If you run an e-commerce business, or are just someone who has a website that requires a login, you've probably heard that you need a secure certificate (commonly referred to as an SSL certificate). The line you're usually given is that it "protects" or "encrypts" visitors' data when they're on your website.
That sounds important — the last thing you want is someone "hacking" your visitors. That's certainly not going to build trust and convince them to give you their hard-earned cash or already-at-a-deficit attention. So, you think, "OK. I'll buy an SSL." You set it up and it just kind of magically does what it says. Your customers/visitors/clients are protected.
But, if you're anything like me, you want to know how do SSL certificates work? Let me tell you — it's ingenious. Though the technology behind it is actually a little complicated, anyone can understand its concepts.
Looking around for the best explanations available, I found a wonderful video on YouTube® from Art of the Problem that very clearly illustrates (literally) how cryptography (i.e. the type of security SSL certificates use) works. Check it out here:
Learn about the four types of SSL certificates available.