SSL certificates authenticate a website’s identity and encrypt the connection. SSL certificates enable websites to move from HTTP to the more secure HTTPS. An SSL certificate is a data file hosted on a website’s host server. SSL certificates make SSL/TLS encryption possible. They contain the website’s public key and the website’s identity, along with other related information.

SSL ensures that data being transferred between users and websites is impossible to read. Devices attempting to communicate with the host server will reference the SSL certificate to obtain the public key and verify the server’s identity. The private key is kept secret and secure. This system ensures the site you’re browsing is legitimate.