For website owners, securing your site with an SSL certificate is imperative. But choosing the ideal type for your site can be challenging. This article will explain the different SSL types, from cheap SSL wildcard and multi-domains to business validation level SSLs. By the time you finish, you should better understand which SSL is best for your site.

The same level of security

Before we move forward and explain the differences between each SSL, it’s important to note that all SSL certificates have the same level of encryption. No matter what SSL marketing tells you about certain SSLs having more powerful encryption than another, this isn’t the case. Most SSL certificates on the market today have an encryption strength of 256-bits as standard.

You might wonder, then, why is there such a price disparity between SSL certificates?

What dictates price is the number of domains and/or subdomains you wish to secure, as well as the validation level. Also, some stores also just charge way more than necessary! However, zeroing in on the number of domains you have and determining the needed validation level is key to deciding what kind of SSL you need.

Let’s go through both.

SSL certificates by number of sites

There are types of SSL available based on the number of domains you have. They are:

  1. Single-domain SSLs: Have just one website and don’t plan on creating anymore? This is probably the ideal SSL for you.
  2. Multi-domain SSLs: If you have more than one domain, this is the best option for you. Multi-domain certificates usually secure 3-100 sites under one SSL.
  3. Wildcard SSLs: With this kind of SSL, you secure one domain and multiple domains of one level linked to it.

Once you decide which of these SSLs is right for you, you must choose a validation level.

Validation levels

The validation level you opt for will be dependent on the kind of website you have. For instance, for a minimal personal site, the lowest level is likely fine. For an e-commerce site, you might want something a little more comprehensive. This is because the validation level can serve as peace of mind for customers. When they click on the padlock symbol in the address bar, they’ll see information about your site and the people running it. The higher the validation level, the more information within. The three different validation levels are:

  1. Domain validation: The lowest level, this only checks that you have control over the site you wish to secure.
  2. Organization validation: A little more comprehensive, the issuing certificate authority will carry out a few more checks regarding ownership of the site.
  3. Extended validation: Favored by enterprises, this comes with the most extensive background checks, and SSLs can take several days to be issued.


Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what kind of SSL you should get for your particular website. Picking an SSL can seem daunting at first, but it’s really not. Once you familiarize yourself with the SSLs by number of sites and validation level, it should be clear which SSL type suits your needs.

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