What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate keeps you and your customers safe by protecting the information that’s flowing to and from your website. It encrypts names, addresses, passwords, account and credit card numbers and more so hackers and other online criminals can’t read them.

Technically, an SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information that is sent to the server using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. SSL certificates—built around stringent, industry-leading authentication measures—allow website owners to secure all online transactions with up to 256-bit encryption. An SSL certificate on a website ensures that sensitive data is safe from prying eyes.

How does an SSL Certificate work?

An SSL certificate serves as an electronic “passport”. It establishes the website’s authenticity and credibility and enables the browser and web server to build a secure, encrypted connection.  Any site with a valid SSL Certificate will display a lock in the address bar, and read https:// not simply http://.

SSL Certificate


Credibility is established by checking the digital certificate, which includes:

  • The Certificate holder’s name (individual or company)
  • The Certificate’s serial number and expiration date
  • A copy of the Certificate holder’s “public” cryptographic key
  • The digital signature of the Certificate-issuing authority