After a TCP connection is established, the TLS handshake is initiated by the client. The client sends a number of specifications to the server, including which versions of SSL/TLS it is running, which cipher suites it supports, and which compression methods it would like to use.
The server selects the highest mutually supported version of SSL/TLS to use. It also chooses a cipher suite and compression method from the choices given by the client.
If the client and server do not support any cipher suite in common, then no TLS connection can be established. This is not uncommon when using very old browsers with newer servers.
After the basic setup is done, the server sends the client its certificate. This is used by the client to verify that it's connected to a legitimate server. We'll discuss more on certificates in the next section.
Once the client has verified that the server really is who it claims to be, a key exchange is initiated. After key exchange completes, both the client...