OCSP Definition

Howard Poston
Oct 17, 2023
OCSP Definition

OCSP stands for Online Certificate Status Protocol and acts like a vigilant guard for your digital interactions, ensuring that websites, servers, and other online portals users enter are secure and legitimate. In other words, OCSP provides a website’s security certificates that are valid and haven’t been revoked.

How OCSP Works

OCSP sends a request to an OCSP responder, a server that holds the status of certificates issued by a particular certificate authority (CA). The request contains the serial number, which will be checked. The responder then returns a response indicating whether the certificate is good, revoked, or unknown.

Examples of OCSP

When you visit a website that starts with “https,” your web browser is like a cautious explorer entering new territory. It wants to ensure the path is safe before sharing personal information. So, it discreetly checks with an OCSP server, asking, “Is this website’s certificate still valid?” Based on the OCSP server’s response, your browser will get the green light or a red flag.

Consider OCSP a digital security ally that’s always on unless manually overridden. Just as you’d double-check a ticket’s authenticity before attending an in-person event, OCSP helps your browser verify the legitimacy of a website’s security certificate. Doing so adds a layer of protection to your online interactions, ensuring you’re not unwittingly stepping into a virtual trap.

Advantages of OCSP

Online Certificate Status Protocol provides advantages that include:

  • Secure, real-time certificate status checks
  • Reduces the load on CAs
  • Improve performance without the need for clients to download and maintain CRLs
Howard Poston

Howard Poston is a copywriter, author, and course developer with experience in cybersecurity and blockchain security, cryptography, and malware analysis. He has an MS in Cyber Operations, a decade of experience in cybersecurity, and over five years of experience as a freelance consultant.

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