An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology. Encryption is the process of encoded data into an unreadable format that can only be returned to a readable format with the proper decryption key.
An SSL certificates include:
1.) The domain name that the certificate was issued for
2.) Which person, organization, or device it was issued to
3.) Which certificate authority issued it
4.) The certificate authority's digital signature
5.) Associated subdomains
6.) Issue date of the certificate
7.) Expiration date of the certificate
8.) The public key (the private key is kept secret)
The public and private keys used for SSL are essentially long strings of characters used for encrypting and decrypting data. Data encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted with the private key, and vice versa.