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I've been comparing prices of different SSL certificates and found a massive difference in prices between different providers.

If we take http://www.namecheap.com/learn/other-services/ssl-certificates.asp as an example, what would be the advantage of going for the Geotrust certificate for $48.88/year over the RapidSSL $9.95/year option?

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you can get a free 1 year domain SSL from startcom.org, if the root cert is trusted by the browser then they will display the padlock, go for a cheap one or free one. –  ollybee Apr 25 '11 at 8:32
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3 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

A few things. In theory, the better and more expensive SSL providers are supposed to validate who you are in some way and vouch for your identity. This takes time and manual effort and thus costs more.

Traditionally manual validation (as used by VeriSign, Thawte, Entrust) has been cumbersome, long winded and expensive for the SSL Provider and therefore the purchaser. Automated validation (as used by GeoTrust and GoDaddy) is faster and more cost-effective, yet does not provide the level of assurance expected by consumers relying on SSL - For example GeoTrust's QuickSSL Certificates only validate the applicant's right to use a domain name and not the legitimacy of the company itself.

There's also some crazy new type of SSL cert which does "extended validation" and is much MUCH more expensive.

https://www.verisign.com/ssl/ssl-information-center/ev-ssl-certificate/index.html

An EV SSL Certificate gives customers more confidence that they are interacting with a trusted Web site and that their information is secure. An EV SSL Certificate triggers high-security Web browsers to display your organization’s name in a green address bar and show the name of the Certificate Authority that issued it.

The cheaper SSL providers do little to no validation of identity which may or may not matter to you (or your users).

Honestly, when we use SSL it's for the encryption, not for a web of trust.

(One valid reason to pay for a more expensive SSL cert is when it's a wildcard cert so it works on all *.example.com domain websites you may ever have. The regular SSL certs are only good for one specific address.)

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Yea, we once looked into getting a wildcard SSL certificate, but unless you need SSL on dozens of subdomains, it's not worth it. Frankly, the wildcard certs are a bit of scam. It doesn't take any more work from the CA and is similar to web hosts charging extra for subdomains. Also, for most webmasters, the biggest consideration when choosing a CA ought to be whether it's recognized by all major browsers. After all, you can use a self-signed certificate if you just want the encryption, but most people don't want their customers scared away by scary "untrusted CA" warnings. –  Lèse majesté Oct 14 '10 at 10:37
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There no more difference between both GeoTrust and RapidSSL because there are common purpose for secure your website data by SSL Certificate.

But RapidSSL is for entry level website certificate and GeoTrust is for make a confidence to customer that their data is secure under ssl certificate.

When you buy it from official site it is very expensive but if you choose from reseller than you get same ssl certificate @ very low prices.

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In terms of security there isn't any difference.

What you really buy is the certification's company verification that persuades your customers you are trustworthy. That is why Verisign sells the same services for x10 the amount of others.

Also in higher-priced certificates there is an extra level of verification (where you need to send company verification documents, there is a check for the domain owner if the credentials match etc). And usually they give you a fancier banner to put on your website.

There are also the Extended Validation Certificates (EV) where most browsers make the address bar green and clearly identify your website/company.

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