An SSL certificate is a file that is used by websites to provide a secure connection between the server and associated browser. They provide a secure connection in order to safeguard sensitive information and allow transactions to be completed online without a threat to security. Many businesses that have an online presence are choosing to utilise SSL certificates in order to improve both security and customer trust. An SSL cert works by providing the website with a key which acts as a padlock, effectively locking third parties out of the connection process. They can be particularly useful for businesses that sell products or services online. The nature of such a business requires customers to enter sensitive personal information such as credit card and bank details; the SSL cert protects this information at all times.
Extended validation SSL certificates
This type of SSL certificate is primarily used to verify the credentials of an organisation. The associated certified authority that signs these certificates will take steps to ensure that the organisation has permission to use the domain. They will also carry out checks to ensure that the organisation is legal and that all records are authentic and correlated. The CA will also check that the organisation has received the correct authorisation and that it has the right to operate in its current form.
Organisation validation SSL certificates
An organisation validation SSL cert differs slightly from the extended validation version. The certified authority will still verify that the organisation has permission to use the domain but it will carry out a less thorough information assessment and checking procedure. The information that is gathered by the CA and has been successfully verified will be available to visitors of the website.
Domain validation SSL certificates
This is considered to be the most basic SSL certificate. The certified authority will simply check that the organisation has been authorised to use the domain. It will not carry out any additional vetting of the company and will therefore not provide company details to any visitors of the website.
In conclusion, it is important to choose an SSL cert from a recognised authority such as Thawte that closely matches your requirements. Whilst the extended validation SSL certificate undoubtedly possesses higher levels of security, a personal websites may be more suited to securing a simple domain validation SSL certificate.