What is a Digital Certificate: Everything You Need To Know

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With the advent of online commerce, digital certificates have become a necessary and obligatory component. Whether someone wants to create a website, distribute software, or increase security, a digital certificate is essential. But What is a Digital Certificate?

Furthermore, you have probably heard pros on numerous web forums addressing the upgrades of such credentials. However, simply hearing “Digital Certificate” means not comprehending such information. To gain better knowledge, you must first learn the foundations. And now you’re in the correct place.

Continue exploring and reading this amazing blog to learn what is digital certificate and what is the purpose of a digital certificate is.

What is A Digital Certificate?

A digital certificate is an electronic password or file that uses cryptography plus public critical infrastructure or PKI to verify the validity of a device, server system, or user.

Digital certificate authentication allows companies to verify that only trustworthy devices and users may connect to their networks. Another frequent application for digital certificates is verifying a website’s legitimacy to a web browser, frequently referred to as a secure socket layer or SSL certificate.

A digital certificate has two keys: a public key & a private key. A certificate has a public key, whereas the receiver holds the private key. A private key is compulsory to decode a communication encrypted using a public key.

Also Read: How Much Does the SSL Certificate Cost?

When an electronic certificate authority issues a certificate, it contains encryption techniques, a digital signature, a serial number, expiration dates, and the certificate owner’s name.

A digital certificate includes the following identifying information:

  • The user’s name.
  • The department or firm to which the user belongs.
  • The device’s IP (Internet Protocol) address or the serial number.
  • A digital copy of the public key is acquired from the certificate holder.
  • The term for which the certificate remains valid.
  • The domain that the certificate has permission to represent.

How Do Digital Certificates Work?

Digital signatures, such as handwritten signatures, are particular to the signer. Digital certificate providers often use the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) standard. In summary, the PKI protocol governs how a digital certificate works. PKI uses a mathematical procedure to produce public and private keys. That is you know about what is a digital certificate.

When the signer electronically signs a document, a signature is produced using the signer’s private encryption key. The signer maintains control of the secret key. The mathematical algorithm functions as a cipher, producing data that matches that on the signed certificate. This data is termed as a hash and is sometimes considered encrypted. Any changes to the file will overturn the digital signature.

What Exactly Are Digital Certificates Used For?

Nowadays, internet users have become more cautious than ever. They want to have confidence that the websites they visit are trustworthy, especially if they want to buy items or register for services. They rely on digital certificates to determine if the websites they visit are trustworthy.

In the beginning, digital certificates provide verifiable assurance. When applied to internet pages, they provide quick authentication of social standing. Ideally, they will comply with the International Telecom Union’s (ITU) X.509 standard. Serialized and deserialized data formats are defined in this standard using the interface specification language Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1). This certificate type uses pairs of public and private keys to encrypt and decode communications.

The standard certificate procedure begins with a handshake, in which communication parties exchange public keys and establish the connection as safe. Private keys are also generated but are only utilized on the server side. These private and public keys work together to generate data that may be used to create more encryption keys. Now, we will move to the main purpose of a digital certificate in our guide to “What is a digital certificate?”

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What is the Main Purpose of a Digital Certificate?

What is the Main Purpose of a Digital Certificate

Digital certificates enable safe electronic communication and data transmission between individuals, systems, and devices online. Certificate authority organizations (CAs) issue them, and they have two main functions:

  • Verifying the true nature of the sender or receiver of an electronic communication
  • Providing the ability to encrypt/decrypt messages between sender and recipient (i.e., attaching an entity to their public key)
  • A digital certificate includes identifying information like a user’s name, company, or division and a device’s IP (Internet Protocol) address or serial number, depending on the device.

A digital certificate contains a duplicate of the certificate holder’s public key, which requires being matched to a matching private key to validate its authenticity. Certificate authorities (CAs) offer public vital certificates, signed certificates that validate the identity of the asking device or user.

Digital Certificates vs. Digital Signatures

Public key cryptography allows for various tasks, including authentication and encryption and creating digital signatures. Digital signatures are created utilizing data signing techniques, enabling a receiver to definitively authenticate that the data became law by a specific public key holder.

Digital signatures are created by hashing the data that contains a sign using a one-way cryptographic hash, which is then encrypted using the signer’s private key. The digital signature includes this encoded hash, which is only readable or confirmed by decrypting the digital signature with the sender’s public key and then applying a one-way hashing method to the signed material.

A digital signature may be based on transmitting a public key in the shape of a digital certificate, although this is not required. However, digital certificates contain signatures digitally and ought not to be believed unless the signature is verifiable. Now, we will discuss the main types in our guide to what is a digital certificate.

Different Types of Digital Certificates

Different Types of Digital Certificates

TLS/SSL Certificate

A TLS/SSL certificate ends up on the server to encrypt information sent across the server and the browser. The server may include any form that requires authentication for encryption and decryption of data, such as an LDAP machine, a web app, or a mail server that requires authentication. When installing a TLS certificate on a website, the URL starts with HTTPS instead of plaintext HTTP. The Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate can be of several sorts, including single-domain, multi-domain, global SSL, and multi-domain wildcard SSL.

