What is SSL Termination? | One-Stop Guide

Web admins now understand the value of SSL certificates, so most web pages run on the HTTPS protocol. This is a praiseworthy trend as much as internet security is concerned. The SSL certificate plays a vital role in establishing secure connections between web application servers and end-user browsers. It thus conceals data and sensitive information to make it indecipherable and unreachable by unintended parties. Website owners are advised to buy an SSL certificate to enhance the security of their websites. There are cheap SSL certificate options from reputable brands such as ClickSSL, which they can leverage. This article tells you What is SSL termination.SSL termination

The SSL certificate works through encryption to achieve its security objective. This refers to the process where raw text data is converted into a ciphertext. The encrypted data can only be decrypted by a valid recipient bearing the correct decryption key. But decryption also takes a considerable amount of computational data. It means the more the server needs to decrypt the encrypted pages, the heavier the burden. This is where SSL termination comes into the scene. 

SSL termination is an issue that comes up frequently and might seem like rocket science, especially to people who do not have the IT technical know-how. This article will explain what SSL termination is and how it works and finish by providing answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this subject. Fix your connection failed on Firefox issue here.

Definition of SSL Termination

A popular misnomer about how the SSL certificate and the internet, in general, works is that it is a one-to-one connection. The users’ computers connect directly to the web servers, and the communications take place instantly from one end to the other. However, the relationship is far more complicated in the real sense and sometimes entails numerous stops between the communicating ends. This is an important detail you must keep in mind before even delving deep into the finer points of what SSL termination is all about. ASIC

So, what is SSL termination? Well, to help in offsetting the heavy load that SSL adds during the encryption-decryption process, you can consider spinning up discrete Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), which are limited to carrying out the SSL handshake process and the encryption-decryption role. Doing so will help to relieve the processing power for a website or web application. 

The SSL/TLS termination process helps to hasten the data decryption process and reduce the burden experienced by backend servers. The SSL termination process describes how part of the decryption burden is shifted from the webserver to a specific machine. The rotation occurs at the server end of an SSL/TLS connection. 

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How Does It Work

SSL termination represents the point of termination in an SSL session. The process of SSL terminations follows the interception of encrypted traffic from an HTTPS protocol when the traffic reaches the server from SSL certificates in an SSL session. SSL termination will verify data from the traffic and decrypt the data on an Application Delivery Controller or a load balancer rather than the application server. load balancerRelieved from the burden of organizing incoming traffic, the web application server can focus on accomplishing tasks such as loading website pages. Therefore, the entire process of SSL termination can help increase the speed of your web application servers. 

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What Does It Mean by An SSL Termination Load Balancer?

In essence, SSL decryption at load balancer is necessary since it helps make the decryption process CPU and resource-intensive. Transferring the burden of decryption from the web application server to the load balancer gives the server an excellent opportunity to focus on other vital application functionalities, which will help to enhance the server’s performance. It also helps to ease the severe hurdle of SSL management.

How Secure is SSL Termination?

Encrypting internet connections with SSL certificates is a very vital process. It helps to guard users’ sensitive data and resources such as personal records, social security numbers, debit cards, and credit card details, among many other things. There is one crucial aspect you should never miss out on. The SSL termination process is complete. The device transfers unencrypted data between backend servers on a local area network and the load balancer. However, for utmost assurance of security, the web admins can re-encrypt the traffic at the load balancer before sending the traffic to the servers. The SSL termination process at the load balancer lessens website servers of the additional compute cycles required for decrypting encrypted SSL traffic. The load balancer is within similar data centers as the web servers. The security risks associated with terminating at the balancer become significantly alleviated. Engineers have designed the other load balancers to make using self-signed SSL certificates between web servers and the load balancer. Although this provides more advanced secure connections, it comes with an extra cost since it requires more computing power.

Is it Possible to Perform SSL Termination on A Software?

Yes. It is possible to perform SSL termination on software. Thanks to the technological advancements we have witnessed in the Intel X-86-based CPU technology. The technology has dramatically increased the secure sockets layer on standard Intel hardware. Additionally, we have also seen shorter key lengths than the conventional RSA 2K keys for SSL encryption. The technology has put software-based load balancers on X86 servers.

What are the Advantages of SSL Termination?

The server is relieved from the burden of encrypting and decrypting all incoming and outgoing traffic. Therefore, SSL termination minimizes the workload, increases server performance, and saves computational overhead. SSL termination helps organizations speed up their server speeds. The SSL termination process is a highly essential procedure for websites that deal with less sensitive data. For instance, blogs, media-sharing websites, and informative sites will find this process beneficial.

What are the Disadvantages of SSL Termination?

The data/traffic existing at the point between the web load balancer and the server is not encrypted. The traffic is thus vulnerable to several cybersecurity threats such as data breaches, man-in-the-middle attacks, and session hijacking. To some extent, this point loses the real purpose of the SSL certificate as the data will remain exposed to a plethora of cybersecurity threats. For this process to succeed, the server needs to share the private key with the load balancer tool, which is quite risky. If the SSL session becomes compromised between the server and the load balancer, the clients will not be notified because of a lack of adequate mechanisms to inform the clients. As such, this process might easily deceive the users that their data is secure when in the real sense, it isn’t. Your data could potentially lose its sense of privacy and secrecy if it is exposed to third-party load balancer platforms.


In today’s era, there is no place for slow websites. Web visitors will quickly move away to your competitor’s sites if they realize that your websites take too long to load. Similarly, websites need to pay extra attention to the security aspect of the websites. Luckily the SSL certificate is a security tool that goes a long way into enhancing the speed of their websites. SSL termination is an essential element of the secure sockets layer certificate that deals with both the security and the server performance aspects. This article explains what SSL termination is, how it works, and some frequently asked questions about it. 

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