SSL Security Certificate Types and Price Variations

There are three types of SSL certificate validation levels:

Domain Validation or DV
Organization Validation or OV
Extended Validation or EV

Domain Validated Certificates (DV)

Domain Validated SSL certificates provide the same level of data encryption as the other validation levels. These certificates don’t check the identity of the business behind the website, they simply check to see if the domain is registered, and if it is, an SSL certificate is issued.

The advantage of these certificates is how quickly they can be issued and their low price. You can even get them for free from Let’s Encrypt. DV SSL certificates are ideal for businesses needing a low, or no cost SSL solution quickly, without the need to submit company documents to the certificate authority.

A website with a Domain Validated certificate will have the lock icon and word Secure in the Google Chrome browser as shown here:

Pricing for DV Certificates
Prices checked in August 2018.

Let’s Encrypt offers FREE DV certificates. Here’s a list of hosting providers that support automatic renewal of Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.
GoDaddy DV SSL certificates are $75 per year.
Comodo DV SSL certificates are priced from $10 – $20 per year.

Organization Validated Certificates (OV)

Organization Validated SSL certificates include full business and company validation from a certificate authority using a manual vetting process.

OV certificates are authenticated by business registry databases hosted by governments such as state incorporation records. OV certificates contain information such as the legal business name and corporate address.

This additional business information is displayed to website visitors when they click on the Secure icon in the browser bar.

A website with an OV certificate will have the lock icon and word Secure in the Google Chrome browser as shown below. Note that this is the same visual appearance as the less expensive OV certificate.

Pricing for OV Certificates
Prices checked in August 2018.

Let’s Encrypt does not offer DV certificates.
GoDaddy OV SSL certificates are $130 per year.
Comodo OV SSL certificates are priced from $20 – $40 per year.

Extended Validation Certificates (EV)

Extended Validation certificates provide the highest level of SSL security. EV certificates are issued only after the issuing Certificate Authority has conducted rigorous background checks on the company according to the guidelines laid out by the Certificate Authority/Browser (CA/B) Forum.

When someone visits a website that uses an EV certificate, the address bar will show the full business name and country of origin as shown below. EV certificates are used by all major online retailers and banks.

Pricing for EV Certificates
Prices checked in August 2018.

Let’s Encrypt does not offer EV certificates.
GoDaddy EV SSL certificates are $200 per year.
Comodo EV SSL certificates are priced from $80 – $170 per year.

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