10 best SSL certificate providers

You are on lookup of the top SSL providers, right? Well, I surely will get you there but let’s cover some basics together first. So, what does the acronym SSL stand for? SSL means Secure Socket Layering, even though SSL has been superseded by Transport Layer Security, the function is commonly known as ‘SSL‘.

Top 10 Of SSL Certifications AvailableIn itself, it could be seen as a technical area of web site configuration, in fact I proffer it’s a prerequisite, more so should you be undergoing financial transactions online. As a user, we all have the requirement that our personal information is secure and that our data is not ‘compromised’, thereby upholding its ‘integrity’.

More importantly, when you wish to connect to your bank, you do so in a manner that ‘cyber criminals’ can’t steal your account details or even how you logon. Conversely, you have the peace of mind of doing your shopping for your anniversary, birthdays or Christmas.

For readers who wish to interrogate the technicalities, may I refer you to Wikipedia. There you can be bemused with the protocols, algorithms and definitions, to your heart’s content. The Internet is a repository of information!

What is an SSL certificate?

The SSL certificate equates to digital padlock, which is designed to lock out those without the key. As I’ve mentioned before, and it’s always good to reinforce what ‘SSL’ means and does. SSL means ‘Secure socket Layer’ and is used for encrypting data when being sent across the Internet. Its functionality ensures only the server and user are able to read the data as they have the decryption keys.

In practical terms, with the amount of shopping done online, employing SSL gives ‘Integrity’ to transactions and peace of mind for the user. Users are becoming technically aware online data security risks, by giving visual signs of ‘HTTPS’ at the starts of addresses in the URL bar and the padlock symbol, which also represents SSL, gives re-assurance to users.

SSL Types

Lets view the offerings of the SSL types, so that you could decide on the right SSL for your business needs.

  • OV – Organisation validated, carries out verification checks of the ‘Organisation’, by confirming the organisation owns the certificate and correlates the intended recipient. This is best suited SSL certificate type for medium sized businesses.
  • EV – Extended validated, which means that a higher level of assurance undergoes a more rigorous validation process. The EV can be recognised with a ‘Green’ web bar before the URL address, making it a reliable SSL certificate to go with. It’s recommended for sites conducting financial transactions, you can say it’s best SSL certificate for eCommerce.
  • DV – Domain validated, is an automated process for validation and not recommended for sites doing financial transactions. But it’s cheap SSL certificate and gets issues within a couple of minutes, making it ideal for info-based sites and small businesses.

Apart from the above discussed most common SSL certificate types, there are a couple more too – Wildcard and Shared certificates.

Wildcard certificates are utilised for unlimited sub-domains, which validates not only your home page, but those of all levels.

Shared certificates offer least protection, often free. They are not bound to a specific website but to a shared hosting service, with least protection, they could be adequate for you but not visitors.

Down to business – Top 10 most dependable SSL certificate providers

I’ve opted here to review 10 best SSL certification issuers out of the myriad available on the Internet, affordability, security and authority are some of the factors I considered to rank here. They are rated by a descending rate of stars, and more importantly, though cost may not be a prime factor, but it’s an important element.

Name Rating Starting price / 1yr in USD
SSL Type Warranty Visit Provider
Network solutions 5 $49.99 OV EV DV $1000000 More
Entrust 4.5 $155 EV OV $1000000 More
Symantec 4.5 $399 EV OV $1500000 More
Digicert 4 $195 OV EV DV $1000000 More
GeoTrust 4 $149 OV EV DV $500000 More
Thawte 4 $149.99 OV EV DV $1000000 More
Rapid SSL 3.5 $49 DV $1000000 More
Comodo 3.5 $64.59 OV EV DV $1000000 More
Geocerts SSL 3.5 $99 OV EV DV $500000 More
GoDaddy 3.2 $63.10 OV EV DV $1000000 More

Precis of the listed 10 suppliers

All the needed information like their price, SSL certificate types offered and warranty (in case of any mishap with your site) about the listed best SSL companies is pretty much clear within the table above I recon. But still, I’d like to provide you with some interesting insights into these SSL issuing authorities below:

