SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

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This information only pertains to Hurricane Electric's Shared Web Hosting package. There may be different information in our other categories.

Please note: This information applies to our current "Version 3" hosting servers. If you are unsure about the version of the server on which your account resides, or if you need assistance with an older "Version 1" or "Version 2" server, please contact for assistance.

What do SSL and TLS mean?

SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer. TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. They are protocols used for authenticating and encrypting web traffic. For web traffic to be authenticated means that your browser is able to verify the identity of the remote server. For web traffic to be encrypted means that traffic between the server and your browser is scrambled so that it is unintelligible if intercepted.

While people frequently refer to SSL Certificates for authentication, SSL is a deprecated technology and is no longer used. All our servers use TLS.

How do I use SSL/TLS?

All accounts include a secure web directory. Your secure web directory is named:


where accountname is your account name.

In order to use TLS, you will need to either have your own TLS certificate for your site or install a Let's Encrypt certificate. A TLS certificate can be purchased from a third-party certificate authority, such as, GeoTrust, or VeriSign.

We do also support self-signed certificates. However, these certificates will always throw warnings in a web browser and are not recommended.

In either case, the first step is to generate a CSR.

What is a CSR? How do I get one?

The CSR is a Certificate Signing Request. It consists of a block of encoded text that you send to a certificate provider that they use to generate the certificate.

Click on "Manage Secure Certificates" in the account management system to bring up the CSR generator and secure certificate installation tool.

Next, verify all the information, and then click the "generate" button. This will generate the CSR for you in the text box below. It can be copied and pasted like any other text, and saved to a text file or sent in a web form.

How can I install a certificate for my website?

To install a purchased certificate, first generate the CSR and send this to your vendor per their instructions. They will send you two files: one containing the site certificate and one containing a CA (Certificate Authority) Chain, Intermediate Bundle, or something to that effect. Open these in a text editor, such as Notepad or TextEdit. In Step 3 of "Manage Secure Certificates," paste the site certificate in the first box ("Certificate") and the CA Chain in the third box ("CA Chain"), then submit.

To install a free Let's Encrypt certificate, follow the instructions here.

What advantage, if any, is there to a secure page using SSL/TLS?

The page and any response using forms on it are encrypted in transit so that eavesdroppers which may observe raw traffic passing through their networks can't read it. This was originally used only for sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, but is now recommended for all sites. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, will penalize sites that do not have an "https" URL.

An SSL/TLS certificate also serves to validate the page you are visiting as authentic. This helps prevent websites from masquerading as the websites of legitimate businesses by using certain types of attack. It is not a foolproof measure against phishing and other types of fraud, but does help.

My security scan company told me I had to disable TLSv1 on my website! Can you do that?

This isn't something we globally disable at this time. There is still a vast amount of people on old browsers that do not support TLSv1.2 or 1.3, which is unfortunate.

Creation of an .htaccess file in your secure_html directory with the following line should correct this issue:


This will also take care of any warnings your scan company is giving you about low & medium length ciphers.