feel free to share information.

 

Disadvantages:

Over so many advantages SSL also has disadvantages. They are

  1. Cost: This is the main disadvantage as cost for a certificate is really high.
  2. Performance: As the transmitting data is encrypted, more time is consumed and hjence it decreases the performance of the site.

With so many benefits the disadvantages can be overlooked. It is very much needed to use SSL Certificates especially if you are sharing personal information on sites. If your site is with SSL certificates, customers will trust your site and can share personal information.

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Redirect is a way to lead users and search engines to another url rather than actually which is requested for, this is usually done when the data is moved or the pages are expired. Redirect option is also present in email clients, it is similar to forward option. If you get a mail from [email protected] and your mail id is [email protected] and you redirect the same mail to another email id then the email received will have from address like this:

From:  [email protected] (by way of “your name” <[email protected]>)

Types of Redirect:

There are five types of redirects:

1. 301 Permanent Redirect:

This communicates that the document  at this address has permanently moved and hence the references to old address should be deleted and updated to new address. It also maintains search engine ranks.

USE:

  • If you want to delete a page then use 301 to forward the user to a logical location.
  • Even if you want to make a particular part of a document unavailable in favor of other, you can use 301 former to latter.

2. 302 Found(Temporary Redirect):          

This communicates that the document is temporarily moved. This means the old url can be brought back in future. This does not transfer any of the SEO juice and value of the original page.

USE:

  • If you want to test a page for client feedback then use 302.
  • If your site or page is under maintenance then 302 can be used.

3. 303 See Other:

To avoid book markings and refreshing pages  that have only one time data entry such as bill payments. This indicates that the information is received from you form by POST method and to avoid data accidents ,you can check the response by looking at the next url which shows the information using GET method. It also indicates that the resource has been replaced.

USE:

  • It is used by the web developers for credit card payments and  other payments .

4. 307 Temporary Redirect:

This is similar to 303, the difference is without changing the information submitted from one technique to another, it is submitted in the same technique used.

USE:

  • It is used by web developers.

5.  308 Permanent Redirect:

This is same as 307 but it is permanent redirect. You cannot  use the previous url again.

USE:

  • It is used by web developers.

Most useful and important redirects:

301 and 302 are most widely used redirects. They are defined by their server status.

For Example:

  • 301: “Moved 301 the data requested is assigned to new url permanently”.
  • 302: “Found 302 the data requested resides under different url however the redirection may be altered on occasion”.

There is also another type of redirection called Meta Refresh which is also used to a range.

Meta Refresh:

This is a browser based redirect. It is associated with pages that refresh after few seconds. These are mostly used at the payment gateways and should not be used unless there is a specific reason like this.

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Linux Operating System:

It is an operating system assembled under the model of open source software development and mostly used for server purpose. It supports a dozen of programming languages like C,C++,JAVA,PHP and many more.

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Advantages:

  • Low cost: You need not spend much money to obtain license as its softwares come from GNU General Public License. You can also download high quality software whenever you want, free of cost and you need not worry that your program may stop due to trail version. You can also install it in  many computers without paying.
  • Performance: Linux provides high performance on workstations and on networks. It also helps in making old computers  sufficient and usable again and also can handle many users at a time.
  • Stability: You don’t have to reboot periodically to maintain performance. It can handle large number of users and does not hang up or slow down due to memory issues. Continuous up time upto a year or so is common.
  • Flexibility: It is used for high performance applications, desktop applications and embedded applications. You can save disk space by installing components required for a particular use. You can restrict specific computers instead of all computers.
  • Security: The security aspect of the linux is very strong as it is very secure and it is less prominent to viruses, even if there is an attack there would be immediate step taken by the developers all over the world to resolve it.
  • Choice: Choice is one of the greatest advantage of Linux. It gives the power to control every aspect of the operating system. Main features that you have control is look and feel of desktop by Windows Manager and  kernel.

Disadvantages:

  • Understanding: To become familiar with Linux you need to have a lot of patience and desire to read and explore about it.
  • Software: Linux has a limited selection of available softwares.
  • Ease: Even though Linux has improved a lot in ease of use but windows is much easier.
  • Hardware: Linux doesnot support many hardware devices.

Windows Operating System:

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      It is family of operating system from Microsoft. If programming languages such as Visual Basic.net, ASP.net, Visual C#, Visual C++ are used then it is better to opt windows hosting.

Advantages:

  • Ease: Microsoft Windows has made much advancement and changes which made it easy to use the operating system. Even though it is not the easiest, it is easier than linux.
  • Software: Since there are more number of Microsoft users there are more software programs, games and utilities for windows. All most all games are compatible to windows, some CPU intensive and graphic intensive games are also supported.
  • Hardware: All hardware manufacturers will support Microsoft windows. Due to large number of Microsoft users and broader driver, all the hardware devices are supported.
  • Front Page Extension: When using a popular web design program having windows hosting makes it lot more easier. You don’t have to worry if it supported or not.
  • Development: If you plan to develop windows based applications then windows platform is most suggested as linux does not support windows applications.

 

Disadvantage:

  • Price: Microsoft windows is costly compared to Linux as each license costs between $50.00-$100.00.
  • Security: When compared to linux it is much more prone to viruses and other attacks.
  • Reliability: It needs to be rebooted periodically else there is a possibility of hang up of the system.
  • Software Cost: Even though the windows have softwares,games for free most of the programs will cost more than $200.

