What is SHA-256?

SHA-256 (Secure Hash Algorithm) is a cryptographic hash function that has certain properties which make it suitable for use in cryptography. It is a mathematical algorithm that maps data of arbitrary size to a bit string of a fixed size (a hash function) which is designed to also be a one-way function, that is, a function which is infeasible to invert.
The only way to recreate the input data from an ideal cryptographic hash function's output is to attempt a brute-force search of possible inputs to see if they produce a match, or use a rainbow table of matched hashes.

The SHA-256 algorithm generates a string with a size of 256-bit (32-byte).

Source: Wikipedia