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Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol that allows data to be transferred securely over the web. This comes in handy when you need to collect information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers etc.

Internet Connection has a dedicated server used for SSL transmission. This server features a 128-bit Verisign certificate and should be used whenever you need to gather sensitive information from your customers.

Implementing SSL into Your Site

Before using SSL on your site you must first have an SSL account. If you do not have an account already, please fill out this form. Every Internet Connection hosting account includes a free SSL account and you will not be charged for this service.

Creating Your Secure Form

The forms that use SSL look just like other non-secure forms, the only differences in them is that all links to them will look like this:

<a href="https://sslserver.com/YourDomainName/form.html">Click to Order!</a>

And the form action tag will look like this:

<form action="https://sslserver.com/submit/YourDomainName" method="post">

First, using your favorite HTML editor, create your form with all the fields you'll need.

Note: From this point on, we recommend those using WYSIWYG HTML generators (such as Microsoft® FrontPage®) switch to a simple text editor such as Notepad, SimpleText or Vi.

Next, using the above as an example, replace your current form action tag. Finally, select which of the following optional tags you'd like to use to make your forms easier to manage:

Subject There are two methods available for setting the subject of the forms you'll retreive:
  • The first method specifies a fixed subject. This is helpful for users who have more than one form and wish to be able to assign each form a unique subject.

    To specify a fixed subject, include the following after the form action tag:

    <input type="hidden" name="_subject" value="New Order Form">

  • The second method allows the form-user to specify their own subject using a modifiable text-field.

    To create a subject text-field box, include the following tag:

    <input type="text" name="_subject">
If no subject option is included, then the subject "Form Submission" will appear on the form results page.
Success Redirect The form success redirect tag allows you to specify a page the user will be redirected to after successfully completing your form. To enable the script to do this simply include the following tag:

<input type="hidden" name="_success" value="https://sslserver.com/DomainName/page.html">

Notice the page the form redirects to is still being transferred through the SSL server. Some browsers, Netscape most notably, display an annoying dialog box when they transfer from secure to non-secure mode. To minimize your customers fears that they're information was not transferred securely we suggest your redirect page also been fed through the SSL server. Then, from that page, link to the non-secure portions of your site.

Sort / Order The following tag allows you to set the order in which the results are displayed in. Again, to implement it simply place it beneath your form action tag:

<input type="hidden" name="_sort" value="field1,field2,field3">

Note: "_sort" and "_order" can be used interchangeably.
Required Fields The ability to require fields is very helpful when you must gather certain information from your users. To set certain fields as required include the following after your form action tag:

<input type="hidden" name="_required" value="field1,field2,field3">

Keep in mind that if you set any fields required, it's a good idea to use the following tag to let your user know that required information was not provided.

Form Failure Redirect The form failure redirect allows you to specify a page users will see after attempting to submit your form. This tag only works in conjunction with the required fields tag and it's main purpose is to let your users know that they forgot to provide some required information. To incorporate this feature place the following after your <form action... > tag:

<input type="hidden" name="_failure" value="https://sslserver.com/DomainName/page.html">

Like the form success redirect (above), we recommend the form failure direct to is still being transferred through the SSL server.

It's also a good idea to utilize Server Side Includes (SSI), specifically the echo command on this page to let the person filling out the forn know which field they forgot to fill out. For more on this, please check out Internet Connection's Server Side Includes (SSI) support document.

Email Alert This tag allows you to specify an email address that will be alerted each time an order is received by your SSL account. The email address must be in the form "UserName@DomainName", and for security reasons, the account MUST be at the same domain as the one receiving the SSL submission.

To incorporate this feature place the following after your form action tag:

<input type="hidden" name="_mailto" value="Username@DomainName">

Creating Your Secure Form With Microsoft® FrontPage®

Users of Microsoft® FrontPage® can also create forms to be used with the SSLServer.com end-to-end data encryption service. Here's how to use FrontPage® to create a secure ordering form.

First, create the form in FrontPage® with all of the fields that you will need.

Next, while in the Normal editing mode, right-click in your form (defined by dashed line) and choose "Form Properties..." from the menu.

In the Form Properties window click on the radio button for the "Send to other" option and choose "Custom ISAPI, NSAPI, CGI, or ASP script" from the drop-down menu:

Screenshot of Microsoft® FrontPage® Form Properties Window

Next, click the "Options..." to access the Options for Custom Form Handler window. In this window, type https://sslserver.com/submit/YourDomaiName (replacing "YourDomainName" with your actual domain name) in the Action field and click the OK button:

Screenshot of Microsoft® FrontPage® Options for Custom Form Handler dialog window

To set any of the optional tags, click the "Advanced..." button on the Form Properties window:

Screenshot of Microsoft® FrontPage® Advanced Form Properties Dialog window

Then click the "Add..." button and provide a name (from the right column above) and a value and click OK.

Screenshot of Microsoft® FrontPage® Name/Value Pair dialog window

You have to do this for each optional tag you want to use.

Retrieving Your Orders

Unlike other forms, the forms utilizing SSL send their contents to a server rather than through email.

To check your orders you will have to point your browser to:

https://sslserver.com/secure/

You will then be prompted for the login name (in the form of User@DomainName) and password you supplied us. Enter those and hit "OK". When the page loads you can either view your current orders or reset your order file. Please view your orders before resetting, as there is no way to get them back.

Automating Order Retrieval

In addition to manually retrieving your orders from the SSL server, you can also set up an automatic retrieval process using a script. This could be beneficial for populating a local database with the information contained in your form results pages that are deposited to the SSL server. Here's an example of a script set up to do just this.

Please be advised that unless you have experience with Perl, it is not recommended that you utilize a script such as this.

Also, in order to take advantage of this function of the SSL server you must have either ActivePerl (Windows) or Perl (other OS) be installed for perl scripts to run. The script is also dependant on the LWP::UserAgent and Net::SSL perl modules, both of which are available on CPAN.

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