The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security protocol used by Web browsers and Web servers to help users protect their data during transfer. An SSL Certificate contains a public and private key pair as well as verified identification information. When a browser (or client) points to a secured domain, the server shares the public key with the client to establish an encryption method and a unique session key. The client confirms that it recognizes and trusts the issuer of the SSL Certificate. This process is known as the “SSL handshake” and it can begin a secure session that protects message privacy and message integrity. Read our Beginner’s Guide to SSL Certificates to learn more.