Which SSL certificate should I choose?

How do you choose a company to purchase your SSL certificate? Choose based on convenience, reputation, and hosted shopping cart solution.

Thawte and Verisign are two of the most trusted names in the business. Entrust is another option. If you’re in the business, you know these names. If you’re not, one name brand over the other may not mean much to you unless you are a heavy online shopper and you’ve become accustomed to seeing the logo on many sites. Verisign probably has the biggest name brand recognition and has the most robust security levels approved to deal with current and future payment type needs.

Below I list the situtation followed by my preferred SSL choices, in order. This is purely subjective based on 15 years experience in the ecommerce industry as well as an online shopper.

What’s your situation? Recommended SSL certificate company, in order:
open source shopping cart software on shared server such as GoDADDY. Choose Verisign, Thawte, Entrust.
Custom one page checkout form hosted anywhere. Choose Verisign, Thawte, Entrust.
Volusion (hosted with Volusion). Choose Volusion SSL, Verisign.
Magento, hosted with RackSpace- Choose Verisign, Thawte, Entrust, GeoTrust.
Magento, hosted with anyone else- Choose Verisign, or host suggestion if they install.

If you have a hosted shopping cart solution such as Volusion, you may prefer to go with the host company ‘special offer’ which is usually cheaper and equally effective. However, if you have are using off the shelf software, or have your own server that may not I recommend only choosing one of the top brand name SSL certificates.

Both Thawte and Verisign have SSL with EV, a new higher standard of security.

Thawte SSL comparison chart link. Thawte also has a nice FAQ about which type of SSL certificate to buy

Compare Verisign SSL certificates
link.