Conclusion: Both Windows and Linux Hosting have advantages and disadvantages. Based on your requirements you need to opt which hosting suits better.

The most important point that should be looked into while starting a website is hosting platform and resource requirement. It is very important, which kind of hosting you opt for the website. There are different kinds of hosting plans with different features; you should choose the one which is much suitable for the website. Hosting can be on Shared environment / VPS environment.

Shared Hosting:

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Shared hosting is nothing but multiple websites of different customers are hosted on a server. If you have started a business and you are expecting minimum number of visitors then this is a better option. Also if you are thinking about the expenditure or if you have a limited investment for hosting then shared hosting is preferable as it is most economical.

Benefits of Shared Hosting:

  • It is a very good option, if you have limited number of blogs and small websites as it is easy to maintain.
  • It is economical.
  • Technical maintenance is not required.

Drawbacks of Shared Hosting:

  • It has of limited resources.
  • Resources allocated to the server are shared among all the websites.
  • There is a slight chance of your website getting affected, if any other site hosted on the same server has some malicious content. This can happen only if server doesn’t hold required security software.
  • If your website require any specific application or specific files then it may not be possible, as you need to go with resources allocated.

VPS Hosting:

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Virtual Private Server Hosting is like customizing accordingly as per your conditions/requirements. Companies, who are working on multiple websites or the applications they hold require high/dedicated server resources and with limited budget, would go for VPS service. If the website is dealing with high security content and planning to host multiple blogs or sites then VPS Hosting is preferable. Also, if business is expanding and expecting a huge traffic for the website over some time then VPS Hosting can be opted.

Benefits of VPS Hosting:

  • Can opt for required space and bandwidth as per your requirement; and the resources opted are not shared with other customers websites/applications.
  • You can manage the VPS server, installed applications and services on your own.
  • As per your requirement, you can install and manage any third party applications.
  • You can have the backup at any point of time.

Drawbacks of VPS Hosting:

  • You need to have technical knowledge to manage the server and the installed applications.
  • Unlike shared hosting, cost is bit higher.

When should you upgrade Shared Hosting to VPS Hosting?

You can choose to upgrade from shared hosting to VPS hosting under following reasons:

  • If you wish to expand your business.
  • Planning to host more blogs and sites.
  • If you wish to have the whole control of the site and the server.
  • If you want dedicated resources allocated for your website or applications, but cannot afford the expense of your own server.

Conclusion: If your website is small and hosts limited number of blogs then shared hosting is advisable. But if you want a high security, good performance then VPS Hosting is advisable.

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User friendly website is nothing but a website which is accessible, easy and comfortable for a user to operate. The main reason for making a website user friendly is it helps in increasing traffic for your website, which in turn leads to improvement of your site ranking. Making a website attractive is not enough to attract the people if the usability is not good then the visitor will return and go to your competitor’s site. Just visiting and leaving the site in few seconds, this kind of traffic is no good use. So making a website user friendly is very important as your website is the face of your business especially if it is an online product purchasing company.

Is your website user-friendly? Here are the 6 simple points to make your site better and user-friendly.

Loading Time:

This is one of the most important points because in this busy world no one has time or patience to wait for a page to load if it is taking more than 4-5 seconds. If your website takes time to load the visitor will not wait for the page to load and will never visit again, instead he will move to another site which loads faster that is to your competitors site. The flashes and pictures in the site may be more attractive but they lead in loading the page slow, so try to make a simple website with less number of pictures and avoiding unnecessary HTML codes. Using a proper valid HTML and CSS is also very important to load webpage fast.

 Readability:

This is an important point that should not be overlooked. The font size and color, paragraph is important as it should be readable for the person comfortably even from a little distance away from the screen, the font color should be contrast for background color and paragraphs should be clear and distinguish properly. And also the content of the article should be scan able. When a user visits a website they will not have patience to read the whole content from top to bottom, they just go through the content and check for key points to see if it of their use. Hence highlighting key points, using different font sizes and colors make the content readable and comfortable for the user.

 Simple Navigation:

Navigation plays a vital role in the website. It is always recommended to use simple words like “Home”, “About”, “Blog” and the user should be indicated where he will be taken. There should always be a facility to go back to home easily wherever the user is. It should also indicate where the user is, usually websites indicate by highlighting the button through which they are in that page. There should always be search functionality because if there are many articles the user cant scroll all n search for it. So, by using search functionality it makes easy for the user to search for what he needs. If there are many options for a product it is a very good practice to use a drop down of the options. An important thing to remember is always use simple words and keep navigation simple and easy.

Accessibility:

When making a website make sure that your website is accessible in all the browsers, mobile and screens of all sizes. It should also be accessible for disables like elderly people, blinds and physically handicapped as these people usually use screen readers which interpret what is written on the screen.

Mobile Compatibility:

Since these days all the browsing of websites is done using mobiles, it is very important to make your website mobile compatible. This can be done using responsive web design, which is nothing but your website is designed such a way that it fits exactly to the screen of any size giving whole view of the website. Many site now are using responsive web designs as it helps in increasing traffic due to increase in percentage of users browsing in mobiles.

Error Handling:

Proper error handling at the time of coding keeps the website bug free.  Also  while coding for an online application make sure you give proper error messages, even if the user while filling the form makes some error it should be clearly shown on the screen where the user has gone wrong. This makes website user friendly.