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What Are The Different Types of SSL Secure Certificates? Which Is Best For You?

Last updated on by Freeola Support

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So once you have decided that you would like to secure your site with an SSL Certificate, there are a couple of choices you will have to make regarding which type of certificate and validation method best suits your needs.

Variations (type)

SSL Certificates come in 3 different variations. The variations and their suitability can be found below:

  1. Single Domain: this will only cover one domain and no sub-domains. This is suitable if you have a site using a single domain* (www. version is included).

  2. Multi-domain: this covers you for multiple different domains. This is suitable if you have a number of sites with a number of different domains.

  3. Wildcard: this covers you for one domain and unlimited sub-domains. A single domain certificate will not cover any of your sub-domains - to ensure that all sub-domains are also secured - a wildcard certificate will be required. Read more about Wildcard SSL Certificates.

*If you have a number of domains pointing to just one site – as long as you are happy with one primary domain appearing in the address bar, then a single domain certificate will work.


Once you have selected which type of certificate is best for your site (or sites), you will need to choose how to validate your certificate. There are 3 different types of validation, requiring varying levels of authentication. These different levels are designed to reassure your site visitors. So your choice of which method to use, should be based upon the purpose of your website:

  1. Domain Validation (DV): this is the most popular form of protection due to the fact that it is both inexpensive and fast. It’s recommended for small sites that need basic encryption for forms and non-transactional data. Validation is completed via an email to the verified owner of the domain and can be issued in a matter of minutes. Read more about Domain Validated SSL Certificates.

  2. Organisational Validation (OV): recommended for small- to medium-sized businesses, with a fairly low number of transactions. This type of validation will verify your actual company, rather than just the domain, which is more reassuring to potential customers.
    Only verified representatives of the organisation can purchase these certificates and a business license or other proof will be required. This certificate is validated through a phone call and takes around two days. Find out more about Organisation Validated SSL Certificates.

  3. Extended Validation (EV): recommended for mid- to enterprise-sized sites. EV is essential for companies that deal with a high volume of transactional data and online banking information. It is immediately apparent when a site has used this method of validation, as the address bar will display in green as well as showing the standard padlock icon. This acts as an extra level of immediate reassurance to site visitors.
    EV is by far the most stringent form of validation. The Certificate Authority will actively check both the organisation and the individual; to clarify that the organisation is legitimate and that an authorised individual has carried out the request. Implementation of this type of certificate can take up to one week. Find out more about Extended Validation SSL Certificates.

Once you have chosen which variation and validation method best suits you, you can buy an SSL Certificate. You can also check out our Support Guide Changing From HTTP to HTTPS to get full instructions on how to make sure your site correctly points to the secure version.

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