10 Best SSL Certificate Providers (Certification authority)


Written by Jason Chow .  . 
Article Last Updated: September 19, 2018

An SSL certificate is very much a big deal because if you don’t have one, it will hurt your website and your business.

You might think to yourself, “how bad could it be to not have an SSL certificate?”

Very bad. For starters, it tells your visitors and potential customers that your website is not trustworthy, unreputable and that your company might not be a legitimate business.

And more importantly, it means that you are not protecting your customer’s sensitive data. By not having an SSL certificate installed, you’re exposing your customers to potential dangers such as stealing unencrypted passwords, credit card details and other sensitive information from your website.

Therefore, SSL certificate has become an important tool that every website owner should have if you want to build a website.

In this article, we’ll give you the list of the 10 best SSL certificate provider on the market and talk about the things you need to know before buying an SSL certificate.

 


 

 

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Google announced that starting in July 2018, Chrome browser will label all websites not using HTTPS encryption as “not secure”.

Search engines such as Google will flag those websites without SSL certificate installed as being “Not secure” and will hurt your SEO efforts as well.

Best SSL Certificate Provider to Buy from in 2018

There are plenty of Certificate Authorities (CA) that you can go for securing an SSL certificate on your website.

The 10 that we’ve listed below (in no particular order of preference) are the places that we’d recommend that you go to get an SSL certificate as they are some of the best on the web.

10 Best SSL certificate options with benefits and costs

1. GoDaddy

While GoDaddy is more known for being a domain registrar with aggressive discounts for its first-time customers, they also offer SSL certification services. Their SSL certificates are often issued online within minutes and come with a 256-bit encryption.

Benefits:

  • Padlock in the address bar
  • Protects unlimited servers
  • Display a security seal
  • Unlimited free reissues
  • 24/7 security support
  • Strongest SHA2 & 2048-bit encryption
  • Up to $1 million liability protection

Certificate type & Pricing:

  • Protect one website (DV) – $74.99 /yr $59.99 /yr
  • Protect all subdomains (Wildcard) – $349.99 /yr $279.99 /yr
  • Extended Validation SSL (EV) – $199.99 /yr $99.99 /yr
  • Protect multiple websites – $169.99 /yr $135.99 /yr

GoDaddy SSL

Visit GoDaddy SSL


2. Namecheap

Similar to GoDaddy, Namecheap is more famously known as a domain registrar that offers domain names at affordable prices. And just like GoDaddy, they also offer services beyond that, which includes SSL certificates.

Benefits:

  • Free SSL replacement with no payment required
  • Complete range of SSL certificate types
  • Advance SHA algorithm
  • Robust security with 256-bit encryption
  • Free, unlimited reissues
  • No paperwork required for DV certificates
  • Warranty up to $1.75 million
  • Specialized customer support for SSL products

Certificate type & Pricing

  • PositiveSSL (DV) – $8.88 /yr
  • Essential SSL (DV) – $29.00 /yr $18.88 /yr
  • InstantSSL (OV) – $39.00 /yr $20.88 /yr
  • EssentialSSL Wildcard – $99.90 /yr $74.88 /yr
  • EV SSL (EV) – $145.00 /yr $78.88 /yr

Namecheap SSL

Visit Namecheap SSL


3. GlobalSign

Founded in 1996 and based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA, GlobalSign is one of the more popular SSL Certificate Authority in the market.

GlobalSign established themselves as a well-reputed identity service company by providing cloud-based PKI solutions to business who wants their website to have secure connections, conduct safe e-commerce transactions, and perfect content delivery to its users and customers.

Benefits:

  • The same certificate to use for www.domain.com and domain.com
  • Using SHA-256 and 2048 bit RSA keys encryption
  • Over 2.5M certificates issued worldwide
  • WebTrust accredited CA since 2001
  • Free SSL installation and management tools
  • Up to $1.5 million warranty
  • ECC support available

Certificate type & Pricing:

  • Domain SSL- $249 /yr
  • Organization SSL – $349 /yr
  • Extended SSL – $599 /yr
  • Wildcard SSL – $849 /yr

GlobalSign SSL

Visit GlobalSign


4. Comodo

Comodo offers both free and paid SSL certificates for small and medium-sized businesses. Some of the SSL certificates that they issue includes Comodo SSL, EV SSL, Wildcard Certificates and UC Certificates.

Using Comodo WildCard SSL, you can basically cover all of your subdomains. If you’re not satisfied with their services, they offer a 30-day money back guarantee so you can try without any worries.

