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A security certificate is a small data file used as an Internet security technique through which the identity, authenticity and reliability of a website or Web application is established.
A security certificate is used as a means to provide the security level of a website to general visitors, Internet service providers (ISPs) and Web servers.
A security certificate is also known as a digital certificate and as a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate.
A security certificate is allotted to a website or Web application by a third-party certification authority (CA).
Typically, the CA evaluates the security framework of the website requesting the security certificate. Once the security, legitimacy and authenticity of the website are confirmed, a security certificate is provided.
This security certificate is embedded within the website and is provided to Web servers, Web browsers, firewall and security applications, and ISPs when the website is requested.
A security certificate is required to be updated on an annual basis or within a predefined time period.
If a security certificate has expired, a user will see a notification in his browser stating that the security certificate is expired and the user is visiting the website at his own risk.