What Is SSL Termination?

By Usha Dadighat

A secure socket layer (SSL) connection uses a certificate for authentication before sending encrypted data from a client computer to the web server. SSL termination, a form of SSL offloading, shifts some of this responsibility from the web server to a different machine.


SSL termination works by intercepting encrypted traffic at the server receiving data from the SSL connection. It helps the server by decrypting and verifying the data on a different device so the server does not need to handle the process.


SSL termination acts as the end of the line, or termination point, for an SSL connection. The process prepares the data for the server and organizes incoming connections in order to allow the web server to concentrate other tasks such as loading web pages.


SSL termination allows servers with an SSL connection to handle a large volume of simultaneous connections, or sessions, and cookies. SSL termination also works to increase site and web application performance by increasing server speed. It ensures accuracy by performing decryption on a separate device.