The SSL protocol supports the use of a variety of different cryptographic algorithms, or ciphers, for use in operations such as authenticating the server and client to each other, transmitting certificates, and establishing session keys.

Key Exchange Method --- defines how the shared secret symmetric cryptography key used for application data transfer will be agreed upon by client and server (e.g., RSA key exchange with certificates, Diffie-Hellman key exchange without certificates). Choice of key exchange method determines whether to use digital signatures and what kind of signatures to use.

Cipher for Data Transfer determines how the messages in a session will be encrypted. There are 9 choices:

1)DES. Data Encryption Standard, an encryption algorithm used by the U.S. Government
2)DSA. Digital Signature Algorithm, part of the digital authentication standard used by the U.S. Government.
3)KEA. Key Exchange Algorithm, an algorithm used for key exchange by the U.S. Government.
4)IDEA International Data Encryption Algorithm.
5)MD5. Message Digest algorithm developed by Rivest.
6)SHA-1.Secure Hash Algorithm, a hash function used by the U.S. Government.

The latest version of SSL(SSL 3.0) supports all these ciphers.
For key-exchange most commonly used SSL cipher suites use RSA key exchange.

SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0 support overlapping sets of cipher suits. It gives an option to enable and disable any cipher.

Decisions about which cipher suites a particular organization decides to enable depend on trade-offs among the sensitivity of the data involved, the speed of the cipher, and the applicability of export rules.