Benefits:

  • A single certificates for both domain.com and www.domain.com
  • Using SHA-256 and 2048 bit RSA keys encryption
  • Audited and WebTrust since 2001
  • Install the certificate on unlimited servers
  • Immediate issuance once the domain control is verified
  • 24/7 support – live chat, phone or email
  • Warranty up to $2 million

Certificate type & Pricing:

  • Domain Validation – $49 /yr
  • DV (Wildcard) – $249 /yr
  • DV (Multiple-domain) – $165 /yr
  • Organization Validation – $99.95 /yr
  • Extended Validation – $149 /yr

5. DigiCert

The company motto for DigiCert is “Your success is built on trust”. This should give you a good idea of how seriously they take security. With a primary focus on SSL innovation, DigiCert aims to be the trusted security partner for all avenues of industry and commerce.

DigiCert was also the founding member of the CA/Browser Forum, and it’s one of the few authorities involves in developing new SSL technology. The SSL certificates that they provide are OV Certificates, EV Certificates, and even DV Certificates for smaller businesses or websites.

Benefits:

  • Trusted company – member of CA/Browser Forum
  • Secure both www.domain.com and domain.com
  • Free unlimited reissues for the lifetime
  • SHA-2 algorithm and 256-bit encryption
  • Free tools available for certificate management
  • Fast certificate issuance – within hours
  • Award-winning customer support

Certificate type & Pricing:

  • Standard SSL -$175 /yr
  • EV SSL – $295 /yr
  • Multi-Domain SSL – $299 /yr
  • Wildcard SSL – $595 /yr

DigiCert

Visit Digicert


6. Thawte

Thawte has been known for providing affordable SSL certificates as well as 17 years of reliability. They offer a comprehensive list of SSL products which includes EV, OV, DV, SGC, Wildcard, and even SAN SSL certificates.

As a low-cost SSL certificate provider, Thawte SSL plans are priced reasonably with their cheapest going for $149 per year which includes a number of features such as 256-bit encryption. There is an option available to add Wildcard to the plan with additional charges

Benefits:

  • Thawte free trial SSL certificate for 21-day
  • Company’s site seal logo available
  • Install the certificate on unlimited servers
  • Free re-issue certificate at no extra charge
  • Tools to help you manage and install the certificate
  • 99% browser compatibility
  • Warranty up to $1.5 million

Certificate type & Pricing:

  • SSL Web Server – $199 /yr
  • SSL Web Server with EV – $299 /yr
  • SSL 123 – $149 /yr

7. GeoTrust

At GeoTrust, you can opt for a number of SSL certificates which include True BusinessID with EV, True BusinessID, True BusinessID Wildcard, and QuickSSL premium. Among them all, True BusinessID with EV is the recommended SSL certificate with the highest assurance and warranty at a competitive price.

Startups and small business would find GeoTrust pricings attractive, plus they offer a number of features such as 256-bit encryptions, extended validation, warranty ranging from $100,000 to $1.5 million, 99% browsers compatibility, and unlimited customer support.

Benefits:

  • GeoTrust 30 days free trial SSL certificate
  • Short certificate issuance time
  • Certificate management console
  • Up to 256-bit encryption, 2048-bit root
  • Green browser address bar available
  • Warranty up to $1.5 million
  • Free SSL expert support

Certificate type & Pricing

  • True BusinessID (OV) – $199 /yr
  • True BusinessID (EV) – $229 /yr
  • True BusinessID Wildcard (OV) – $599 /yr
  • QuickSSL Premium (DV) – $149 /yr
  • QuickSSL Premium Wildcard (DV) – $745 /yr

GeoTrust SSL

Visit GeoTrust


8. SSL.com

SSL.com is a 5-star rated certificate authority that was founded back in 2002. They offer a wide range of digital certificates such as SSL/TSL server certificates, document signing code signing, and S/MIME email certificates.

Being a leading authority in the industry, SSL.com offers a number of features for its users, such as 256-bit SHA2 https AES encryption, free site seal, 24/7 support, and free unlimited certificate reissues during the lifetime of the certificate.

Benefits:

  • Automated validation for Basic SSL
  • Protect both domain.com and www.domain.com
  • Unlimited server license and reissues
  • Up to $2 million relying party warranty
  • Within 5 minute issuance of certificate
  • Up to 90 days of carryover time
  • Phone, chat and email support available

Certificate type & Pricing:

  • Basic – $36.75 /yr
  • High assurance (OV) – $48.80 /yr
  • Premium (up to 3 subdomains) – $74.25 /yr
  • Multiple domains  – $141.60 /yr
  • Wildcard certificate – $224.25 /yr

9. Entrust

Entrust considers themselves as a forward-thinking company that provides security in a wide breadth of diverse industries. They provide security solutions for those in need of transactional security, secure mobile authentication, and of course, SSL certificates. They offer EV and OV certificates with prices starting at $174 per year.

