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A Secure Socket Layer server (SSL server) is an Internet server, usually a web server, which has been extended to perform cryptographic functions to enable a secure connection between it and a connecting client, usually a web browser.
This is done through the use of SSL server certificates, which tell the client the identity of the server or website and which trusted certificate authority has issued this certificate. An SSL handshake between the server and the client is then established and a secure connection is made. The SSL server ensures that no user data can ever be taken by a third party, and as such, this server is typically used for e-commerce and protection of financial and customer data over a public network like the Internet.
An SSL server is created by installing or activating the Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security protocol in the server’s settings in its configuration file. Certification authorities which provide security certificates to websites usually also provide the ways to enable these sets of protocols, either by simply copying a bunch of code into the server’s configuration file or by installing special server software that activates the protocols.
After activation/installation of the SSL/TLS protocols, the web server that hosts the website is able to create secure communications with a client. The SSL server can then use separate port numbers for the secure connection or use regular port numbers until the client requests a secure connection.
When both the server and client have agreed to make a secure connection, they initiate a handshaking procedure where they agree on various parameters of the secure connection, such as cipher settings and session-specific data.