SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and TLS stands for Transport Layer Security.
SSL is a standard for securely connecting a server and a client. This enables sensitive data like credit card information, social security numbers etc to travel over the network in encrypted manner.
TLS is the successor of SSL. It provides better security then SSL. It supports wider varity of hash functions and cipher suites.
What are SSL/TLS certificates?
SSL/TLS Certificates certifies the ownership of a organization. It binds the encryption key with the organization details. A trusted certifying authoriry verifies the ownership and assures users that their data is in safe hands. Some of the popular certifying authorities are Verisign, Thawte, Comodo and GoDaddy.
What is a self signed certificate?
A self signed certificate, as the name suggests, is a certificate which is singed by yourself. This means that standard browsers and applications will not trust the certificate. However, generating a self signed certificate is quick and it is an excellant solution for development and testing purposes.
Where do I buy a certificate signed by a certified authority? Where do I but certificate for production use?
Several certifying authorities sell the certiifcate directly from their websites. We generally recommend people to compare and buy a certificate from SSL Store.