Everyone browsing the web is worried about security. To put visitors at ease, site operators need to take steps to properly secure their sites and ensure safe browsing for users.
SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates have become a must-have for all websites today. Aside from adding protection to your site for visitors, search engines like Google penalize websites without an SSL certificate.
SSLs from a reputable certificate provider tell people on the open web that the data transmission on your site is safe and authentic.
If it’s your first time adding an SSL to your website, you’ll quickly realize that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of places online to get an SSL certificate. Finding the best certificate provider for your site can feel like a daunting task.
Whether you’re launching a new site from scratch or merely implementing an SSL on your existing site, this guide will steer you in the right direction.
The Top 6 Best SSL Certificate Providers
- SSL.com — Best for cheap SSL certificates
- GoDaddy — Best for security and malware protection
- Sectigo — Best for long-term certificates
- GlobalSign — Best for enterprises
- DigiCert — Best for SSL lifecycle management
- Entrust — Best for business websites
After extensive research, we’ve narrowed down the top six SSL certificate providers on the market today. The following reviews will help you determine which option is the best choice for your website.
#1 – SSL.com — Best For Cheap SSL Certificates
- Basic protection at affordable prices
- Plans start at $36.75/year
- Trusted in over 120 countries
- Free secure site seal
Lots of the best SSL certificate providers out there are geared towards large organizations and businesses with advanced security needs. But not every website needs to have such robust security.
In some instances, a cheap SSL with basic protection is enough to satisfy certain needs. If you fall into this category, check out SSL.com.
Basic SSLs from SSL.com start as low as $36.75 per year. That’s really cheap compared to alternatives on the market that charge significantly higher.
This is a quick and affordable way to protect your site at a basic level. You can get a DV SSL issued within a matter of minutes, and you’ll even get a free secure site seal.
For those of you who have higher security needs, SSL.com has EV SSLs as well, which is the highest level of trust you can get with an SSL certificate. These are better for business websites, ecommerce sites, and they even come with a $2 million warranty.
If you fall somewhere in between these two extremes, SSL.com has OV SSLs and wildcard SSLs.
Don’t let the low cost fool you. SSL.com is a reputable Certificate Authority that’s trusted in 120+ countries. But the provider is perfect for anyone that needs a fast and cheap way to get an SSL.
#2 – GoDaddy — Best For Security And Malware Protection
- Much more than domain registration
- Full site encryption
- Malware scanning and protection
- Site cleanups and remediation included
GoDaddy is best known for its domain registration services. But this company has additional website services, including web hosting, site design, and SSL security.
The cool part about using GoDaddy as your SSL certificate provider is that you’ll get more than just an SSL. GoDaddy offers additional security services.
In addition to the SSL, GoDaddy has plans with full site encryption, malware protection, malware scanning, site cleanups and remediation, DDoS protection, site speed boosts, and site backups.
The plan with all of these security extras is only available with a standard SSL. But that’s fine for smaller websites that aren’t collecting payment information or sensitive user data.
Generally speaking, GoDaddy is a better option for smaller sites and people who don’t need to secure dozens or hundreds of domains. If you just need to protect one website or a few websites, GoDaddy will be a top option to consider.
#3 – Sectigo — Best For Long-Term Certificates
- Over 100 million SSLs issued
- One, three, and five-year certificates available
- Free 24/7 support
- 256-bit encryption included
Sectigo is one of the most reputable and reliable Certificate Authorities (CA) on the market today. The company offers an extensive list of web security options, including SSL and TLS certificates for every need.
With 100+ million digital certificates issued over the last 20+ years, Sectigo is the world’s largest Certificate Authority.
Sectigo offers SSL certificates in the following categories:
- Extended Validation SSL (EV)
- Organization Validation SSL (OV)
- Domain Validation SSL (DV)
- Wildcard SSL
- Multi-domain SSL
- Single SSL Certificates
All TLS certificates from Sectigo enable 256-bit encryption, the strongest available option for web connections. If you’re not sure which certificate is right for you, Sectigo has a really easy comparison tool directly on its website to help you decide.
