I'm looking for a simple domain SSL certificate for our company's website and I'm a little confused. A lot of them seems to offer the exact same features, yet at price ranges going from 5$ / year to 50$ / year.

How can a certificate be priced at 10% of a seemingly equivalent certificate? What am I missing?


For some reason, this was mistaken as a request for recommendation. English may not being my main language, but still I find it very surprising that there was enough people coming up to this conclusion to close it down.

Anyway, I hope the following can help making this post clearer:

I've compared many certificate providers, which I didn't and won't mention, and while I could see different types of certificates (domain, wildcards, etc), I couldn't see a single difference between two certificates of the same kind from two different providers... except the price. And sometimes that difference is huge.

I'm asking if, at large, there are subtilities I need to be aware of whenever I must choose a certificate, that could explain this variance in prices. In almost every market, such a variance would explain itself with material quality, company service, warranties, shipping fees and the likes. Here, I simply don't see it and I would like to know if there's anything, other than certificate types, that could explain it.

So again, this is not a request for a recommendation, it's just someone being very unfamiliar with the procedure of choosing a SSL certificate who's having a legitimate question about it.

TL;DR: Another way to say it would be this: I know little about SSL certificates, I see that specs are type (domain, extended, wildcard, etc), encryption strength and browser recognition, I'm comparing two right now that are equal on each of those specs but priced differently. Is there another spec I should be aware of?

  • 1
    possible duplicate of How to decide where to purchase a wildcard SSL certificate? – MadHatter Jun 21 '15 at 7:32
  • @MadHatter Now that's a legitimate closing reason. Thanks for pointing this topic out to me. – Crono Jun 22 '15 at 16:53
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    Some possible criteria: How large you see a chance the CA gets compromised; How many (and how expensive) reissues are possible in case your host gets compromised; How they treat cases when you made a typo on a subdomain and want to revoke free of charge within 2 days; Whether you get support from them in case you have trouble installing the cert/intermediate in your web server; Whether they inform you if they notice your cert has an issue (like weak debian key) – mihi Jun 22 '15 at 17:46

Unless you're forking out for an EV certificate, it's not worth paying more than $10-$15 for a single-domain cert. As long as the CA root/chain is trusted by major browsers, there's very little technical difference between a $5 cert and a $50 cert.

I've been using SSLMate recently, and have found it to be a really slick way to purchase and maintain certificates.

  • No need for EV, this is mainly to secure communications on an extranet portal which only our employees will use. I gotta ask, though: how can the more expensive providers even have a business? – Crono Jun 19 '15 at 19:46
  • Besides EV, wildcard certs are also a sensible reason one might choose to pay more. Other than that, a lot of people seem to pay more because it makes them more confident that they must be getting the good stuff. There's no other advantage really. – mc0e Jun 19 '15 at 19:49
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    @Crono Many of the more expensive providers are just trolling for suckers and get most of their business via much cheaper resellers. Comodo sells SSL certificates for $80ish, but Namecheap is a Comodo reseller that sells those same certificates for $8ish. – ceejayoz Jun 22 '15 at 17:18

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