An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a small data digital file (public key) which uses encryption or coding technology to safeguard the connection between your website and your customer’s browser.
Once a customer has submitted sensitive data to your site, the information is encoded by your public key. The data can only be decoded using your private key (generated at your end) once it reaches your server.
A SSL certificate tells your customers they can trust you. Not only does it establish a secure connection, but it also helps authenticate your website due to the identity checks needed to obtain one.
To obtain an SSL certificate, you need to apply to a verified SSL Certificate Authority (CA). They will issue you with a certificate once they have carried out the sufficient identity checks.
Once issued, your certificate file needs to be downloaded and then uploaded to your website server. When completed, your website will change from an http to an https address.
The use of an SSL certificate on your website is usually indicated by a padlock icon in web browsers or by a green address bar. You will also be given a trust seal which can be displayed on your site.