Buying SSL Certificates
What you need to know about SSL providers
Buying SSL certificates can appear complicated on the surface – but it doesn't have to be. Learn the key features of quality SSL providers and you'll soon find yourself comparing SSL offerings like an expert. Here are a few things to watch for.
Browser recognition: Buying SSL certificates that are not recognized by major browsers is, frankly, a complete waste of money. If a browser cannot verify your SSL, it will send a warning message back to the visitor/potential client. And you can kiss that sale good-bye! Most SSL providers boast a 99% or better browser recognition rate. We advise you consider that a minimum standard when buying SSL certificates.
For this reason, you might also want to consider the brand name of the certificate and/or the Certificate Authority when you are buying SSL. A name or company that's been around for several years may have a better chance of being recognized.
You might also want to have a look at the SSL's “accepted browsers.”
Encryption. Look for SSL providers that offer a 128-bit encryption key as a minimum. However, the industry standard today seems to be 256-bit encryption – which is even harder to crack. Choose the highest level of encryption available (or that you can afford) when buying SSL.
Issuance. How fast do you need your SSL in place? Keep that in mind when evaluating SSL providers. Some provide immediate issuance; others require a few days.
Guarantee. As with any purchase, when you're buying SSL make sure you check out the guarantee and cancellation policy. If an SSL certificate doesn't work for you for some reason, you need to be able to switch SSL providers.
Server licence. Are you looking for an SSL for a single server or multiple servers? This may determine your options when buying SSL.
Support. After you're done buying SSL, will you have access to technical support? Are there tutorials on the SSL providers' site to help you install your SSL and troubleshoot? Can you email, call or chat with support daily? 24/7?
Indicators. These are really important. Since you're going through the effort and expense of buying SSL, you want to let your customers know that their information is secure with you. Different SSL providers will offer different site indicators. For example, many customers look for the padlock icon on a web page to indicate the site is safe. There may also be an unbroken key. The SSL providers should include a site seal you can display on your site to let visitors know it's secure. An additional option is the “green address bar” - the browser's address bar may appear green when it is on a secure page.
In all cases, a secure site will display “https” instead of “http” in the address window.
Ease of use. The best way to evaluate the overall ease of use and quality of SSL providers is to read SSL reviews – written by experts and customers alike. These will give you significant insight into the dos and don'ts of buying SSL certificates.