What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate provides and encrypted connection between a browser and a web server. Secure Socket Layers (SSL) make sure that the data that is passed between the two is both private and legitimate. Security and privacy of information on the internet have never been more important. Keeping the wrong people out and allowing the right people in is a tricky situation. SSL Certificates provide the security to keep your data safe across the Internet.


Let’s say you have an important message that you want to send to your friend. You take the message, put it into a box, and then add a padlock to the box—securing it. Then you send the box to your friend. They receive the box and put their own padlock on it before sending it back to you. You’ve exchanged the message and it has been secured by the both of you. You remove your padlock when you receive the box and send it back to your friend. He receives the box, opens his padlock, and is able to retrieve the message. Nobody was able to intercept the message because neither of you gave out the key to your padlock. Using this example, simply replace “box” with packets of data and “padlock” with encryption to understand what’s happening. Browsers now literally show a padlock near the address bar when a site is secure.

The Keys

An SSL Certificate is a way for websites to verify the information they are providing is legitimate. Websites can obtain these certificates by purchasing them. Once purchased, SSL Certificates will begin protecting and encrypting the data passed between the server and the browser. When a certificate is purchased, two keys are generated; one public, one private. Public keys are available so that the SSL Certificate can be authenticated. This is to make sure someone can’t just pop onto your website with an SSL Certificate and trick the server and browser. It’s an open way to verify the information without having to give out the private key, according to SSL.com.

The private key is like a digital signature and should never be given out. You will be given a text file that needs to be ultra guarded because that’s the unique identifier of the SSL Certificate. The public and private keys are mathematically linked but you can’t get the public key and hack your way to the private key. They work together when data is encrypted by one key, the other can decrypt it. This works both ways the public key can encrypt, the private key can unlock or vice versa.


The SSL Certificate is crackable. However, they’re good at keeping out 99% of unwanted traffic. Intrepid hackers will still attempt to get into sites with SSL Certificates but it takes them days or weeks to get through even the smallest packet of data. This is why most websites double up on security by adding different layers of encryption. Hackers get through one, they run into a wall. By the time they make it through to the data, they’ve usually been caught.

SSL Certificates provide security. Security for websites by proving that they are who they say they are. This makes sure the customer is confident that the website they’re visiting is the actual website and they haven’t been redirected. They are easy to obtain and encrypt the data that flows between the web server and the browser while on the Internet. An SSL Certificate is the data courier of the Internet; be sure your website’s information is protected.