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Getting an SSL certificate for your website is a no-brainer these days. If you don’t have an HTTPS site, your business will suffer in several ways: less security, lower Google search rankings and a loss of your visitors’ trust.
- What Is An SSL Certificate?
- Types Of SSL Certificates
- Top 3 Picks
- Other Reviews
- How Does SSL Work? (Video)
- Web Hosting SSL Offers
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate establishes an encrypted connection between a browser and a website and authenticates the identity of that website. They guarantee that data being transferred, including credit card transactions, passwords and other sensitive information, is secure.
For the last several years, Google has pushed the use of SSL certificates, so much so, that your website’s search rankings will drop drastically if you don’t have SSL (an HTTPS site). Also, Google now displays a “non-secure” browser warning for HTTP sites (websites that don’t have the added security layer of SSL) on their popular Chrome browser.
Chrome holds roughly 50% of the browser market share, so Google’s warning will impact a massive number of people as they browse the web. What’s more, recent HubSpot research found that up to 85% of people will not continue browsing if a site is not secure. The implications are disastrous if you don’t have an HTTPS site.
Whether you’re new to SSL or are unhappy with your current certificate provider, you’ll want to consider the different types of SSL certificates available.
Types Of SSL Certificates
The three basic types differ by validation levels. These levels involve the vetting process that Certificate Authorities (CAs) use to authenticate a company’s domain. The higher the validation level, the more trust your visitors will have in your site.
DV certificates are the most basic and least expensive type of SSL. To get this type of SSL, site owners only have to provide proof that they have administrative control over the domain.
Although they provide session encryption, DVs don’t include any company identity information in the certificate. This means that site visitors won’t be able to verify that your company is actually the owner of the site. DV certificates are not recommended for commercial sites.
With OV certificates, the CA validates the domain’s ownership, as well as organization information like the name, city and country. OVs are a step up from DVs and include company information in the certificate details, so your visitors can trust the identity of your site.
Extended Validation (EV)
EV certificates include the most company data, and companies must meet more stringent requirements to obtain an EV certificate. They give your site the highest level of credibility by displaying your business’s verified secure identity in a green address bar. EVs are the most expensive type of SSL, and they can take several weeks to receive.
Need To Secure Multiple Websites?
In addition to the three basic types of SSL certificates, many CAs also offer Multi-Domain SSL and Wildcard SSL options to cover multiple websites or sub-domains under the same certificate.
A Multi-Domain SSL Certificate, also called SAN, allows you to secure multiple Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDN) on one certificate. Each CA determines how many domains you can cover under one certificate, and they can range anywhere from 25-100 or more.
A Wildcard SSL Certificate allows you to secure an unlimited number of sub-domains (at one specific level) for one domain with one certificate. If you need sub-domain coverage at different levels (i.e., *.example.com and *.sub1.example.com), you’ll need an additional Wildcard certificate for each level.
We’ve based our rankings on several factors including company reputation, the variety of SSL certificates offered, warranty, pricing and other features.
Comodo wins our top spot as the best SSL provider for its affordable pricing and an impressive number of certificate offerings that are highly customizable. Comodo Cybersecurity is a top-rated and well-respected provider of SSLs, firewalls, antivirus software and other internet security products.
As a trusted brand, Comodo gives you the security clout you need for your site’s visitors. A Comodo SSL purchase includes SHA2, 256-bit encryption, 2048-bit public key encryption, a trust seal, unlimited server licenses and PCI and website vulnerability scanning. Comodo is tough to beat if you want the best SSL provider.
The following table only includes some of Comodo’s certificates. They also offer premium-level certificates, Wildcard Multi-Domain certificates and more. See all options.
|DV SSL||OV SSL||EV SSL||EV Multi-Doman SSL||Multi-Domain SSL||Wildcard SSL|
|2-Year Price Per Year||$88.95||$88.95||$199.50||$253.74||$130.38||$174|
|Number of Domains Included||1||1||1||3||5||1|
|Additional Domains||N/A||N/A||N/A||$79 each/year||$29 each/year||N/A|
Entrust Datacard has been in the security business since 1994 and has an exceptional reputation for SSL issuance. Customers give them two-thumbs up for quick turnaround time and superb customer service. They also offer a great selection of SSL certificates and combinations, with varying licensing terms.
