A Comprehensive Guide To Different Types of SSL Certificates

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In our earlier guide, we learned basic, yet important things about SSL certificates.

In this guide, you will learn about different types of SSL certificates. Knowing this will help you to get the right SSL certificate for your blog, website, or organization.

The foremost thing that you need to keep in mind is:

  • SSL certificates are all about trust.

Useful SSL Related Terms To Know:

  • SSL: Secured Sockets Layer
  • CA: Certificate Authority
  • DV: Domain Validation
  • OV: Organization Validation
  • EV: Extended Validation
  • CSR: Certificate Signing Request

There are several types of SSL certificates. They can be grouped based on:

  1. Validation level
  2. Number of secured domains/subdomains

Types of SSL certificates based on validation level

Domain Validation

For this type of SSL certificate, domain validation is done using email or adding a DNS record.

In simple words, you need to validate your ownership of the domain name.

This kind of certificate can be obtained in a few minutes (or occasionally a few hours). This is ideal for those who don’t have an organization & no extra security is needed.

It’s the cheapest kind of SSL certificate and is recommended where security is not the most vital factor (i.e blogs).

DV:

  • Cheap
  • Obtained in a maximum of a few hours
  • Best for blogs and other non-sensitive websites

Organization Validation

This is the minimum certificate suggested for e-commerce portals.

The Certificate Authority (CA) validates domain ownership & other information through the use of public databases.

The major difference between DV & OV is the company validation is done by the Certificate Authority. It’s not as extensive as EV (detailed below), but potentially better than DV.

OV:

  • Requires 2-3 business days to activate
  • No clear advantage over DV certificates
  • Minimum for e-commerce portals

Extended Validation

This type of certificate is highly recommended for any website where a transaction is happening.

Obtaining the DV & OC certificates are easy, whereas EV certificates require a strict authentication process.

This type of certificate displays the organization the certificate was issued to in the browser.

Most banking, finance, and e-commerce site use EV certificates as it offers the most popular green HTTPS address bar.

You can read the Extended Validation SSL certificate guidelines here.

EV:

  • Takes about 7-10 days to activate
  • Recommended for organizations looking to have the popular green HTTPS address bar

Types of SSL certificates based on secured domains

This is going to be an important decision for anyone who is planning to buy an SSL certificate.

Apart from the above three, you also need to pick the certificate type based on domains & subdomains you have.

Let’s quickly look at the different types of SSL certificates based on supported hostnames.

Single Name SSL Certificate

Only a single hostname is secured with this SSL type.

For example, if you buy a certificate for domain.com, it will not secure docs.domain.com or shop.domain.com.

Note: A Single Name SSL Certificate can also be used to secure only a sub-domain.

Ex: You can secure shop.domain.com and not domain.com.

Wildcard SSL Certificate

This one secures unlimited sub-domains for a single domain.

For example: Purchasing a Wildcard SSL certificate for shoutmeloud.com will also allow me to secure:

  • pro.shoutmeloud.com
  • forum.shoumeloud.com
  • and so on…

However, it will not secure abc.pro.shoutmeloud.com.

Multi-domain SSL Certificate

A multi-domain SSL certificate supports all different domains & subdomains. 

This is highly recommended for those who have multiple domains & subdomains.

Unified Communications Certificate (UCC)

While doing the research for this article, I got to know more about this type of certificate.

UCCs allow customers to protect up to 100 domains using the same certificate.

Unified Communications Certificates are specifically designed to secure Microsoft® Exchange and Office communications environments.

Remember: Using one certificate for multiple domains doesn’t affect you in any way.

Popular websites to buy an SSL certificate:

In the upcoming days, we will learn even more about SSL certificates. So stay tuned!

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

30 thoughts on “A Comprehensive Guide To Different Types of SSL Certificates”

  1. As we all know by now, Google is giving a small rankings boost to sites using SSL. In the past month, I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people asking me whether they should implement SSL on their sites to benefit from this supposed increase in rankings.

