Different Types of SSL Certificates
What is an SSL certificate?
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that verifies a website’s identity and allows for an encrypted connection between the website and the browser. In other words, an SSL certificate supporting a TLS connection ensures the distant connection’s identity, and that only the sender and recipient can read or modify the content sent through the secure connection. An SSL certificate serves as both a passport and a key, verifying the identity of the site owner who requires SSL and allowing for strong encryption.
Certificate authorities are the entities that issue SSL certificates. A certificate authority (CA) is a reputable company that certifies a website’s authenticity.
Different Types of SSL certificates
There are different types of SSL certificates with different validation levels. The 5 main types are:
- Extended Validation certificates (EV SSL)
- Organization Validated certificates (OV SSL)
- Domain Validated certificates (DV SSL)
- Wildcard SSL certificates (WC SSL)
- Multi-Domain certificate (MD SSL)
This is the most expensive and highest-ranking SSL certificate. It’s usually reserved for high-profile websites that collect data and accept payments online. The address bar displaying the website owner’s information aids in distinguishing the site from fraudulent sites. To obtain an EV SSL certificate, the website owner must go through a defined identity verification process to ensure they are legally entitled to the domain’s exclusive rights.
This type of SSL certificate has a similar level of confidence as the EV SSL certificate since it requires the website owner to go through a lengthy certification process. To distinguish malicious sites, this sort of certificate also displays the website owner’s information in the address bar. The major aim of OV SSL certificates (after EV SSLs) is to encrypt the user’s sensitive information during transactions. To ensure that any customer information exchanged stays confidential, commercial or public-facing websites must install an OV SSL certificate.
Domain Validation SSL certificates have a lower level of assurance and encryption because the validation technique is straightforward. This SSL certificate is one of the most affordable and simple to purchase. The validation method just requires website owners to respond to an email or a phone call to establish domain ownership. The browser address bar only shows HTTPS and a padlock, but no company name.
Wildcard SSL certificate can secure a base domain as well as an unlimited number of sub-domains. If you need to secure several subdomains, a Wildcard SSL certificate is substantially less expensive than purchasing separate SSL certificates for each. The popular name of wildcard SSL certificates includes an asterisk *, which indicates any valid sub-domains with the same base domain.
A Multi-Domain certificate protects many domains and/or sub-domain names. Except for local/internal domains, this covers the combination of entirely unique domains and sub-domains with different TLDs (Top-Level Domains). For instance:
Sub-domains are not supported by default in multi-Domain certificates. Both hostnames should be mentioned when getting the certificate if you need to secure both www.example.com and example.com with one multi-Domain certificate.
How to obtain an SSL certificate
A Certificate Authority can provide SSL certificates directly (CA). They’re crucial to how the internet works and how transparent, trustworthy exchanges may take place online.
Depending on the level of security you desire, an SSL certificate might cost anywhere from free to hundreds of dollars. After you’ve decided on the sort of certificate you need, look for Certificate Issuers that provide SSLs at the level you need.
The following are the steps to getting your SSL:
- Prepare by setting up your server and confirming that your WHOIS record is up to current and matches the information you’ll be sending to the Certificate Authority (it needs to show the correct company name and address, etc.)
- On your server, create a Certificate Signing Request (CSR). This is something that your hosting company can help you with.
- This will be submitted to the Certificate Authority for validation of your domain and company information.
- Once the process is complete, install the certificate they offer.
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