Ok, so I'm thinking about getting in on the SSL action, so that my sites can be secure etc, and after hours of shopping for the best priced certificate, I find out that StartSSL offer a free one.

One of the responses to this question states:

The most significant downside of the free certificate is that, last I checked, Internet Explorer did not recognize StartCom as a root CA, so if you use a StartSSL certificate, visitors to your site who use IE will get a certificate warning.

At the base of their website, startCom state that they are recognised by most major browsers, including IE.

Can anyone verify this?

Also, does anyone know of any sites using such a certificate, so that I can see for myself next time I'm in the public library, where they have ancient machines that run early versions of IE.

Finally, lets say for arguments sake that IE6, in the year 2010, didn't recognise StartCom, does this mean that IE6 in 2012 still doesn't recognise them? Is the list of recognised CA's hard-coded into the browser, or is the list independent of the browser version? Which versions of IE do recognise StartCom is probable the best way to phrase that, I guess.


1 Answer 1


StartCom are in the Microsoft list of root certificate issuers. The process whereby the certificates get updated is described here. In brief - the certificates used by IE are recognised by the operating system, not on the browser version. If this IE6 is on XP, and the XP machine received Windows updates, then it could be that they weren't recognised in 2010, but are in 2012.

  • 3
    Just to clarify "the certificates are recognised by the operating system, not on the browser version", that's for IE (the topic of this question, of course), not browsers in general. (Firefox uses its own list of trust anchors, which is updated depending on the version.)
    – Bruno
    Jun 16, 2012 at 11:29

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