What is an SSL certificate?

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a commonly-used protocol for managing the security of a message transmission on the Internet. SSL has recently been succeeded by Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is based on SSL. The key benefit of an SSL certificate is that it allows information sent between a user of a site and the site itself to be encrypted (hidden). This is especially important when using an e-commerce site such as amazon (or any online market place/bank) as it means that when the user inputs personal details such as address or banking information it is hidden from view to any third party who may try to access it.

Here's that explained in video form:
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