SSL uses public-key cryptography to authenticate the
participants in an SSL connection and to ensure a private negotiation
of parameters used to encrypt data sent over the SSL connection.
Public-key cryptography is based upon public/private key pairs.
public key is used to encrypt and to verify a cryptographical
signature. The corresponding private key is used to decrypt and to
sign messages cryptographically.
You advertise your public key to the
world so that anyone can send you messages that only you can decrypt,
and anyone can verify your cryptographic signature on messages you
You protect your private key carefully; it is never necessary to
share it with anyone else and you should never send it over a network.