  • Single domain SSL: It protects only one domain or subdomain with robust encryption. It is reasonably expensive and suitable for forums, blogs, and single-domain websites. This document covers www and non-www variants, such as www.domain.com or domain.com. Try out Temok’s best SSL products certificates with amazing deals in 2024.
  • Multi-Domain SSL: As a SAN SSL certificate, it may secure numerous domains and subdomains for a low cost and can be put on multiple servers. The certificate can secure up to 250 domains (which rely on the supplier). Here’s a multi-domain secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate instance.
  • domain1.com
  • domain.com
  • subdomain1.domain2.com
  • domain2.com
  • Wildcard SSL: It protects the first level of subdomains associated with a parent domain. All subdomains will use the same degree of encryption (SHA-2) as the CAB/forum guidelines specified. You can add infinite subdomains to an existing wildcard SSL certificate without incurring additional costs. Check out the wildcard SSL sample below.
  • *.domain2.com (primary domain).
  • domain2.com (subdomain)
  • domain2.com (subdomain)

The following example demonstrates multi-domain wildcard encryption certificates about what is a digital certificate, in which different levels of domains may safeguard their subdomains. Try out Temok’s other SSL certificate deals in 2024.

  • *.domain1.com
  • *.subdomain1.domain2.com
  • *.a2.subdomain.mydomain.com

Code Signature Certificate

The Code Signing certificate verifies the publisher’s identification and guarantees code integrity.

A code signing certificate verifies the validity of software or files acquired online. The developer or distributor signs the program to ensure it is authentic for consumers who download it.

The code signing certificate has two validations: organization verification and extension validation. When it comes to EV Code Signing certificates, using the Microsoft Smart Screening filter to sign them helps to strengthen the publisher’s reputation. In general, developers use a private key to sign code, while users use a public key to authenticate the publisher’s identity. A few well-known businesses deal with digitally signing certificates.

  • Comodo Code Sign: It is a branded certificate that authorizes the code and ensures that it comes from the source. Furthermore, a date will never render your code unenforceable, even if the certificate expires. It increases software downloads and ensures that the code has not been updated since it was signed.

Organization Validated

It offers light business identification and is excellent for firms that sell things online via e-commerce.

Extended Validation

It provides complete corporate authentication for larger businesses or firms with susceptible information. Financial institutions primarily utilize it and give the most fantastic authentication, protection, and trust. So, you must have an idea of what is a digital certificate of this type.

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Client Certificate

A client certificate is a digital identifier that links one user or computer to another. Email is a famous example in which the sender digitally signs a communication, and the recipient verifies the signature. Client certificates are another option to allow users to access secure databases.

A client certificate is a file of information that verifies the client’s identification with the server. The client certificate does not transmit any data. The email author signs the message, and the recipient acknowledges the digital signature, also known as a client certificate. The web browser displays the Client Identification ( as a client certificate OID (object identification) under Extended Key Usage information. The client certificate requires two-factor authentication when a user wants access to a protected database.

What Are The Benefits Of A Digital Certificate?

What Are The Benefits Of A Digital Certificate

Digital certificates offer the following advantages:

  • Privacy: When you encrypt interactions, digital certificates protect critical data and prevent illegal access. This technology protects corporations and individuals that handle vast amounts of sensitive data.
  • Easy to use: The digital certification procedure is 100% computerized.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Digital certificates are more cost-effective than other types of encryption and verification. Most digital certificates cost under $100 per year.
  • Flexibility: You don’t have to obtain digital certificates from a CA. A do-it-yourself method of digital certificate generation is viable for businesses that want to create and manage their internal pool of digital certificates. Now, the last part of knowing what is a digital certificate is talking about its limitations.

Also Read: Growing SEO Importance of SSL Certificates and Advantages to Install

What Are The Limits Of Digital Certificates?

The limitations of digital certificates comprise the following:

  • Security: Digital certificates, like another security barrier, are vulnerable to hacking. The most likely scenario for a widespread breach is when the issuing digital CA has a compromise. It allows undesirable actors to get access to the authority’s pool of digital certificates.
  • Slow Performance: Digital certificates must have authentication, encryption, and decryption, which takes time. Waiting may be difficult.
  • Integration: Digital certificates aren’t an independent technology. They must integrate well with systems, information, applications, networks, and hardware to prove effective. It is not a minor task.
  • Management: The more digital certificates a firm uses, the more critical it is to manage them and keep track of which ones are about to expire and must be renewed. Companies can use third-party providers or undertake the work themselves. However, it may prove pricey.


Each certificate is essential and helpful in different scenarios. For example, The TLS certificate secures online transactions, while the Code signing certificate signs software code. However, the purpose of a digital certificate is to validate identity and encrypt data. A digital certificate provides authenticity, reliability, and non-repudiation, all of which are essential in the security field.

As an industry pioneer with a solid reputation, Temok should be your go-to source for acquiring digital certificates. We provide several options, including several types of SSL/TLS certifications. Our certificate lifecycle management solutions enable you to safeguard identities at scale. If you need further assistance, feel free to ask your queries about what is a digital certificate in the comments, or you can book a 30-minute complimentary call with our professional before buying any services from us.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q#1 What Can I Use My Digital Certificate For?

Digital certificate authentication allows companies to verify that only trustworthy devices and users may connect to their networks. Another frequent application for digital certificates is verifying a website’s legitimacy to an internet browser, as the secure socket layer or SSL certificate.

Q#2 What Is An Example Of A Digital Certificate?

Digital certificates secure internal and external connections, preventing attackers from eavesdropping and stealing important information. For example, a TLS/SSL certificate encrypts data sent between a website’s server and a web browser, preventing an attacker from intercepting the data of website visitors.

Q#3 What Is The Most Common Type Of Digital Certificate?

TLS/SSL certificates, representing Transport Layer Security/Secure Socket Layer, are the most common digital certificates that protect and encrypt information transmission or exchange between the client and server.

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