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Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website. When you add one to your website your visitors will know the information sent from them to your site will be secure. For example they may not want to send their credit card information without knowing it will be secure.
With the SSL certificate the websites identity is identified, then the customer can send information securely from their browser to your website. Essentially there is a secure connection created by the digital certificate, there is nothing additional that the consumer must do.
You can display your certificate to let your potential customers know that your site and their information will be transferred safely and securely.
The certificate itself has this information:
- the certificate holder’s name
- a serial number
- the expiration date
- a copy of the certificate holder’s public key
- the digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority
public key explanation on wikipedia