Benefits:

  • SHA-2 signing algorithms
  • RSA 2048 bit / 3072 bit / 4096 bit key
  • Security features included protecting against website vulnerabilities
  • Unlimited server licensing and reissues
  • Site seal security with the real-time check
  • Certificate management platform
  • Optional platinum support 24x7x365

Certificate type & Pricing:

  • Standard (OV) – $174 /yr
  • Advantage OV – $182 /yr
  • EV multi-domain – $373 /yr
  • Wildcard (OV) – $609 /yr

10. Network Solutions

Established in 1979 and headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, USA, Network Solutions have constantly evolved their SSL services throughout the years and continues to provide the lowest priced SSL certificates for users.

Especially when it comes to multi-year term SSL certificates, Network Solutions offers some of the more affordable pricing in the market. For example, their nsProtect Secure Express will only set you back $59.99 for a 2-year term. In comparison, GoDaddy offers similar services that cost $74.49 per year.

Benefits:

  • 256-bit encryption
  • Guarantee up to $1 million
  • Site seal and closed padlock available
  • 99% browser recognition
  • Green address browser bar available
  • 24/7 real person live support
  • Standard issuance time

Certificate type a& Pricing:

  • Xpress (DV) – $59.99 /yr
  • Basic (OV) – $124.50 /yr
  • Advanced (OV) – $199.50 /yr
  • Wildcard – $579.00 /yr
  • Extended (EV) – $399.50 /yr

Network Solutions

Visit Network Solutions

 


Do you know which types of SSL certificates to buy?

Before you go off and buy an SSL certificate for your website, there are a few things that you need to figure out. Namely, figuring out which type of SSL certificate is right for your business.

The SSL types can be grouped based on:

  1. Validation level
  2. Number of domains/subdomains to protect

Types of SSL certificate by validation level

Certificate authorities will issue a certificate to a website only after the identity of the website is being validated.

Despite the types of validation, all the certificates are having the same high levels of data encryption. The only difference is the assurance about the identity of the business behind the website.

Validation Type Domain Validated  (DV) Organizational Validated  (OV) Extended validated (EV)
Verification It only verifies that the applicant is the registrant of the domain. It verifies the ownership of the domain including full company name and address details.  It requires an extensive validation of the business that turns the address bar to green.
Time and Fee It takes few minutes to few hours. The fee is minimal. It might take a few days. The fee is higher than DV. It might take up to weeks. The most expensive validation.
Ideal for Suitable for a small website or a blog. Suitable for medium-sized businesses. Suitable for the site conducts financial transactions.
Example of Certificates

Here are the examples showing different types of validation:

Moz and Amazon have the standard SSL validation (DV or OV).

  • The address bar shows “Secure”.
  • Telling visitors that the connection between the browser and the website is encrypted.

On the other hand, American Express and PayPal are using extended SSL validation.

  • The company name is showing on the address bar in green color  – The “Green Bar”
  • Both companies went through extensive validation to make sure the business entity is legal.
Examples of the different types of SSL validation level

Examples of the different types of SSL validation level


Types of SSL certificate by the number of domains

Another point to consider is that you can also buy an SSL certificate based on the number of domains you want to secure.

There are 3 types of certificates you can choose to protect your domain/subdomain:

Certificate Type Single Domain SSL Certificate Wildcard SSL Certificate Multi-Domain SSL Certificate
Description Protects one full domain name on a single certificate. Protects a single domain and all sub-domains of that domain Allow to protect multiple domains (up to 100 domains).
Protection A certificate purchased for www.domain.com will allow you to secure all the pages on www.domain.com/ This certificate will secure www.domain.com, it also protects blog.domain.com, help.domain.com, etc. A multi-domain certificate can secure multiple different domains such as domain-a.com, domain-1.com.sg, etc
Ideal for This is suitable for a single website, small to medium business managing a limited number of websites. It’s suitable for fast growing business as this certificate will automatically secure any sub-domain added. The large business that has different entities. It’s easy to manage and keep track using a single certificate.
Example of Provider

Here’s a simple example to show the difference between Single Domain SSL Certificate, WildCard SSL Certificate, and Multi-Domain SSL Certificate:

Wildcard SSL certificate:

  • Will secure any subdomain that parked under the base domain

Single domain SSL certificate:

  • WIll secure only the base domain and the folder inside the base domain

Multi-domain SSL certificate:

  • Protect up more than 1 domain and up to 100 single domains
wildcard and single domain ssl certificate

wildcard and single domain ssl certificate


Pricing summary of SSL certificate providers

Here’s the summarized table of the 10 best SSL certificate providers with pricing. You can compare each of the providers on the pricing and types of SSL certificate available.

