The Top 7 Most Reliable SSL Certificate Providers

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These days, we do most of our stuff online.  We pay our bills online, we bank online, meet our friends online, shop online, etc.  It is easier, faster and more practical.  It's also more interactive and real-time. But did you know that there is a certain credential behind this e-commerce technology?  It's called the SSL Certificate. This article will tackle some of the web's top providers for SSL Certificates, which include DigiCert, Symantec and Verisign, among others.

What Is an SSL Certificate?

SSL is short for Secure Sockets Layer, which connects your computer to a server that is secure.  SSL is typically used to transfer your credit card details, personal information, banking details and tax information over to another business server.

Lauren Drell, at Mashable, writes that if you have an e-commerce website where you sell anything, then you should secure your site using an SSL certificate.  This is to guarantee to your customers that their information won't be stolen and that they will not fall victim to identity theft.

The Top SSL Certificate Providers

The thing with SSL certificate providers is that it is usually a matter of who's popular.  For example, if you have a customer who does not know what Verisign or Comodo is then chances are he would not care about this.  However, to a cautious customer, having his pages authenticated and verified by these companies will go a long way in assuring him that his site is safe.

Offerings from different providers are mostly similar to one another.  Packages offered and the features included in these packages are largely similar as well.

Who are the top SSL certificate providers? This depends on your needs, the features that you want, how popular and trusted these providers are, as well as the prices for the things that you need.  Also, a note of warning:  You might think that certificate authorities are infallible, but they are not.  Look at what happened with DigiNotar in 2011.  On July 10, DigiNotar's certificates were found to be compromised, leading the company to eventually file for bankruptcy.  Hackers made off with hundreds of certificates, including one for Google that was used for spying in Iran.

Customers for those using DigiNotar were freaked out and even lost some sales until the company got another SSL certificate provider up and running.  They not only wasted time in getting another certificate provider up but they also lost trust while seeing their reputation damaged.  So be sure that you are getting real security by choosing a SSL certificate provider that really works hard to protect and secure the sites under their care.

Here are the best providers to consider:

  1. VeriSign

    Now under Symantec's wing, VeriSign's authentication business is considered to be one of the most trusted, and is in fact the one used by most of the big brands on the Internet. After its sale, VeriSign has seen a lot of name changes before the current Norton Secured brand name. VeriSign supports up to 256 bit encryption.  Their most expensive package, Secure Site Pro EV costs well over $1,000 but comes with outstanding features such as extended validation, $1.5 million warranty and vulnerability assessment.

  2. GeoTrust

    If you think that Verisign is a bit too expensive, then take a look at the packages offered by GeoTrust.  Basic encryption costs $149, while maximum security is guaranteed at only $299.  Expert support, 256-bit encryption and warranty are available for all options.

  3. Comodo

    Comodo has SSL certificate solutions for just about anybody: from home offices to businesses, from e-commerce to enterprises. The company also offers up to 256-bit encryption and is trusted by almost all browsers.  They provide unlimited server licenses, expert phone support and a $250,000 warranty.  The Comodo SSL package starts at $64.95 and you can set it up in just minutes.  Their Extended Validation package starts at $359 annually. While being one of the most reputable and trusted certification authorities in the world, you should note that Comodo once figured in a hacking incident, very much similar to the DigiNotar experience, where fake Comodo certificates were used to spy on some people in Iran.

  4. Digicert

    DigiCert is trusted by a veritable "who's who" in the online world.  It is being used by multinational companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, AT&T, Facebook, Amazon.com, Wikipedia, NASA and Core Logic, among others.  They offer up to 2048 bit SSL certificates at very reasonable prices.  For example, their Wildcard SSL certificates that protect your entire domain cost less than $500!  You could get their cheapest package for as low as $156 per year.

  5. Thawte

    Thawte is another low cost SSL certificate provider, with their cheapest plan going for $149 a year and offers up to 256-bit encryption, while their extended validation packages go for less than $600 (even less if you get a two year contract for only $995, or roughly $500 per year).

  6. GoDaddy

    Most people know GoDaddy as the biggest domain registration company, but they also offer SSL certificates that go for $69.99 for the Standard package and $89.99 for the Deluxe package.  Both packages can be customized to your needs.  But what gives GoDaddy an edge is that you have access to competent support 24/7.

  7. Network Solutions

    Network Solutions claims to have the lowest priced SSL certificates, especially for a multi-year term.  For example, getting the Network Solutions nsProtect Secure Express costs only $49.99 for a four-year term. This is lower than the $54.49 per year at GoDaddy, $132.25 per year at Thawte and $121.00 per year at GeoTrust. Network Solutions has support for 256-bit encryption, with more than 99% browser recognition, excellent round the clock support that includes online chat, fast issuance times and free reissues. What's more, Network Solutions is a well-known and trusted brand.

Choosing the best and most reliable SSL certificates available might be a matter of trust.  You may be getting a provider that gives out inexpensive certificates but are not known.  At the same time, some of the more inexpensive certificates are just as reliable as the expensive ones. Beyond that, you should take a look at the level of service that your provider is giving you. They may be hyping it all up but just cannot give you competent and efficient customer service.  The certificate providers mentioned in this article are very well known and trusted, with packages that allow you to get the level of security you need at a price you could afford.

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Contributor

Michael Gabriel Sumastre

Michael Gabriel Sumastre is a skilled technical blogger and writer with more than seven years of professional experience in Web content creation, SEO and research paper writing. He has written more than a thousand articles related to tech and gadgets, cloud computing, IT management, SEO, SEM and software solutions. He ghostwrites books / e-books and has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. Michael is also an expert in webmastering and loves to ride his sportsbike. He maintains his portfolio and personal blog at TheFinestWriter.com