What Are the Different Types of SSL Certificates?

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SSL certificates come in all different flavors. They’re not quite as prolific as, say, Baskin Robbins, but there’s an SSL certificate for every need and use case. This article will describe the different types of SSL certificate and what they should be used for.

SSL Certificate Types: Validation Level

Let’s break down SSL types by their individual validation levels. There are three levels of validation available for SSL certificates. Here’s what you need to know about each:

  • Domain Validation (DV) — This first type of validation simply verifies the domain. These are good basic certificates for use in testing environments, on blogs and with brochure websites.
  • Organization Validation (OV) — The OG of SSL, OV requires an organization to undergo a standard business vetting. Verified organization information is displayed within the certificate. These are good for use in enterprise intranet environments, with wildcard certificates, and for IP addresses.
  • Extended Validation (EV) — The highest level of validation, EV requires a thorough business vetting before issuance. It displays verified organization information within the browser itself. These are ideal for any public-facing site where asserting identity is a priority.

We suggest using OV and EV on all public-facing websites. Trust is the foundation of any business relationship and trust starts with identity. They can’t trust you if they don’t know you are!

SSL Certificate Types: Functionality

For all intents and purposes there are four different kinds of certificates in terms of functionality:

  • Single Domain Certificates — As the name implies, these certificates cover a single domain in both their WWW and non-WWW iterations.
  • Multi Domain Certificates — Via the use of the SAN field, these certificates can encrypt multiple domains at once. Up to 250, in fact.
  • Wildcard Certificates — SSL for subdomains. By placing an asterisk at the desired subdomain level when creating your CSR this certificate can secure a domain and all of its subdomains at the designated level.
  • Multi Domain Wildcard Certificates — The jack of all trades, this certificate can secure up to 250 different domains AND their subdomains with the use of wildcard SANs.

What SSL Certificate Type is the Best?

It depends on what you’re using it for. If you want your SSL certificate to offer the most security, single domain EV certificates are the way to go. Re-using the same key pair across multiple domains or subdomains makes it more vulnerable to parallel attacks that can crack the private key.

On the other hand, if cost is your primary concern, wildcards and multi domain certificates let you do more with less, which consolidates certificate management and makes renewals a bit easier.

Of course, if you buy from us cost is a lot less of a concern. We get better pricing than you do from our CA partners. Then we turn around and sell those certificates at razor thin margins so you can save up to 85% off MSRP. So, if cost is your concern, we’ve got something to show you.

Learn About the Different Types of SSL Certificates

There’s a lot to know about SSL certificates and their validation levels. We’ve got you covered.

Learn More About the Types of SSL Certificates

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