Things to Consider Before You Buy an SSL Certificate

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Whether you need to buy an SSL certificate to secure your website with HTTPS because of compliance or to avoid customer complaints, purchasing the right SSL certificate is important. Jumping the gun and buying the first, cheapest SSL certificate you can find isn’t necessarily the smartest way to go about it. You see, buying an SSL certificate can be a bit like buying a car — if you buy the first one you find, it may end up not being the one you actually need.

SSL certificates come in several varieties and offer a variety of different functions and benefits. As such, it’s important to do your due diligence before purchasing an SSL cert for your site. Some of these differences between certificates include brands, warranties, support, verification levels, site seals, and price. Everyone’s needs are different, so SSL certificates are not a “one-size-fits-all” products.

With that being said, buying an SSL certificate doesn’t need to be complicated — but it should be an informed decision. To make your selection process easier, we’ve compiled a list of things that you should consider before you buy an SSL certificate:

Before Purchasing an SSL Certificate

Before you purchase an SSL certificate, there are a few things you need to be aware of in order to choose the right SSL certificate for you, such as the type of verification you want or how much warranty you need in case something goes wrong.

Here’s a list of four factors you need to consider when choosing your SSL certificate:

The Type of SSL Certificate You Need

There are several types of SSL certificates: single domain, multi domain, wildcard, and multi domain wildcard SSL certificates. Single domain SSL certificates are perfect for those who only need to cover a single domain, a great choice for small businesses or blogs. Multi domain certificates, on the other hand, allow you to manage multiple domains under a single certificate. This can be useful for larger companies with lots of different domain names, as their “one-for-all” nature make them easy to manage.

Wildcard certificates are similar to single domain certificates in the way that they cover a single domain, but they come with a twist — they cover an unlimited number of subdomains on a single level as well (ex: or, where mail and shop are the subdomains). Multi domain wildcard SSL certificate are also an option; they cover multiple domains as well as their multi-level subdomains under a single certificate.

The Level of Validation You Want Your Site to Have When You Buy an SSL Certificate

When it comes to SSL certificates, there are three different levels of validation, which dictate the visual clues your website has to prove that it is “secure.” These validation levels are:

  • Domain validated (DV) SSL certificates, which provide basic protection with no visual cues and no ties to your company. These certificates are perfect for those on a budget or who have basic websites that don’t collect personal information.
  • Organization validated (OV) SSL certificates, which provide basic business verification of the company who requests the SSL certificate at an affordable rate.
  • Extended validated (EV) SSL certificates, which provide the most visual cues and require the greatest level of business verification to acquire.

What Warranty, If Any, You Want to Protect Your Business

Depending of the level of validation you choose to go with, there will also be certificates with the same level of validation that will have different warranty amounts, although typically DV certificates carry up to a $20,000 warranty while EV certificates can carry warranties of upwards of $1.75 million dollars. This warranty covers any damages that may be caused by certificate authority-related errors, such as an outage at the issuing company’s headquarters that bring your site down.

The Brand or Certificate Authority Who Will Issue Your Certificate

After choosing your warranty amount, you’ll have to choose a brand. There’s a ton of companies that provide SSL certificate, but among the most trusted are RapidSSL, Symantec, GeoTrust, and Thawte. The brand you go with can impact warranty amounts, levels of validation, and most noticeably the site seal that you’ll be able to show on your site.

Gathering Information for the SSL Certificate

Now that you know what type of SSL certificate you need, it’s time to gather some information before purchase it. Here’s a brief list of what you’ll need:

  • Generate Your Certificate Signing Request (CSR). Assuming that your server is set up, you’ll need to generate your CSR next. The process to do so varies from server to server, but you can find out how to do this in our site knowledgebase.
  • Gather Validation Documents. Depending on the level of validation you choose to go with, the verification process can be as simple as clicking on a link that you receive after purchasing an SSL cert. However, OV and EV certificates require further validation documents such as business registration and sometimes even a physical inspection. We’ll let you know what the full list of documents is as soon as you purchase your SSL certificate, as it varies between types.

Where You Can Buy Your SSL Certificate

After gathering the appropriate documentation, you can go ahead and purchase your SSL certificate. RapidSSLOnline offers DV, OV, and EV SSL certificates from trusted brands such as Symantec, GeoTrust, and Thawte at a deep discount. This means you can save up to 86% on select certificates!

Save Up to 82% on SSL Certificates from RapidSSLonline!

Protect your website with an SSL Certificate from brands like RapidSSL, Symantec, GeoTrust, and Thawte.

Get a RapidSSL DV SSL certificate, starting at $12.42/year