SSL Certificates explained: DV vs. OV vs. EV

https sign

Today’s privacy laws make it imperative for webmasters to secure their sites. Search engines take this so seriously that they penalize sites that don’t display SSL certificates. Should a visitor want to navigate to such pages, the search engine warns them that the site isn’t secure.

The problem is easy to rectify. You’ll need to apply to a Certificate Authority (CA) for validation. In this post, we’ll go through your options so that you know which applies to your website.

Domain Validated (DV)

This is the “starter” plan. The least expensive option, it’s also the one you’ll find most often as well as the fastest option, taking minutes or hours. Many hosting companies today offer this type free as a value-add.

The CA validates that the person applying has control of the website. There are two ways to do this:

  • Sending a link to the site’s registered owner on WHOIS. When the person clicks on the link, it confirms who is in control of the registered email for the page.
  • The CA may also provide a file for the webmaster to place on the page. When the file is in place, it verifies that the applicant controls the domain.

This common verification affords the page some credibility. This verification will help your page rank in search engine results.

The warranties that come with this product are limited to $10,000 or $20,000, at most.

Organization Validated (OV)

You’ll pay extra for this type because of the work associated with it. This type validates the applicant organization and the domain. The certificate displays the company’s name.

OVs engender greater trust than is the case with the DV validation. Visitors clicking on the link will see that the organization’s name matches that of the site. If you need to collect sensitive information, this type provides more reassurance for the visitor.

This type of validation is useful in other areas of the digital world. Companies may use it to sign documents, codes, emails, or for client authentication.

The process of acquiring an OV is a little longer, so it might take up to three days. The additional work and expense benefit the site owner. The warranty for these products is a lot higher than with the DV.

Webmasters will also receive site seals to display on their pages. These visual indicators are something that savvy web users will require.

Extended Validation (EV)

With an Extended Validation, the CA checks that the organization is a valid one. This type of validation costs the most and takes the longest. It may take seven to fourteen working days to receive.

This is the type that engenders the most trust from users. Large organizations and financial institutions most commonly use the EV. This check confirms that the company is a legitimate one.

The EV is also useful as a digital signature for code. Organizations like Apple will use EVs when distributing software and updates.

Which One Do I Choose?

You’ll need to decide based on who your target market is and what information you want. Most people will give out their email address easily. They will, however, be warier of handing over their home address or credit card details.

If you’re hosting a small bussiness website, a standard DV will suffice. When you upgrade to selling items, it might be better to upgrade to an OV. An ecommerce website would likely need an EV to convince people to buy their product.

Final Notes

The SSL certificate is only valid a year from the date of issue. Diarize the date you got yours so that you don’t forget to renew it. Not doing so on time might hurt your SEO efforts in the future.