Alpha SSL is a provider of open source SSL certificates. They are on top of things in the open SSL industry and have prepared for the Heartbleed bug. The company is based out of the UK, but also has offices in New York and Japan. The company prides itself on selling "cheap" SSL certificates-we weren't quite sure how we felt about a company calling its own SSL certificates cheap. "Affordable" might be a better label.
Alpha SSL also has a marketplace for reselling SSL certificates. Though they do not directly resell SSL certificates, customers can sign up for a reseller account and offer older SSL certificates for as low as $10 in a marketplace format. It is also possible to have a bunch of certificates reissued to a new holder for a flat fee.
Alpha SSL does claim to have pretty good customer support, claiming that no certificate ticket goes 24 hours without an answer. However, this assertion was not validated by the experience we had reviewing their website.
StartCom is a company from Eliat, Israel that designs open source operating systems, web hosting, and SSL certificates. The StartCom certificate is included in all the standard operating systems including Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and IE. The company offers several different SSL certificates and includes a free version and a wildcard version. StartCom offers a StartComFree certificate, which works for web servers and email encryption. It also offers higher-level certificates with costs, where a validation is necessary. It is important to note that their standard certificate is for non-commercial use only. The free certificate did not include this restriction, but there are different types of commercial certificates available.
RapidSSL is a company that is owned by GeoTrust. They offer a fast-track approach to securing your domain and website with two simple products, a standard single certificate for your website or a wildcard SSL certificate for your website.
Overall, the company sets a standard in the industry by providing fast, affordable SSL certificates for small- to medium-sized businesses. They implement a simple, accurate, and fast authentication process. Overall, we felt like these certificates would be a great fit for a company that needs a certificate right away.
It is important to realize that if you are purchasing a RapidSSL certificate, this company is in the business of only selling RapidSSL single website certificates and SSL wildcard certificates. You will not find specialized certificates with RapidSSL, such as an extended validation certificate.
Comodo is an online company that strives to create customer trust on the Internet. Their mission is utilized in the “Creating Trust” marketplace. Comodo has a team of over 600 people that has a passion for meeting challenges online with trust--for example, their software is designed to prevent malware, Trojans, worms, and more. The SSL certificates that they offer include asymmetrical and symmetrical encryption.
Comodo was founded as a Certificate Authority selling Comodo SSL and digital certificates. Its primary source of revenue comes from related products to business and enterprises. Related E-Commerce products include PCI Compliance Scanning and Web Site Vulnerability Scanning. The company was founded in 1998 in the UK, but also has several locations within the United States.
DigiCert, Inc is a privately held US company. They provide SSL certificates as a trusted third party. They verify the authenticity of secure websites on behalf of a web browser to stop online phishing scams. DigiCert is a founding member of the CA Forum and helped set the SSL industry standards. DigiCert also was one of the main companies that helped establish the Extended Validation SSL Certificate.
One of the neat facts about DigiCert is that they are the largest public Certificate Authorities that does not sell “domain validated” or instant SSL certificates. It primarily sells Organization Validation and Enhanced Validation (EV) SSL certificates. DigiCert also worked with Microsoft to develop subject alternate names in SSL certificates for use on the Microsoft Exchange Server.
DigiCert is also based out of Lehi, UT. Ken Bretschneider founded this company in 2003. He’s been a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. He left to head up People Water. Nicholas Hales is the CEO of DigiCert, which is majority owned by TA Associates, a private equity firm.
Symantec is one of the largest players in the SSL certificate and website security industry. They offer SSL certificates, Norton Antivirus, and other web security products. We reviewed their SSL certificate brands.
Symantec was founded in 1982, with a focus on artificial intelligence and technology. Over the years, Symantec has rebranded, acquired new companies, and developed a focus towards web security and technology. The company is a Fortune 500 organization and is a member of the S&P 500, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company has undergone several mergers and acquisitions over the years. In 2014, Symantec split into two different companies, a division that will be completed by the end of 2015. One company, still carrying the name “Symantec,” will continue selling SSL certificates and other online security products. Vertias Software, another company resulting from the split, will focus on information protection and management.