With each SSL certificate, you get malware scanning, unlimited server licensing, SHA2, 256-bit encryption, 2048-bit public key encryption and a trust seal. Entrust also provides one of the best multi-certificate management tools on the market.
|Standard SSL (OV)||Advantage SSL (OV)||EV Multi-Doman SSL||Multi-Domain SSL||Wildcard SSL|
|2-Year Price Per Year||$174||$208||$373.23||$278||$608.13|
|Number of Domains Included||1||2||2||4||1|
|Additional Domains||N/A||N/A||$139 each/year (up to 250)||$54/unit/year||$54/unit/year|
In the fall of 2017, DigiCert acquired Symantec’s website security solutions as well as popular Symantec subsidiary CAs GeoTrust, Thawte and Rapid SSL. Already a leading SSL provider, DigiCert now is a massive player in the industry.
DigiCert’s certificates are compatible with all major browsers and mobile devices and include unlimited server licensing, SHA2, 256-bit encryption, 2048-bit public key encryption and a trust seal. Their pricing is higher than many competitors, but they offer reliable and trusted security for your site.
|Standard SSL (OV)||EV SSL||EV Multi-Doman SSL||Multi-Domain SSL||Wildcard SSL|
|2-Year Price Per Year||$157||$234||$389.50||$269||$535|
|Number of Domains Included||1||1||3||4||1|
|Additional Domains||N/A||N/A||$99 each/year||$49 each/year||N/A|
The following SSL providers didn’t make our top three list, but we encourage you to read our reviews to see if they’re a good fit for your business.
GlobalSign is a trusted CA with a 20+ year history of providing reliable security solutions. GlobalSign specializes in highly-scalable and fully-managed PKI solutions for enterprise-level businesses, but they’re a reliable SSL certificate issuer for businesses of all sizes.
The main reasons GlobalSign didn’t make our top three are their lackluster customer support and high pricing. They’re expensive, and in most cases, you can get the same security and features for a lower price with other providers. We found many dissatisfied customer reviews about their unhelpful support staff.
|DV SSL||OV SSL||EV SSL||DV Wildcard||OV Wildcard|
|2-Year Price Per Year||$224||$314||$469.50||$764||$854|
|Additional Domain Names||N/A||$199 each/year||$199 each/year||N/A||N/A|
|Additional Subdomains||$99 each/year||$99 each/year||$99 each/year||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Additional Public IP Addresses||N/A||$199 each/year||N/A||N/A||N/A|
GoDaddy is a giant in the web hosting and domain registration industry, and they also are a popular SSL provider. The upside is that it’s convenient to cover all your website needs in one place. The downside is that GoDaddy doesn’t specialize solely in SSL certificates and site security like our other best SSL provider winners.
What do you get with GoDaddy’s SSL certificates? GoDaddy gives you the strongest available SHA2 and 2048-bit encryption, unlimited server coverage and a trust seal provided by McAfee Secure.
|DV SSL||OV SSL||EV SSL||Multi-Domain||Wildcard|
|Starting 1-Year Price||$59.99||$103.99||$99.99||$135.99||$279.99|
Wondering how an SSL certificate works and why you need one? Check out this video for a brief rundown.
You may have noticed through your research that many web hosting services offer an included SSL certificate. These “free” SSL certificates vary widely in what they cover, so you need to do your homework to make sure you’re getting the SSL security level you want. Checkout our hosting reviews to find the best hosts!
We almost always recommend going with a different SSL provider than your web hosting service, primarily because it’s wise to devote every part of your site security and other needs to services that specialize in specific areas.
Unless you’ve thoroughly researched the SSL options your hosting service provides, you’re better off going with a provider that specializes in SSL certificates.
What do you think about Google’s SSL requirements?