A Comparison of DV, OV and EV SSL Certificates

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What is DV OV EV SSL certificate? Which one is right for my website? 

In this article, we have everything you need to know about DV, OV, and EV SSL certificates so that you can choose the right one for your website. An SSL (secure socket layer) certificate — also known as TLS (transport layer security) certificate or security certificate — offers two main functionalities:  

1) Encryption: An SSL certificate facilitates the encryption of the communication channel for of all incoming and outgoing data between a website and its users using public key infrastructure (PKI). The encryption algorithm SHA-2 is the same for all the SSL certificates. No matter the type, brand, or price! 

2) Verification: Before issuing an SSL certificate, the certificate authority (CA) makes sure it is tying the public keys to the same website as it claims to be. The applicant/business must pass through a verification process conducted by the CA to get an SSL certificate. It is a crucial step to protect website visitors from the phishing attacks. The SSL certificates are categorized into three types as per the verification process:  

  • domain validation (DV),  
  • organization validation (OV), and  
  • extended validation (EV).  

Let’s Understand the Key Differences Between DV, OV and EV SSL Certificates  

Domain Validated SSL Certificates 

With a DV SSL certificate, the certificate authority verifies whether the applicant controls the website. To do this, the CA will send an email with a verification link to the email addresses which are accessible to only authorized person/s in the company, such as [email protected] or [email protected] The CA may ask you to place some verification files on a specific location on your server. Once the applicant proves their domain authority, then only the CA issues the DV SSL certificate for their website.  

Issuance time: The verification process is automated and can be completed within minutes.  

Price: DV SSL certificates are the cheapest type of SSL certificates. You can get them for as little as $12.42 per year from one of the most reputed certificate authorities, RapidSSL.  

Suitable for: Personal blogs, informative websites, startups, and small businesses. 

Not suitable for: Websites that take users’ financial information (credit card/debit card numbers, bank details, tax info) or personally identifiable information (PII) such as names, email ids, passwords, physical address, phone numbers, date of birth, etc.). Also, not suitable for the websites handling health records of the patients.  

Free SSL option: Available. But site seals -TrustLogo and warranty are not offered with free DV SSL certificates. 

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Organization Validated SSL Certificates  

With OV SSL certificates, the CA will verify that the website is owned by a legitimate legal entity. The organizations must pass through the following processes to get an OV SSL certificate:  

  • Domain Authentication (same as DV SSL certificate) 
  • Organization Authentication 
  • Locality Presence 
  • Telephone Verification 

Issuance time: The verification process can take one to three days. The CA will verify the information through an online government database in your local municipality, state, or country.   

Price: OV SSL certificates are more expensive than the DV SSL certificates because of the more in-depth and manual verification process. The starting rate is $77.61 per year for certificates issued by Thawte. 

Suitable for: Medium to large organizations and non-profits that accept donations/charity online. Websites that collect confidential information through checkout pages or online forms should choose OV over DV SSL certificates. 

OV is the highest level of validation available for wildcard SSL certificates. According to CA/B forum’s guidelines, a wildcard SSL doesn’t offer extended validation (EV) option Free SSL: Not available  

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Extended Validated SSL Certificate 

EV SSL certificates are considered premium security certificates within the industry. Here, the verification process is more rigorous than that required for OV SSL certificates. Plus, only the organizations operating for more than three years and are in good standing are eligible to get an EV SSL certificate (without additional verification steps).   

Browsers like Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, etc. show the organization’s legal operating name on the address bar before the URL. The latest version of Chrome and Mozilla shows the organization’s name on the certificate after the users click on the padlock sign. 

For example, here’s how the web address bar and security indicators display in Internet Explorer: 

security indicators in browser
security indicators in web address bar

Issuance time: One to five days. If the CA is not satisfied with the online government database records, you will be asked to provide official registration documents, Dun & Bradstreet, or professional opinion letters. If that happens, the verification process can take up to five days. 

Price: EV SSL certs are the most expensive category of certificates.  The most affordable EV SSL certificates are offered by GeoTrust, which are available for as little as $137.54 per year.  

Free SSL: Not available  

Suitable for: Large businesses and organizations, financial institutions, healthcare institutions 

Note: Extended validation is not available for wildcard and multi domain wildcard SSL certificates.   

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DV, OV, and EV SSL Certificates: A Comparison Summary  

 RapidSSL Certificate Thawte SSL Web Server Certificate GeoTrust True BusinessID with EV Certificate 
Validation Type Domain Validation  Organization Validation  Extended Validation 
Encryption Strength   256 bits  256 bits  256 bits  
RSA Signature Key  2048 bits  2048 bits  2048 bits  
Validation Procedure  By clicking on the validation link in the email  or  placing validation files on the server  By providing registration details, proof of physical address, phone number, etc. Sometimes professional opinion letters (POLs) or Dun & Bradstreet credit reports are also required. Same as DV + OV validation procedures + proof of business’s operation for more than three years 
Validation Time  Within Minutes  1-3 Days   1-5 Days   
Usage  Personal websites, blogs, and informative websites  Medium to large business organizations and non-profits that accept donations/charity online. Large business organizations, financial institutions, healthcare institutions 
Price   Starting from $12.42/year  With a $10,000 warranty  Starting from $77.61/year  With $1,250,000 warranty Starting from $137.54/year  With $1,500,000 warranty 
Free Options Available   Yes  No  No  
Site Seals  Static   Dynamic  Dynamic  
Available in Wildcard SSL Certificate Yes  Yes  No 
Available in Multi Domain SSL Certificate  Yes Yes  Yes 
 Buy Now  Buy Now  Buy Now