Understanding the Differences Between SSL Certificates

Understanding the Differences Between SSL Certificates
Jul 21, 2017 Web Design

If you are new to technology and websites, you may be unfamiliar with SSL Certificates. Sure, you may have heard of them, but did you know that there were several different types of them? As a website owner or even a business owner with a website, it is very important to know that the differences in SSL certificates. The reason for this is because one may be recommended over another one for the benefit of your business (sometimes due to marketing reasons) and it is important that you understand why.

In some cases, IT professionals will use the same SSL certificate constantly. They will not try to pair the certificate with the website and the specific security needs of the business utilizing the site. This may be because they fail to truly understand the best SSL option for the website.

When the wrong SSL certificate is used, it could lead to problems with sales. While this isn’t the concern of an IT professional, it is a huge concern for the small business owner or manager of the website. Consumers are beginning to become much more aware of how important SSL certificates are and what they need to look for. With that being said, when your level of security is on the lower end, there is a good chance that consumers will leave your site and find a more secure website.

Below, the SSL certificate differences will be outlined as well as some considerations for their best uses. We will begin with the most basic options and move on up.

Domain Validation (DV)

With this particular SSL certificate, website visitors will see a gold padlock. This is an indicator that Certificate Authority (CA) is verifying that the domain is owned by the entity or individual that is listed on record on WHOIS.

The DV is easy to obtain and can be available in mere minutes. It is one of the more cost-friendly options and is essentially ideal for companies that work with small target audiences and possibly low-volume e-commerce websites. These SSL certificates don’t provide company information, so this could prove to be a problem to consumers who are security-conscious or new to your website.

Organization Validated (OV)

The difference between domain validation and organization validated certificates simply boils down to a higher level of security assurance for your clients and customers. These types of certificates can be designed for a single site or a EV SSL. A EV SSL can be used on a main domain as well as subdomain with the same certificate.

Now, with these particular SSL certificates, we will use government databases to ensure that all the data provided to use is accurate and valid. This is true whether it is for an individual or for an organization.

The organization validated SSL certificate is slightly more expensive than the domain validated certificate, but it will provide customers with more customers. To obtain this information, customers simply need to hover over the padlock. For individuals and many businesses, this is the highest level of website security that can be obtained.


Although the EV SSL certificate cannot be obtained in mere minutes like the domain validated certificate, it can be obtained in a reasonable amount of time. The EV SSL certificate is a very high level of security that government entities as well as most major businesses and corporations will use. It is the only SSL that lights up the address bar in green, which demonstrates to customers the level of security that the website is providing.

Now, the EV SSL certificate cannot be used by all businesses, and the verification process is far more detailed and exacting. It includes the same steps as the OV, in addition to additional steps that will verify that the business is registered as a physical entity. This type of validation can be obtained through various methods. It will also be required by the business to submit documentation proof.

As can be seen, there are numerous types of SSL and the differences must be considered before purchasing a certificate. If you still aren’t sure which SSL certificate your business website can benefit from the most, read out to us at WebDetail before making a final decision.