SSL Types


All three levels of SSL certification essentially do the same thing: they check the legitimacy of the domain owner and they enable the encryption of information exchanged on your website.

Where they differ is in the extent of vetting involved and, therefore, how long the validation takes to complete – from minutes for domain validation to up to...


All three levels of SSL certification essentially do the same thing: they check the legitimacy of the domain owner and they enable the encryption of information exchanged on your website.

Where they differ is in the extent of vetting involved and, therefore, how long the validation takes to complete – from minutes for domain validation to up to ten business days for extended validation – and how much confidence they command.

But it’s not a simple case of DV bad, OV okay, EV good – they all have their uses. It all depends on what sort of business you’re running and what you’re using the SSL certificate for.

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  • Domain Validated SSL (DV SSL) Certificates are affordable but effective way to protect your website and visitors. DV SSL offers standard data protection (40- to 256-bit encryption), but without the time consuming research required for other certificates. They are issued to anyone who is listed as the domain admin contact in the WHOIS record simply by sending an email to the contact email address. Domain Validated SSL certificates are usually issued within one day or less, but no company information is checked or displayed on the certificate.

  • Organization validated SSL certificates are recommended for public-facing websites that deal with less sensitive transactions or require log-in. Organization validated, also known as business or identity validated SSL, provides a stronger level of security because it includes authentication of the organization behind the domain. Estimated issuance time for OV SSL certificates is 3 to 5 business days.

  • Extended Validation SSL Certificates are the highest 'class' of SSL available. Sites with an EV SSL certificate have a green browser address bar and a field appears with the name of the legitimate website owner and the name of the security provider that issued the certificate. These clear visual cues reassure the visitor that they’re dealing with a legitimate site that cares about their security. EV is really a must-have for e-commerce and websites handling sensitive information.


     

  • Wildcard SSL Certificate can secure multiple Fully Qualified Domain Names if they share the same base domain name and share the same second level domain name.

  • Certificates that use Subject Alternative Names (SAN) are powerful tools that are available to secure multiple domain names inexpensively and efficiently. Certificates that use SAN are called Unified Communications certificates, and are commonly used with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, and Microsoft Communications Server. The purpose of a certificate with SAN is the same as that of other certificates, but instead of purchasing individual certificates for each domain name, you can add domain names in the SAN field, so they can share the same certificate. This saves an organization the cost of purchasing individual certificates and time spent managing multiple certificates.

  • Code signing certificates are digital certificates that will help protect users from downloading compromised files or applications. When a file or application signed by a developer is modified or compromised after publication, a popup browser warning will appear to let users know that the origin of the file or application cannot be verified.

  • Client (S/MIME) certificates are used to require multi-factor authentication. Unlike weak passwords, client certificates prove the identity of the user attempting to connect to a specific application, website, interface, or other system by using a digital signature. Once a server is configured for client certificate authentication, it will only grant user access to it if the client presents the correct client certificate. When using a web browser to connect to the server, without the correct client certificate, the client cannot even access the credentials page. Email client certificates have a public/private key pair. Your private key stays with you and is used to sign outgoing emails and decrypt incoming emails encrypted with your public key. Your public key is used to verify your signature and encrypt emails sent to you.

  • Document signing certificates allow you to add a digital signature to a document to prove the identity of the sender. This signature ensures you that the document hasn’t been altered, and that you can trust its contents. Unlike an e-signature, a digital signature is virtually impossible to forge. You’ll be able to sign documents in top programs, including Microsoft Office®, Adobe® Acrobat and Adobe Reader, LibreOffice®, and OpenOffice®.