Comparing SSL Certificate Validation Levels

Your visitors want to know who’s really on the other side of that URL. The best way to avoid an identity crisis and instill confidence is to make sure you have the right SSL Certificate.

When it comes to enabling an encrypted connection and confirming the domain owner, Domain Validation (DV), Organization Validation (OV) and Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates are the same. While protecting data in transit is important and now a browser requirement to avoid “Not Secure” warnings, the real value of SSL Certificates is that they validate the identity of who’s on the other end of the connection.

How and what is validated differs between certificates. The higher the level of certificate, the more in-depth the validation and, ultimately, the more confidence and trust you establish with visitors.

Here’s a summary that highlights the differences between DV, OV and EV validation so you can make an informed choice.

Domain Validation (DV)

Validation Level: Minimal. You simply must prove you own the registered domain.

Pros: It’s fast, inexpensive and easy.

Cons: When visitors click the padlock, all they’ll see is domain registry information. Pretty much anyone, including cybercriminals, can get one. With the vast majority of phishing sites having a DV SSL Certificate, the trust level is questionable.

Best for: Blogs, internal testing domains, one-person entities

Organization Validation (OV)

Validation Level: Moderate. You must prove your company or organization is a legitimate legal entity by providing up-to-date documentation.

Pros: It comes with a dynamic clickable site seal that displays validated company information.

Cons: The overall visual indicators are the same as for DV, so if visitors don’t know to click on the site seal, they may mistakenly assume you only have DV.

Best for: Small e-commerce sites and entities that don’t have the budget for EV, but still need to prove they’re trustworthy

Extended Validation (EV)

Validation Level: Highest. You must validate your organizational, physical and operational existence. Some of the processes is conducted manually to ensure legitimacy.

Pros: Boasts the best visual trust indicators to confirm the company name, so visitors instantly know they can trust you. Visitors can click the dynamic site seal to view more certificate details, including the issuing Certificate Authority to add credibility. EV SSL Certificates are proven to increase conversions.

Cons: The validation process takes a little more time.

Best for: Entities looking to maximize conversions and gain a competitive edge, national and global brands

Companies like Apple, Twitter and Bank of America know the importance of gaining trust online—that’s why they choose EV. And, no matter what size your organization is, or whether you’re local, national or global—your visitors have the same concerns. Trust us, they notice when you take the extra steps to prove you’re legitimate. It shows them you’ve made their security a top priority—and that goes a long way to winning their confidence.

Find the right SSL certificate for you.

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