An SSL certificate is like a digital passport for a website. It serves two main purposes. First, it proves that the website is really what it claims to be, just like how a passport confirms someone's identity. This helps visitors know they're on the correct website and not a fake one trying to trick them. Second, it creates a secure, encrypted connection between the website and the visitor's browser. This is like having a secure, private conversation in a crowded room where no one else can listen in. When you see a little padlock icon next to the website's address in your browser, it means the site has an SSL certificate and your connection to it is secure. This is especially important for websites where you're entering sensitive information, like credit card details or personal data. The SSL certificate helps protect this information from being stolen by hackers.