When it comes to SSL, you’d be forgiven for finding the process of choosing one confusing. Is a single-domain SSL the right answer? Or how about a Certificate Wildcard? If you can’t figure it out on your own, you’ve come to the right place. We will break down how to pinpoint what you need from your SSL and the types of SSLs available that meet your needs.
Let’s dive right in.
The two elements of SSL
Every SSL basically has two key features you need to consider: level of validation and number of domains and/or subdomains. Once you know what you need for both categories, you’re golden. The latter is pretty self-explanatory, but what the heck is validation? Validation level is how deeply the issuing Certificate Authority will investigate you or your company before issuing the SSL. But how on earth do you figure out the best validation level? The easiest way to do that is to think of your website type.
Choosing an SSL based on website type
Think about what your site is used for (you probably don’t have to think too hard… hopefully). A good rule of thumb is the more you ask users to do, the higher the validation level you should go for. For instance, you don’t really need too much validation if you just have a static portfolio site. But if your site has login pages, forum users, or asks for credit card info, then a higher level of validation is a great way to bring peace of mind to users. The higher the validation, the more information about your company will be included in the certificate itself.
Okay, so what are the validation levels? They would be:
- Domain validation (DV): The most basic, the CA only checks that you have access to the site’s admin email.
- Organization validation (OV): A little more in-depth, the CA will check that your company exists.
- Extended validation (EV): The most extensive validation level, the CA will cross-check government records and call your office premises.
Choosing an SSL based on the number of domains
This part is pretty straightforward. Simply count the number of domains and subdomains you have and go from there! The three options are:
- One-site SSL: If you have just one website, this is the one for you.
- Multi-domain SSL: If you have multiple domains, you can secure them under this SSL.
- Wildcard SSL: This SSL type secures one primary domain and unlimited one-level subdomains linked to it.
Once you break down what SSL jargon means, it probably seems a lot easier to choose an SSL. For instance, if you have a single website that’s only used for displaying information, you should go for a one-site DV SSL. For multiple e-commerce sites, the best choice is likely a multi-domain EV SSL. Whatever your SSL need, be sure to get one soon so that your site is safe and secure for all your users.