Are All SSL Certificates the Same?

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Does your website need DV, OV or EV certificates? Not sure how to answer? 

If the alphabet soup of digital validation has you confused, you’re not alone. While most of us recognize that secure socket layer (SSL) is a form of encryption that’s usually associated with eCommerce, few non-tech professionals could say exactly what that is and what it does. 

Don’t worry. We’re here to cut through the confusion so that you can choose the level of authentication that’s right for your type of website and traffic. 

What Exactly is Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Authentication?

It’s no big secret that crimes like cryptojacking and online scams are part of life in the age of information. Website validation lends an air of trustworthiness to your web presence. When you type a domain into the URL bar, your web browser and the web host’s server exchange information that tells your browser whether the website is safe for you to visit. 

Though not every website exchanges sensitive financial or personal information with users, sometimes just having your domain validated is enough to bolster your authenticity in a casual visitor’s eyes. If you’re engaged in any sort of eCommerce, such validation is essential for providing an extra layer of protection to your overall cybersecurity plan.

Look at the URL bar of the website you’re reading this article on right now. In front of the hypertext transfer protocol secure (https) prefix, you’ll see a little padlock icon. Clicking on this icon will tell you several things about our website:

        ✔ We have a valid security certificate

        ✔ That we use cookies and how many

        ✔ Information about site settings

You’ll also see a statement verifying that our connection is secure and our website is safe to use if you’re providing personal or financial information. At a minimum, any website you visit should include the “S” for secure at the end of the hypertext prefix and have that little padlock in front of the address. 

What Do the Various Certificates Mean?

Not seeing any signs of a secured, validated web presence could mean that visitors leave your website and never come back. In some cases, your web browser will issue a warning and prevent traffic from accessing your website at all. 

Each letter in the first part of the validation type means that the organization behind the website has gone through a different level of scrutiny to verify their correct identity. 

There are three main types of SSL certificates, each offering a different level of secured data transmission in conjunction with trusted encryption methods. 

Domain Validated (DV) Certificates

This is the most basic form of website validation. It’s a very low cost or free, and it’s a great option for websites that exist to entertain or inform the public. With this level of validation, you’ll know that a certification authority (CA) has investigated your domain name and can verify that it belongs to the entity listed on Whois

Website owners can obtain a DV certificate in just a few minutes, and it will cost just a few dollars a year to get one. Having a DV provides transparency and establishes a trust that you are who you say you are. It will also help with your technical SEO by telling Google that your domain name has been viewed and investigated for authenticity by a trusted authority.  

Organization Validated (OV) Certificates

This type of validation offers a middle ground between basic authentication and the type coveted by large enterprises that want to conduct online business in the most authenticated way. If you sell merchandise or provide paid services online, but you’re not a big corporation, this is a good option for you. 

It scours government websites and other online resources to certify that your domain is legit and that you are a legally registered business entity. For individuals, this is the highest level of verification you can obtain, That’s true for many businesses as well. 

This route uses a slightly longer and more involved validation process than the simple online form used for DV certificates, and it will cost you a little more each year to keep it. But, you will gain a solid ROI in terms of trust and transparency. 

Extended Validation (EV) Certificates

If you own a large corporation or are engaged in high-level eCommerce, this is the type of validation you need. To obtain an extended validation certificate, you’ll have to perform all of the steps required for an OV and EV certificate plus a few more. Unlike OV certificates, an extended validation can be used for multiple domains. You’ll know that a website has this credential by the green address bar that appears after you type in the URL. 

An EV certificate is usually used by the largest corporations and government entities.

Can a Certificate Be Denied or Revoked?

Yes. If your domain registration and corporate status can’t be verified, you’ll be denied. When the CA determines that it has erroneously issued a certificate, or the domain is associated with malicious activity or bad business practices, it can be revoked and put on a list. You can repair your certificate by submitting a form stating that any discrepancies have been fixed and asking for re-validation. 

Final Thoughts

From advanced password protection to SSL, not all encryption serves the same purpose. However, just seeing that certificate posted on your website boosts consumer confidence and offers peace of mind to visitors. You don’t need to understand the technology behind it in order to reap the advantages, but it will benefit you to know how the different types enhance security so you can choose the best one for your online environment. 

We invite you to register for free to our Reseller Control Panel and check the most attractive prices for SSL certificates provided by Openprovider.

Samuel Bocetta,
Industry expert

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