For anyone with a website in 2020, the necessity of installing an SSL certificate should go without saying. Not only do SSLs create an encrypted connection to your site that will protect your users, but it’s also a necessity if you want your site to show up in search engines and work in modern web browsers.
But with so many types of SSL certificates to choose from, how do you know which is right for your site? This article should serve as a good starting point.
Let’s go through the different kinds of SSLs available and websites they’re suitable for.
Number of domains or subdomains
The first thing you should think about is the number of domains or subdomains you need to secure. This is a great place to begin because there’s no point in getting an SSL for multiple domains if you’re only ever going to have one domain. Here are the three types of SSL based on the number of domains or subdomains:
- Single-domain SSL certificates: For securing a single domain or subdomain.
- Wildcard SSL certificates: For securing a single domain and one or more subdomains of one level linked to it.
- Multi-domain SSL certificates: For securing secure multiple domains or subdomains.
Once you’ve figured out which one of these SSLs best suits your website situation, you then need to think about the validation level.
The three SSL validation levels
When you buy an SSL, the issuing Certificate Authority (CA) will carry out background checks on the person buying the SSL. The extent of these checks depends on the validation level you opt for. Here are the three validation levels you can choose from:
- Domain Validation (DV): The most basic of the three, with DV, CAs only verify that you have control over the site you wish to secure. Recommended for simple websites that don’t require logins or handing over sensitive information, such as blogs or personal websites.
- Organization Validation (OV): The background checks for OV certificates are slightly more extensive, with CAs authenticating the identity of the individual or company behind the site. This information can be found when website users click on the SSL padlock symbol in the address bar. Recommended for online stores or small business websites that request personal information from customers.
- Extended Validation (EV): CAs perform a complete business vetting with an EV certificate, making it the most extensive of the validation levels. Recommended for large businesses and corporations.
As you might have noticed, we didn’t mention anything about encryption strength. This is because all SSL certificates have the same level of encryption, no matter what type you go for, so this is not something you need to worry about.
Choosing the right SSL certificate for your site will depend on how many domains or subdomains you have and then the type of website you have. Once you’ve figured this out, choosing the perfect SSL for your site should be easy.