There are several types of SSL Certificates. In a previous article we explained why you should use https, so it’s about time we briefly explain the differences between various SSL types, so you know which one you may want to use to secure your website.
Overall, you can group SSL certificates by their validation level or secured domains/hostnames. Let’s go through each:
Validation level SSL certificates
Before purchasing an SSL certificate there is a verification process that needs to happen. The type of certificate depends on the level of validation that takes place. The three main types of certificates are:
– Domain Validated (DV) Certificates
– Organisation Validated (OV) Certificates
– Extended Validation (EV) Certificates
Domain Validated Certificate (DV)
Domain validation is the most basic type of SSL Certificate. It enables a website owner to validate a domain name and can be obtained within minutes. Security measures for this type of SSL Certificate are minimal and it’s suitable for photographers’ blogs or any hobby websites.
Organization Validated Certificate (OV)
The Organization validation is the minimum recommendation for business websites that invite customers to purchase products online. The certificate is obtained through a Certificate Authority. This SSL certificate is recommended for small businesses that use a payment portal – such as PayPal or Stripe. Organisation Validation certificates only offer limited protection, but because payment gateways have their own SSL certificates, OV certificates are okay to use if only to instil trust in your end-users.
Extended Validation Certificate (EV)
Extended validation is the highest-class of SSL certificates and should be used where transactions are being exchanged. EV certificates require website owners to go through an extensive verification process to prove they have exclusive rights to a domain and confirm they are a legal business. A fully validated EV certificate will also display the name of the company or organization in the address bar and the address bar is displayed in green (green bar). Check out this EV offered by Comodo or choose one of the following 10 SSL providers.
SSL depending on the number Domains and Subdomains
Before buying an SSL certificate it’s important to decide for what domain(s) or sub domains you need the certificate. Usually photographers need a single domain to secure. So a Single Name SSL Certificate will be the best choice. This is normally what you will get when you buy a Domain Validated certificate (DV).
If you buy an SSL certificate for mywebsite.com, it will not certify any subdomains. So clients.mywebsite.com or shop.mywebsite.com will not be certified. This kind of certificate can also be used to secure only a sub-domain. Eg. you can secure only clients.mywebsite.com and not mywebsite.com. So if you’re thinking about full coverage of your domain and sub-domains you should consider getting a Wildcard SSL Certificate. Comodo offers some options, or check in with any of these 10 providers.
A Wildcard SSL Certificate enables SSL encryption on unlimited subdomains using a single certificate. It will secure unlimited sub-domains of a single domain. E.g. Purchasing a Wildcard SSL certificate for mywebsite.com will also allow you to secure: shop.mywebsite.com or clients.mywebsite.com or gallery.mywebsite.com. However, it will not secure abc.xyz.mywebsite.com.
There is one more type of SSL Certificate that supports different domains and subdomains. It’s a Multi-Domain SSL Certificate. There may be a limit on the domains depending on where you buy it from. With this SSL Certificate you can secure mywebsite.com, gallery.mywebsite.com, myotherwebsite.com, mypersonalwebsite.net etc. This kind of certificate is highly recommended for people who have multiple domains and subdomains.
As you can see, there are several SSL certificate differences that need to be considered. Before making a decision on which SSL Certificate to buy, spend some time to identify which type of certificate your business needs. Then, choose one of the trusted SSL providers recommended in this article.