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We evaluated more than 80 of the cheapest SSL certificate services available from 15 different certificate authorities (CAs). All prices are based on one year of service, paid annually. Many CAs offer discounts (sometimes very significant ones) for multiyear purchases.
The evaluations are based on:
All but one of the CAs list encryption at 128/256 bit, and all claim 99-percent browser ubiquity.
A note on resellers: Namecheap appears on this list several times. As a reseller of SSL certificates, the company offers cheaper prices than the originators of the certificates.
CACert free certificate
The only thing going for CACert is the price. The company doesn't indicate what the encryption rate is for its certificates, and in fact, the browser used for testing did not accept its site as using a valid CA.
This one is fine if you're just testing and don't want to use a self-signed certificate, but otherwise, avoid.
Comodo Positive SSL
If your company doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.
RapidSSL offers a single server certificate for a reasonable price. Be aware that RapidSSL also resells GeoTrust certificates for higher-volume sales, but for low-volume sales, this certificate is fine.
Network Solutions will verify your domain with the Network Solutions brand standing behind it — good for low-volume sales.
If your company wants the Comodo brand, needs company validation, and doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good choice.
Comodo offers a cheaper option with a decent warranty and both domain and company verification.
This certificate is great for a small ecommerce business or a site that sells just one or two services. The warranty is not the best in the industry, but it's great for the price.
If you already have a GoDaddy hosting or DNS account, then adding SSL is easy. The company offers only domain validation, so it's not as good of an assurance provider as others on this list. If you want to keep all your things in one place, however, GoDaddy makes this easy. The company reduced its warranty at a time when other CAs are increasing them.
Thawte SSL Web Server
Price: $199.00 per yearIssuance: UnknownSeal: YesValidation: Domain and companyWarranty: $1,250,000Wildcard: NoRefund: 15 days
If your company needs a strong warranty, this is the best available for the price.
Comodo Multi-Domain SSL
Price: $149.00 per yearIssuance: Two business daysSeal: YesValidation: DomainWarranty: UnknownWildcard: YesRefund: 15 days
If your company has many domains, this might be a good choice.
Comodo Positive SSL Wildcard
Price: $89.00 per yearIssuance: Less than 15 minutesSeal: YesValidation: DomainWarranty: $10,000Wildcard: YesRefund: 15 days
This is the cheapest we found that includes Wildcard SSL.
Price: $199.00 per yearIssuance: Two business daysSeal: YesValidation: Domain and companyWarranty: $1,250,000Wildcard: NoRefund: 15 days
If your business wants the GeoTrust name and needs business verification as well as domain, this is a good choice.
Network Solutions Basic
Price: $124.50 per yearIssuance: Two to four business daysSeal: YesValidation: DomainWarranty: $50,000Wildcard: NoRefund: None
This certificate is the most expensive on this list, but carries with it the trusted Network Solutions brand.
The warranty is OK for a small ecommerce site.