One unique standout of Sectigo is the length of subscription durations offered. You can get an SSL for one, three, or five-year periods. Not every certificate provider gives this option. In some cases, other providers only offer certificates in three-month or one-year intervals. Renewing your certificate too frequently can be a pain, and you risk letting the certificate expire.
You can save some money with a longer certificate subscription from Sectigo as well. For example, the EV SSL Certificate costs $249 for one year. But that rate drops to $210 per year with a five-year subscription.
Sectigo certificate warranties range from $500k to $1.75 million. Free 24/7 expert support and a trust logo for your website come with every certificate.
#4 – GlobalSign — Best Managed SSL Certificate Service For Enterprises
- Enterprise-specific managed SSL service
- Unlimited server license
- Volume discounts available
- 2.5+ million SSLs issued
GlobalSign offers identity security solutions to businesses, enterprises, innovators, and cloud-based service providers worldwide. 2.5+ million SSL certificates have been issued by GlobalSign. Over 25 million certificates rely on GlobalSign’s trusted technology.
For large companies and enterprises with advanced security needs, GlobalSign will be a top option to consider.
The managed SSL service (MSSL) from GlobalSign is really unique compared to other certificate providers on the market today. This solution is designed to reduce the costs, time, and effort associated with managing enterprise SSLs at scale.
This platform was built with enterprise-specific requirements for all types of SSL certificates, including solutions for public websites, non-public sites, and internal servers.
GlobalSign certificates come with:
- SHA-256 hashing algorithm
- Unlimited server license
- Certificate inventory tool
- Underwritten warranties
- Free unlimited reissues
- Support via phone, email, and live chat
GlobalSign’s managed platform for enterprises simplifies the deployment and management of certificates at scale. They also provide volume discounts and flexible terms for businesses. Licensing, user permissions, automated deployments, certificate lifecycle management tools are just a few of the many benefits you’ll get using GlobalSign.
This certificate provider is definitely not for everyone. If you’re a small business owner or just managing a personal website, you should probably look elsewhere. GlobalSign is reserved for larger corporations with advanced needs.
#5 – DigiCert — Best For SSL Lifecycle Management
- Centralized certificate management tool
- Up to $2 million warranties
- Recommended by the world’s biggest banks
- Role-based delegation available
DigiCert is a digital security company that launched back in 2003. For ecommerce transactions and other sensitive data, DigiCert will be a top option to consider for TLS/SSL certificates.
DigiCert SSLs come with unlimited server licensing, 256-bit encryption, free reissues and replacements for the certificate’s lifetime, a DigiCert secured site seal, and more. From basic SSLs to SSLs with the highest possible authentication and brand protection, DigiCert has you covered.
According to the DigiCert website, the vast majority of the world’s largest banks are secured using SSL certificates issued by DigiCert. This should give you an idea of the company’s reputation and reliability.
SSL warranties from DigiCert go all the way up to $2 million, which is one of the highest amounts we’ve seen on the market.
But what really makes DigiCert unique is its certificate management tool. It’s really easy for anyone to order, issue, revoke, and renew certificates from a centralized platform. This is perfect for anyone who needs to manage multiple SSLs at scale. You can even automate some of this process and ensure that your certificates never expire. DigiCert gives you the ability to add role-based users to delegate certificate-related tasks as well.
Compared to other SSL certificate providers on the market, DigiCert definitely falls into the advanced category. The service goes above and beyond issuing a single SSL to personal blogs or small business websites. It’s designed for larger organizations.
#6 – Entrust — Best SSL Certificate Provider For Business Websites
- Most secure SSL types only
- Issuing SSLs since 1998
- Site and network vulnerability scans included
- 30-day money back guarantee
Entrust has been around for more than 50 years. The first Entrust SSL was issued back in 1998, so it’s safe to say the company has its fair share of experience in this industry.
