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I need a SSL certificate for a new site I'm building and I have to choose a SSL provider. What to look for when choosing and what's your experience dealing with them?

Thanks!

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What kind of site are you working on? Do you need the cert to just encrypt connections, or also to verify the identity of your site / company? It makes a difference in which cert to pick, as well as (unfortunately) the price. –  Tim Post Jul 30 '10 at 9:09
    
I need it to encrypt connections and to verify the identity as well. –  Alex Jul 30 '10 at 9:14

6 Answers 6

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Certificates are priced and issued depending on your need. Lower end certificates are good for simply providing an encrypted connection for your visitors, useful when you collect personally identifiable information that is not financially related. The verification process to get one of these is usually very simple:

  • The certificate company looks up the contact e-mail for your domain (via whois)
  • The certificate company sends you an e-mail to verify the SSL request
  • You verify the request and they deliver your cert shortly after

If your site is e-commerce related, where users have to put in credit card / bank information to complete transactions (even if you don't store it, which I hope you would not), the certificate needs to do more than just encrypt the connection, it needs to verify the identity of your company. These certificates are of a higher grade, and require more work to verify before being issued. Hence, they are considerably more expensive.

Any SSL certificate provider is going to offer both kinds, and more. Your decision, however should be mostly based on browser compatibility. Don't go for something $20 less just to find out that it doesn't work with an older version of IE or Safari. You'd be amazed how many people still actually use IE6. The flip side of that is ensure compatibility with newer browsers, such as Google Chrome.

RapidSSL or GeoTrust is usually a good place to start, or your hosting / registrar company may offer them to existing customers at a slightly lower cost. Just make sure that you buy one that is appropriate for the scenario at hand.

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+1 Very thorough. Tim is right a lot of people still use old browsers. IE6 is still used by almost 10% of people and won't be going away any time soon because of certain enterprise software made specifically for it. –  RandomBen Jul 30 '10 at 13:47
    
I do agree with your comment and want to add one point: Just go for Authority Certificates and search for their resellers who are providing same ssl certificate with huge discount. That can definitely save some $$. You can find many resellers buy searching in Google...All the best –  sophie Sep 10 '12 at 6:58

If you are just trying to secure your connection you want to get the cheapest cert you can find.

At GoDaddy ssl cert only cost $30 a year which is cheaper than anywhere else I have found and they have a nice manager app and they work well in all browsers.

I have also found that if you search for ssl certificate in google you can find an ad from GoDaddy that offers the cert for even less ($12.99) a year.

When I build sites and all I need is the encryption for logins or a secure form this is what I use.

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Godaddy's regular price is $50/year. I couldn't find the Godaddy ad that sells them for $12.99. It would be nice if you could link to it directly. However, I know that DreamHost offers the same for $15/year as their regular price. –  Lèse majesté Nov 18 '10 at 17:13

One word: StartCom

http://cert.startcom.org/

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auth.startssl.com on Firefox 7 says: "Secure Connection Failed, An error occurred during a connection to auth.startssl.com. SSL peer was unable to negotiate an acceptable set of security parameters. (Error code: ssl_error_handshake_failure_alert)" –  stivlo Nov 9 '11 at 5:04

startssl.com is free and good supported. Maybe you wanna check this. Otherwise - like Sruly written - goDaddy is a cheap and good ssl provider.

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The free StartSSL cert doesn't seem to work with the default browser on Android :( –  Jonas May 14 '11 at 12:05

I switched to http://www.digicert.com Extended SSL for our eCommerce sites.

I used to use Verisign and Thawte.com but found digicert to be great and support is very good. If you don't need the extended (green bar) SSL I think any of the providers like GoDaddy and the like will do.

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There are different type of SSL Certificate are available in the market. so buyer are confused which SSL Certificate is best for them like you question here. If your want to secure your domain plus subdomain then i recommend you to use Wildcard SSL. In short it's all depending on what type of requirement you have.

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protected by John Conde Jun 2 '11 at 14:58

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