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What are SSL Certificates?

Date Submitted: 12/3/14

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 scrambling data into an undecipherable format that can only be returned to a readable format with the proper decryption key.

A certificate serves as an electronic "passport" that establishes an online entity's credentials when doing business on the Web. When an Internet user attempts to send confidential information to a Web server, the user's browser accesses the server's digital certificate and establishes a secure connection.

An SSL certificate contains the following information:

  • The certificate holder's name
  • The certificate's serial number and expiration date
  • A copy of the certificate holder's public key
  • The digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority

NOTE: If you want to install an SSL certificate on our shared hosting, Website Builder or Quick Shopping Cart®, you must purchase one of our SSL certificates. We do not install SSL certificates from other providers on our shared hosting accounts.

For information about installing SSLs, see Installing an SSL: Server Instructions.

To find product information, please see our SSL Certificate page.

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