Ch. 018b Understanding DNS and SSL for your websites

PRESSERO > Pressero Documentation Manual

Web Sites, DNS and HTTPS

When you are first working with Pressero to create sites and make those sites live, you will probably run into concepts like DNS and HTTPS that come into play when managing domains and setting up secure sites for merchant transactions. These concepts are new to most of the users that we work with and we try to make this process as easy to understand as possible, but please open a ticket to support.aleyant.com if you need any assistance with any questions.
 
This article covers general concepts relating to web sites, DNS and https. For specific information related to settings values, setting up payment methods, and secure site credit-card processing, please see the articles below.
Change to the Automatic Certificate System (HTTPS/SSL/TLS) for Pressero
What do I do when I'm ready to "go live" with my Pressero site?

Web Sites

Pressero allows users to create web sites that are hosted live and made available on the web to a browser program by entering the domain adddress URL of the website into the browser address bar. Just like any other website. This might be a Pressero default domain address URL like mysite.myaccount.v6.pressero.com, or it might be a custom domain address URL, such as a subdomain on your own domain name.

DNS (Domain Name System)

Each computer that is connected to the internet, either a single computer or a server, has at least one unique IP number address assigned to it. DNS resolves domain address URLs or domain names to IP number addresses. So DNS functions like a master directory, if you type www.google.com into a browser DNS returns the location of the server that hosts that web site and serves the site back to you in the browser.
 
DNS for a domain name can be hosted with any provider that offers nameserver hosting. Some hosting providers offer domain name registration as well. If you registered a domain name at Godaddy, then that domain name will be hosted on the Godaddy nameservers by default. Any changes that need to be made, such as routing changes to bring up Pressero sites live on addresses on that domain, need to be made at the account that hosts DNS for that domain name.
 
Pressero hosts DNS for many of our clients, but in most cases, our clients will be hosting their domain with their provider. There are many name registrars, and each registrar will have a different interface for administering the DNS settings for a domain. We do have to refer clients to support for their hosting providers for any specific questions regarding those systems.
 

DNS changes for taking sites live

Changes to the DNS records for your domain name will be required for taking a Pressero site live on your custom domain name. You can leave your sites on their temporary domain address URLs on the pressero.com domain for as long as you like, we have many clients that run their sites live from their temporary site addresses. It is not required to have your own domain name for taking a site live, but clients generally prefer to serve their sites this way.
 

Secure certificates and HTTPS

The default communication to a web site is through http, a protocol for interacting with sites and pages hosted on web servers. Any text and information sent over http is not secure, meaning that all of the information is being transmitted in plain text and could be viewable by anyone. This poses a problem when a site requires a secure communication option, such as for transferring credit card details to a merchant service, as in the case with Pressero ecommerce sites.

Secure communication to a website happens over https, a secure version of http that encodes any information being sent between a browser and the web site. Any communication over https is secure, and is not sent as plain text, so it hides the details of any communication between the user at their browser, and the website receiving that information.

Part of the process for enabling secure communication on a website is to have a secure certificate issued and installed for that site. A certificate is a file that is installed on the web server hosting the site, that is issued by a certificate provider such as Geotrust. The certificate has the name of the domain encoded in the details of the certificate. 

So if a user goes to https://www.mysite.com, the browser is going to try to confirm the identity of that site by matching the name to the certificate on the site. The browser program will either indicate that the communication is secure by showing some kind of lock status to the user, often a green lock icon on the browser window. If the connection is not secure, the browser will show an warning or an error.

Related Articles and Questions

SSL Single SSL Certificate versus Wildcard SSL
Why does my entire site run in https when I have a SSL Certificate installed?
Single SSL Certificate, does cover my web address with "www" and without?
How do I display an SSL secure site seal or indicator on my sites
My SSL certificate is not displaying the "green lock" I want in my site URL
Can you install my GoDaddy SSL certificate that I already have?
Can I re-use my existing SSL certificate by redirecting my web traffic to my Pressero store?
Can I use the SSL for just the checkout page and use my domain for the rest of the store?