  • Network solutions, are part of ‘web.com’ company.  In the bigger scheme of things, their diversity goes beyond just providing SSL solutions.  In fact they could harness your vision for providing the 360 degree solution for your web site, worthy of a visit.
  • Entrust, a forward thinking company that covers the breadth and diversity of industry and commerce alike.  Whether you’re seeking transactional security, secure mobile authentication, or SSL certificates amongst their offerings, here you’ll find the solution.
  • Symantec, acquired Verisign to add to their established pedigree.  From small to enterprise, Symantec have the solutions for your business.  Their products strive to manage data on this information driven planet, and to protect your business 24 x 7.
  • DigiCert, ‘Your success is built on trust’ is their motto.  From all avenues of industry and commerce, the common factor is that DigiCert is their Trusted security partner.  Their primary focus is for SSL innovation, providing all facets of requirements.
  • GeoTrust, are a focused business in providing the customer what their requirements are, reducing their risk and mandating a secure process.  A cost effective business whose products ensure ‘confidentiality and integrity’ remain paramount.
  • Thawte, acquired by Symantec they have this global leader at the helm and has become one of their trusted brands. The core business interacts with Symantec authentication infrastructure.  Trusted by millions worldwide, they’re a leading certificate authority.
  • Rapid SSL, is owned and operated by GeoTrust, who in their right state they are the ‘proven leader’ for low cost SSL.  Their mission is for customers to implement SSL is a seamless and tidy manner.  Size isn’t everything, it’s the quality that counts.
  • Comodo, built on trust and security as part of their foundation in their mission statement.  They strive on innovation as a key in their products for all spheres in the industry, commerce, health or education.  ‘Trust’ like their peers is key for their future.
  • Geocerts SSL, ‘Platinum’ partners with GeoTrust and Symantec reinforces the calibre of this security company.  They encourage potential customers to research their requirements, confident that your choice will be to do business with Geocerts SSL.
  • Go Daddy, their mission is clear, they firmly believe that promoting an affordable  mechanism for business to be securely on line.  A confident and proactive company, they firmly believe, achieving goal and growing confidently resides in their vision.

What is also a key factor here, is that I don’t want anyone to be seduced by this article, and that’s why against each vendor, they have been linked to their site. This way I’m giving you all the facts when it comes to decision time, (even though I have my own preference!!)

The overriding factor here is that it’s a ‘Business’ requirement and this will play an important part when you do your ‘Risk’ assessment. Be it functionality or cost, only you will know. Conversely, there could be legislative requirements which could play a key role, all allied to the ‘Cost’ and ‘Risk’.

Choosing SSL certificate

Selecting a certificate has to be an informed process, as you need to know exactly what you need, which has equal importance of knowing the types of certificates. Protecting your business is critical, but you need to ensure that you select the protection that you need, just like getting insurance. It’s a balancing act, driven by ‘risk’, buying the correct brand has more worth than trying to save pennies.

Delving into ‘E-commerce’ demands the highest premium, protecting your business and reputation are more than worth the outlay. It’s your integrity, equally your inviting businesses to do business with you.

As already stated, is the SSL visible and the HTTPS or maybe the green web bar. These are not just indicators for sites doing e-commerce, they are important even if you’re only protecting their email address or maybe IP numbers, these are still important factors.

Be conscientious about the validity of the certificate, after all even if you decide to close your business, there could still be financial gain back to you. But it’s very important that web browsers recognise your SSL certificate.

The more functionality the certificate offers has direct relationship to what you will be paying for and this must be accepted from your requirements.

Conclusion

It’s not the intent to be recommending a specific certificate, only you can decide the outcome. However, by astute investigation, risk assessment, business needs or legislative requirements could decide this.

There is no such thing as 100% secure, the continuum is focused on the cyber criminal. They’re technically aware, have focused intelligence gathering and are in fact prosperous, albeit on the dark side. Some certificate businesses have been compromised, an example being DigiNotar in 2011.

Verisign has been secured by Symantec, the package isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for a cheap SSL certificate, going with RapidSSL, GoDaddy or Netork Solutions would be best. Whether you’re in e-commerce or just need a certification for low level requirements, it’s your decision. Each will have its own strengths.

I’ve just reviewed this article, and you could quite rightly say that I’ve not actually reviewed each solution. It could be argued that I’ve been guilty of playing the devil’s advocate. Conversely, I put it to you to decide which is the best SSL authority for you! What is your business case? What is your risk assessment? These are variables only you would be aware of, therefore the answer lies with you.

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    10 best SSL certificate providers

    by Howard Smith time to read: 6 min
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