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Which type of SSL certificate to buy?

What are the different types of SSL certificates?

There are several types of SSL certificates available for the public today and they all have the same level of TLS encryption. Though they serve different purposes, used in different contexts, vetting and verification processes for obtaining the certificates. In the recent years, the number of  Certificate Authorities (CA) has increased, and they can provide the different types of SSL certificate that can be purchased:

  • Extended Validated (EV) SSL certificate
  • Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificate
  • Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificate
  • Wildcard SSL Certificate
  • Multi-Domain SSL Certificate (MDC)
  • Unified Communications Certificate (UCC)

If you are wondering what those different types do, and how you can use them, then continue reading, cause it will all be clarified shortly.

What is an Extended Validated (EV) SSL certificate? 

EV SSL Certificates are available for all types of business and is most recommended SSL type as it displays the padlock, HTTPS, and name of the business in URL which helps distinguish the site from harmful sites.  while indicating the legitimacy of the business and confirms the users shared information to be private and not accessible by other than the site. EV SSL certificates usually used for high profile websites for applications that require identity assurance such as online payments, collection bank information, or other private information. 

To issue an EV SSL certificate requires you to go through an identity verification process to the certificate authority’s requirement, which makes them authorized legally to the exclusive rights to the domain. 

What is an Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificate?

The Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificat is recommended to validate the online business. The purpose is to encrypt your visitor’s sensitive information during transactions. This certificate is similar to the EV SSL certificate because they both have a high assurance, which validates a business’ creditably. Also, this SSL certificate type displays the information of a website in the URL as the EV which means that it assures that any customer shared information stays confidential. 

To issue an OV SSL certificate, your business/organization needs to submit documents and complete a substantial validation process as when obtaining the EV SSL certificate. Then the CA investigate your business/organization to verify if you have the right to your specific domain name. This process can take up to 3 days.

What is a Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificate?

A Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificate is a bit different than EV and OV. DV is used to validate the domain name and has a low assurance and minimal encryption. If you have a small/medium level blog or informational website, then the DV SSL certificate is the best solution for you.

To obtain the DV SSL certificate is simple and fast, because you only need to prove your domain ownership to the CA. Typically the CA ask you to prove your domain ownership by responding to an email, phone call, or file bases verification.

This SSL certificate type is fully supported and share similar browser recognition with OV SSL, but has the advantage of being issued faster and without need to submit a lot of paperwork from your business. 

It comes with a low cost, which makes it ideal for a small/medium business. It is still secure and shows your URL with HTTPS and a padlock with ni business name. 

What is a Wildcard SSL Certificate?

Wildcard SSL certificate is used to secure a base domain along with multiple sub-domains under one certificate and it can secure an unlimited number of subdomains.

Acquiring a Wildcard SSL certificate is cheaper than buying several single-domain SSL certificates and it is available with DV and OV SSL certificates.

What is a Multi-Domain SSL Certificate (MDC)?

The Multi-Domain SSL certificate allows you to secure up to 100 different domain names and subdomains by using one certificate, which can help you save time and money

This certificate gives you control of the Subject Alternative Name (SAM)  field, so you can add, change, and delete any of the SANs as needed. Also, it is available with DV, OV, EV, and Wildcard SSL.

What is a Unified Communications Certificate (UCC)?

Unified Communications Certificates (UCC) is similar to a Multi-Domain SSL certificate, and were originally designed to secure Microsoft Exchange and Live Communications servers.

In these days you and any other website owner can use these certificates to secure base domain along with multiple domain names on only one single certificate. The number of subdomains secured depends on the CA. 

Furthermore, when you acquire a UCC certificate, your websites URL will display a padlock and can also be used as EV SSL certificates to give your visitors a high assurance. 

Now we are done with the brief introduction of SSL certifications and you are probably wondering, how you choose a perfect SSL certificate just for your website/business. Keep reading and the answer will be revealed. 

How do I choose an SSL certificate?

How you choose an SSL certificate:

  1. You have to locate the domain type, you want to protect whether it is a domain or a sub-domain.
  2. Identify if you need to protect a one domain or multiple domains (wildcard or multiple domains).
  3. Last you have to choose the level of protection you need.
  • domain-validated (DV) — LOW
  • organization-validated  (OV) — MEDIUM
  • extended validation (EV) — HIGH

The task for choosing an SSL certificate can be complicated for most people, since all the providers offer various certification types. So first thing you need to do is register your domain before you can get issued an SSL certificate, which is needed before the CA can verify your domain ownership.

Next, you have to decide between the main three trust levels for SSL certificates, EV, OV, and DV. 

Here you need to ask yourself “how much trust your customers gonna have to your website?” You also need to consider if you need your company name displayed in the URL, or included in the certificate. As early described these attributes differs by which SSL certificate type you choose. 

Last you have to consider how many domains you need to protect with the SSL certificate. Do you need to protect only one domain or multiple?

If the answer is “only one”, then you should purchase one single domain, or a standard certificate, with your choice of trust level in mind (EV, OV or DV). 

However, if you have multiple domains or sub-domains that you need to protect, then consider buying a Wildcard or Multi-domain certificate, which will be a lot cheaper for you instead of buying different certificates for each domain. 

If you are a little confused about the different types and trust level of SSL certificates, then read the section “What are the different types of SSL certificates?”. 

That’s all about it, pretty simple right? Now let us take a look at how you get a good SSL purchase. 

What makes a good SSL purchase?

What makes a good SSL purchase, is entirely up to your needs. Whether it is a cheap or expensive SSL certificate. The most important thing is how famous the CA issuing the certificate is. CA as GoDaddy and Symantec are well known a accepted by various browser developers, which makes certificates issued by the major CA’s trusted from the start. 

Though it is much easier to get a certificate from cheaper CA’s, but there are often some difficulties to get recognized by browsers. Which can put your visitors/customers in a position were there can mistrust you website. 

Also these cheaper SSL certificate probably does not have the same support, as the more expensive ones, which could make it a lot difficult for you, if you should get any issues with the certificate. So have in mind that you usually get what you pay for. 

Conclusion:

SSL certificates are powerful tools to secure your websites data and reputation, and by selecting which one is best suited for your needs can minimize cost and time effort needed administer your security. 

There are various types and trust levels SSL certificates to choose from. So it is important to identify what you need and how many domains you have to protect before buying an SSL certificate. 

Thats means it is essential to understand the variation in their features, issuance time and pricing. 

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