  2. sugandha chejara

    If I have a blog with no products, no memberships, no nothing except blog posts and maybe a contact form, SSL would be a waste of time, effort, and money. Any possible benefit from Google would be too minuscule to count. Am I right Harsh?

  3. The type of SSL certificate required is based on the type of website you have. But people are not aware of that much and many of them use Domain validation certificate even on e-commerce or marketplace websites because it can be easily obtained and is usually free.

  4. Narayan Yaduvanshi

    And all I knew was 1 kind of ssl certificate given by your host provider. There is an NPM library also for generating free ssl certificates. Will share the link once I find it again.

  5. Hello Harsh, thank you for your feedback about SSL, i want to put my website in HTTPS and i have no idea for the moment. I think, i will try Let’s Encrypt because it’s free. Maybe upgrade to a better solution after.

  6. Hi Harsh,
    I am going to buy a multi lable SSL as I belong from “money making niches’ and have many domain under my name .
    Here I want to know what would the cost ? and where I can get cheapest SSL ?
    BTW It is an awesome post and keep the nice work on.
    P.S – I have share this awesome post in my LinkedIn group.

  7. shreshtha prakash gupta

    Very informative.I love your articles, your articles are amazing, relevant & helpful.Keep posting daily new articles

  8. Hey Harsh,

    I am a guy who install SSL for a small fee. Recently I am receiving too many orders, Everybody wants to install SSL on their blog or website. I know google considering SSL as a small raking signal. But why you dont have SSL on shoutmeloud.com?

  9. I have learned too many things from this post. Here you have described a varity of SSL Certificates. Really, this post was very needful for me to grow my knowledge about SSL Certificates. Thanks for sharing sir.

  10. Istiak Rayhan

    Great. Got a pretty much good idea on different types of SSL from this post. I think Domain Validation is good enough for bloggers like me.

    However, thanks for sharing this detailed post.

  11. Thanks Harsh
    Nice articles with full of noteworthy information.
    I had some confusion regarding ssl certificate , After reading your article It has been cleared.

  12. Harsh Sir, I would like to know whether Cloudflare SSL has any seo benefit over Other SSL Providers. Because I am unable to use Letsencrypt With Cloudflare Free Plan. Flexible SSL Changes DA to sni.cloduflare.com certificate

    Please Throw Some Light on SEO benefit of Cloudflare SSL and Is there any Work Around to Use LETSENCRYPT With Cloudflare SSL.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Saket
      You should be able to use LetsEnrypt with Cloudflare. Anyways, I’m publishing a detailed guide for the same in next 2 days.

  13. And all I knew was 1 kind of ssl certificate given by your host provider. There is an NPM library also for generating free ssl certificates.

  14. Hi guys,
    Just wanted to add a quick freebies tips suppose anyone wants to add SSL on his/her website and also if wanted to promote/affiliate SSL, best option just not to buy check wheather they are providing reseller/partnership option usually being a partner/Reseller they are giving FREE SSL for 1 year with premium support.

    Just test the services/support get special price and ofcourse FREE SSL too 😉

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Chandrakant
      I believe in you. It worked ..however in my case I was looking for EV SSL so got only 25% discount. I will look for more sites. Nice hack! 🙂

      1. Even I suffered with the same issue when I was looking for EV certificate for my site. Ev ssl generally cost higher than normal certificates with huge margin. However I could manage to find cheapsslshop.com where I paid less than 80 USD per year when I took cert for two years. Apparently this was the cheapest option for Ev ssl two months back.

  15. Harsh,
    Your posts really helped me achieve something in blogging. Now i plan to buy an SSL Certificate for my tech related niche blog. My domain registrar is Godaddy. Which type of SSL certificate should i buy and from where?

    1. @SHIJIL
      You can always choose and Domain Validated Certificate for Blog as OV and EV needs some Legal Documents to be Submitted.

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