The MD5 algorithm is a widely used hash function producing a 128-bit hash value. The abbreviation "MD" stands for "Message Digest. Although MD5 was initially designed to be used as a cryptographic hash function, it has been found to suffer from extensive vulnerabilities. It can still be used as a checksum to verify data integrity, but only against unintentional corruption.
Like most hash functions, MD5 is neither encryption nor encoding. It can be cracked by brute-force attack and suffers from extensive vulnerabilities.