Types of SSL Certificates

The different types of SSL Certificates perform varying tasks for different situations.

SSL is a protocol used to secure a site. SSL Certificates are given to sites which can be trusted to secure information fed into them. Sites with SSL Certificates have a system of encryption used in transmitting information from a web server to a browser and vice versa, guaranteeing site visitors that those who can view their information are only the people it is intended for.

There are different types of SSL Certificates and one must first understand each as they function differently. SSL Certificates of different types perform various tasks for different situations.

Web Server Authentication Certificate

This is the most popular certificate for securing a website. It is normally issued to secure the website’s traffic or other data connection. You may check the current Web Server Authentication Certificates by viewing the list in the SSL Certificate Wizard. Primarily used for securing web servers, Web Server Authentication Certificates can also be used to secure file transfers, email servers as well as data connections.

Unified Communications Certificate

As its name suggests, Unified Communications certificates or UC certificates secure Unified Communications products. Examples of these products are Live Communications Server and Exchange Server 2007, as well as other normal servers. This certificate allows you to secure multiple domain or server names using just one certificate.

Wildcard Certificate

This certificate allows you to secure an unlimited number of first level sub domains using a single domain name. To illustrate, let us use the example of a domain with the common name *.domain.com. One Wildcard Certificate will let you secure www.domain.com, mail.domain.com, secure.domain.com and basically any sub domain that replaces the character (*).

Extended Validation Certificate

Phishing attacks can now be prevented with the use of this new certificate, the Extended Validation (EV) Certificate. In this certification, an extended validation of your business and authorization to order the certificate is required and can take up to a few days or weeks to receive. It usually turns the address bar green which gives greater assurance to site visitors than high assurance certificates.

Low Assurance/Domain-Validated Certificate

This certificate only includes your domain name and not your business or organization name. As its name suggests, this certificate provides less assurance to your site visitors but it can be issued instantly and is usually cheaper.

Code Signing Certificate

In a Code Signing Certificate, you are able to digitally sign an executable or script that confirms the software author. This will basically guarantee that the code is not corrupted or altered since its signing.

E-mail Certificate

Encrypting and guaranteeing the authorship of an e-mail, the Email Certificate/S/MIME certificate is used to sign an e-mail.

Roof Signing Certificate

This type of certificate allows you to sign other certificates that are linked to a trusted root certificate. With a Roof Signing Certificate, you become your own certificate authority. This will allow you to issue certificates that all major browsers or clients trust.