You can follow the link to find out more about the latest offer.

SSL Certificate
Provider
Entry Price /yr Up to Price /yr Popular Certificate Type Visit
GoDaddy $59.99 $279.99 Protect one site, Protect multiple sites Find out
Namecheap $8.88 $78.88 Positive SSL, Essential SSL, InstantSSL Find out
GlobalSign $249 $849 DomainSSL, OrganizationSSL Find out
Comodo $49 $249 Extended Validation, Domain Validation Find out
DigiCert $175 $595 Standard SSL, EV SSL, Multi-domain SSL Find out
Thawte $199 $299 SSL123, Web Server,  Web Server EV Find out
GeoTrust $149 $745 TrueBusinessID EV, QuickSSL Premium Find out
SSL.com $36.75 $224.25 Basic, Wildcard, EV Find out
Entrust $174 $373 EV Multi-domain, Advantage, Standard Find out
Network Solutions $59.99 $579 Basic, Xpress, Advance Find out

Should I go for cheap SSL certificates?

If you’re a small business or just starting out, getting a “brand name” or quality SSL certificate for your website can be expensive, especially when you try to renew as some companies tend to hike up the price once your SSL certificate expires.

The alternative is to go for cheap SSL certificates like GoDaddy or Namecheap.

Now, if you’re worried that using a cheaper SSL certificate means having less security than branded ones such as SSL.com or Network Solutions, then worry not. Unless you’re intending to conduct transactions on a device that doesn’t use a popular 3rd party browser, then a cheap SSL offers the same security as the more expensive ones.

If you’re going to conduct all your transaction on a web browser such as Chrome, Safari, IE, Firefox, etc., then you don’t really need to pay for an expensive certificate.

The only time that you should really consider purchasing an expensive SSL certificate is if you’re a big eCommerce company that’s looking to perform transactions on a device that uses its own proprietary software.

In such cases, it’s better to go for a branded SSL certificate like Network Solutions because they will work across more devices. You should also check to make sure that whatever browser or app you’re targeting will recognize your SSL certificate vendor.


FAQ: Things you should know when buying SSL certificates

What’s the difference between SSL and SSL certificate?

SSL is a technology to make sure the data between two machines (in most cases, a browser and a server) is transmitted securely in an encrypted connection.

And, SSL certificate is a digital certificate that implemented in the situation. You need an SSL certificate to confirm the identity of a website. Making sure the information, between server and browser is encrypted and sent using the SSL technology.


How does SSL work?

Here’s a simple diagram showing how SSL works.

  • A user accessing the secure site.
  • The browser is requesting secure SSL connection from website host.
  • The host responds with a valid SSL certificate.
  • The secure connection is now established.
  • The data transfer is encrypted.
How SSL works

How SSL works (Source: Exabytes)


How does a visitor know if a website is using SSL?

A visitor can check on the address bar of a browser.

If the website is using a valid SSL, the website address will show HTTPS.

If the SSL certificate is not recognized by the browser or does not pass certain checks, the browser will display a warning to the visitor.

What are the thing to have before buying an SSL certificate?

To make sure that the process of buying an SSL certificate for your website goes smoothly, we recommend that you get the following things ready.

  • A unique IP address
  • A certificate signing request (CSR)
  • Updated and correct WHOIS record
  • Validation documents for your business/organization

Some of it should be done naturally when you create a website but just double check so that you don’t have anything missing.

How can I tell if my site is secure?

It’s pretty easy to tell if you have a secured site or not.

In Google Chrome – You will notice the HTTPS and the green lock button. This shows that the site is secured.

Does SSL certificate work with all browsers

All the certificate providers we recommend above work with every major web browser -nearly 99%, including Internet Explorer, FireFox, Opera, Google Chrome and Safari.

Because there’s a standard to meet for every SSL certificate issued, all the providers must have the same compatibility rate.

Who needs an SSL Certificate

Basically, any websites that exchange sensitive information on the Internet needs to use SSL.

Sensitive information includes username, password, credit card numbers and etc.