Meaning Of Secured Socket Layer Certificate (SSL)

SSL is known as Secured Socket Layer Certificate (SSL) and is a data file which is present on the server which makes the connection between a web server and a web browser secured and safe.

SSL certificates are of use to online enterprises or e-commerce sites who wish to encrypt their online credit/debit card transactions, make data transfers, process logins and host secure social media websites. Developed by Netscape and based on the Secured Socket Layer Protocol, SSL certificates use a cryptographic key to validate a web server like detailing its domain name, server name, hostname, company name and location. Today maximum SSL certificates support the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, which is more secure than SSL.

Issued by a trusted certificate authority, there are 7 types of SSL certificates, based on two groups namely Validation Level and Number of Secured Domains/Subdomains. The HTTPs Protocol over port 443 gets activated once the SSL certificate gets installed on a server. The presence of this certificate is signaled by a padlock icon and the URL is somewhat like “https://.”

Different Types of SSL Certificates:

Now that you are aware of the disadvantages of not installing an SSL certificate, you should also be aware of the type of SSL Certificate which suits your website’ need.

The different types of SSL certificates can be grouped based on:

  • Validation Level, and
  • The number of Secured Domains/Subdomains.

Based on Validation Levels there are 3 types of SSL certificates:

  • Domain Validated Certificate (DV SSL),
  • Organization Validated Certificate (OV SSL), and
  • Extended Validation Certificate (EV SSL).

Based on Number of Secured Domains/Subdomains there are 4 types of certificates:

  • Single Domain SSL Certificate,
  • Wildcard SSL Certificate,
  • Multi-Domain SSL Certificate, and
  • Unified Communications SSL Certificate.

Let’s take a closer look at each type of SSL certificates by understanding what they are, their functions, pros, and cons, how a person can recognize it on their web browser, etc.

1. Domain Validated Certificate (DV SSL):

  • How it is validated: Out of all the three, the DV SSL certificate has the lowest level of validation. A CA usually overlooks the data for the recognition of a person or organization running the site when issuing DV certs. They only verify whether the party/owner has control over the domain that they want to get SSL certified or not.
  • What does it look: Any web address bar has “https” and a symbol padlock. The moment you click the icon to take a look at the certificate, the data about the owner of the website will be missing.
  • Pros: Due to a less rigorous verification process, which is generally online and automated, DV SSL certs are issued faster than any other of its kind. Mostly the certs are issued on the same day in a time span of few minutes. Cheapest amongst the three, CAs usually offer it for free. DV SSL certificate is ideal for small size websites and blogs.
  • Cons: The encryption level of a DV SSL is as effective as the other to types, its low level of validation means that the users will not have much of an idea about the domain owner. This can impact the site’s trustworthiness, not making the site an ideal option if the site is an online store or a site which requires the users to provide them with their critical details.

2. Organization Validated Certificate (OV SSL):

  • How it is validated: The verification process and the background check is a long procedure. When it comes to the OV SSL certificate, a CA will be cross-checking all the details and information of the person or the owner.
  • What does it look like: While handling the web browser address bar, the OV SSL certificate gets recognized in the same way as the DV SSL certificate does, i.e., from the phrase “https” and a padlock pattern. When the user follows and clicks on the pattern, it brings out some unique information about the company or a particular person who is the owner of the website and shows information such as its name, address, country, etc.
  • Pros: OV SSL certificate is more trustworthy than DV SSL certificates because a user of the website will be aware of the owner of the site, and will have the idea where all his credentials are going. This is an ideal certificate option for e-commerce websites.
  • Cons: OV certs take a longer time to get issued than DV certs because of its long verification process, which can take several days.

3. Extended Validation Certificates (EV SSL):

  • How it is validated: EV SSL offers the peak level of SSL certification, when they are issuing all the EV certificates. There is an in-depth verification of the owner’s site, which will help him to validate and evaluate the legal presence, location, etc.
  • What does it look like: A certified EV SSL site will transform the web address bar into a green color.
  • And, the company’s name will have the symbol of the padlock.
  • Pros: The EV SSL certificate along with the green address bat which comprises of the organization’s name makes the website trustworthy to run a secured transaction.
  • Cons: An EV SSL certificate is high priced among the 3 and in-depth background verification means verification can take weeks time.

Types of SSL Certificates Based on Number of Domains/Subdomains:

There are several factors affecting the selection of the SSL, one of them is the number of domains a person requires. Every SSL certificate blends the levels of with the numeric preponderance of domains anyone is willing to protect. There are 4 main types of SSL certificate based on the number of domains/subdomains, which are as follows:

1. Single Domain SSL Certificate:

Every single domain SSL cert and the pages are completely secured. The three stages of validation are known as DV, OV, and EV.

2. Wildcard SSL Certificate:

A Wildcard SSL certificate protects a single domain and all the subdomains of this parent domain. For example, if a person has a Wildcard SSL certificate for his website “yourstory.com”, then any subdomain related to this parent domain such as “mail.yourstory.com” or “login.yourstory.com”, is automatically protected. People who want to have sub-domains in the future will need a Wildcard SSL certificate. This will be cost-effective as there is no need to buy an SSL cert.

3. Multi-Domain SSL Certificate:

A Multi-Domain SSL certificate protects up to 100 different domains. Multi-Domain SSL cert Can protect a Wildcard domain. These are suitable for companies that comprise of multiple websites so that they can deal with single cert to make sure all the websites are secure and keep a track of individual certs. If you want to save money, then buying these certificates is the best option.

4. Unified Communications Certificate:

It is quite similar to a Multi-Domain certificate and both are capable of protecting 100 domains and subdomains under one single certificate. The UC is developed specifically for systems which take the help of the Microsoft Exchange and office communications. Moreover, they take help of extensions like SAN-subjective alternative name, rather than varying IP address to make sure the domains are secure.