The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm is a widely used cryptographic hash function that produces a 128-bit (16-byte) hash value. Specified in RFC 1321, MD5 has been utilized in a wide variety of security applications, and is also commonly used to check data integrity. MD5 was designed by Ron Rivest in 1991 to replace an earlier hash function, MD4. An MD5 hash is typically expressed as a hexadecimal number, 32 digits long.

A cryptographic hash function is a hash function; that is, an algorithm that takes an arbitrary block of data and returns a fixed-size bit string, the (cryptographic) hash value, such that any (accidental or intentional) change to the data will (with very high probability) change the hash value. The data to be encoded are often called the "message," and the hash value is sometimes called the message digest or simply digest.