What’s unique about Entrust is the fact that they do not issue domain validated (DV) certificates. DVs are the least secure type of SSL, but Entrust doesn’t even give you the option to get one.
Entrust only issues organization validated (OV) SSLs and extended validation (EV) SSLs. These are much more credible than DV SSLs and better for business use.
For single sites and large sites with lots of subdomains, Entrust has you covered. Additional features from Entrust SSLs include:
- Malware scanning and reputation monitoring
- Website and network vulnerability scans
- Unlimited server licenses for TLS/SSL certificates
- Unlimited certificate reissues
- x.509 compliance
Entrust also offers robust reporting tools to help you avoid downtimes, security gaps, and certificate expirations.
All SSLs are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. For small businesses, ecommerce websites, and enterprises alike, Entrust should be a top consideration.
How to Find the Best SSL Certificate Provider For You
There are certain factors that must be taken into consideration as you’re evaluating prospective SSL certificate providers. This is the methodology that you can use to narrow down your options.
SSL Certificate Type
There are three main types of SSL certificates—domain validated (DV), organizational validated (OV), and extended validation (EV). DV SSLs are the most basic and the cheapest. EVs are the most advanced, and OVs fall in the middle.
The vast majority of domain-validated certificates can be issued almost immediately. You can typically get one within minutes of applying. Organizational validated and extended validation certificates take a bit longer.
Business websites should be using OV SSLs at a minimum. If you’re collecting sensitive user data and credit card information, go with an EV SSL.
When it comes to running a website, it’s always in your best interest to err on the side of caution. So if you’re unsure what’s right for you, it’s worth paying a little more for a better certificate. But if you’re just running a small personal blog or something like that, you probably don’t need to get too carried away.
Number of Domains and Subdomains
How many websites do you need to secure with an SSL?
Beyond the three certificate types mentioned above, you should also consider whether or not you need a single-domain SSL or wildcard SSL. As the name implies, single-domain SSLs are meant for one website. Wildcard SSLs can secure multiple domains and subdomains.
Some providers will even offer volume discounts depending on how many domains and subdomains you need to get an SSL for.
Interestingly enough, lots of SSL certificate providers do much more than just issue SSL certificates. This is important to keep in mind as you’re shopping around.
While some do specialize in SSL certificates, others offer additional digital security solutions. Larger businesses with advanced security needs could potentially get all of their digital security services from a single provider.
There are even certificate providers out there that operate outside the scope of web security with other services. For example, you could get an SSL certificate from a domain registrar, web hosting provider, or even a website builder.
If you’re launching a new website from scratch, those might be viable options for your situation. You could potentially even get a free SSL certificate included when purchasing another service, like web hosting.
SSL Certificate Management
Enterprises and large organizations with advanced security needs and lots of SSL certificates need tools to help them manage these SSLs at scale.
Otherwise, it would be nearly impossible to track renewals and distribute SSLs accordingly.
There are providers out there that specialize in SSL certificate lifecycle management, and there are even managed SSL services. This makes it easier to order, issue, revoke, and renew SSL certificates. Some tools offer role-based permissions so you can assign tasks related to SSLs to other people within your organization.
You really only have to worry about certificate management at scale. If you just have one or two websites, this isn’t necessary to consider.
What’s the best SSL certificate provider? It depends on your needs.
Sectigo is an industry leader in this space and offers certificate durations of up to five years. GlobalSign has a managed SSL certificate service for large corporations and enterprises. Use DigiCert if you want the best certificate lifecycle management tools.
GoDaddy is a viable option for those of you who just need a handful of SSLs. They also offer additional security perks, like malware protection with certain certificates.
Regardless of your website type or needs, you can find what you’re looking for with the recommended SSL certificate providers reviewed in this guide.