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Full Version: What Is SSL Offloading
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When information transmitted through SSL secure protocol, the web server takes action to encrypt or decrypt your web traffic. This process assigns a substantial load on the webserver which will be affecting the performance of the webserver. To deal with the added burden of encrypting data on the server, many networks now employ SSL offloading. This network solution involves the removal of SSL encryption from incoming traffic before it reaches the webserver. SSL offloading is taking care of the SSL process on a separate device so that it doesn’t affect the web server’s performance. Security Socket Layer (SSL) is a protocol that ensures the security of HTTP traffic and HTTP requests on the internet. SSL traffic can be compute-intensive since it requires encryption and decryption of traffic. SSL (called TLS or Transport Layer Security now) relies on public-key cryptography to encrypt communications between the client and server sending messages safely across networks. Encryption of sensitive information protects against potential hackers and man-in-the-middle attacks.

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How does SSL Offloading Work?

The idea behind SSL offloading is to do the work of encryption anywhere besides on the webserver. That could mean a totally separate machine, or the offloading could be handled on a different processing device on the same machine. In short, SSL offloading is specially designed to perform SSL acceleration or SSL termination. The processing is offloaded to a separate server designed specifically to perform SSL acceleration or SSL termination. SSL certificates use cryptography keys for encryption.

Benefits of SSL Offloading
The main benefits are that the web-server no longer has to process the SSL decryption and encryption and therefore can relocate the resources that were used towards other, important and common problems. Below some excellent benefits of SSL Offloading.

  • Boost the page load speed time.
  • It saves resources on those application servers.
  • Faster response from the Web server.
  • Enhance the stability of the website.
  • Auto-scaling the web servers during the peak hours of traffic.
  • Use as a load balancer for serving web traffic using different servers.

Types of SSL Offloading

There are two main types of SSL offloading.

1. SSL Termination The SSL termination refers to the process that occurs at the server end of the SSL connection (i.e. the place where the data traffic gets encrypted from an unencrypted form). The data, which comes first, is sent to a device that encrypts the decrypted information. If the information comes in an encrypted form, then the information is forwarded without any processing to the web-server. This is the quickest and most efficient form of offloading.

2. SSL Bridging The process includes decrypting the incoming data, inspecting it for any malicious code, and then re-encrypting it and sending it on to the webserver. Obviously, this form of offloading is meant to increase security rather than relieve the webserver of processing activities. Bridging is very important, as it helps in knowing whether the SSL encrypted data is secure or not. There are mainly three types of SSL bridging — HTTPS to HTTPs, HTTPS to HTTP, and HTTP to HTTPS.