2
Oct

Green bar SSL certificates, are they worth the high cost?

Green bar SSL certificates can cost up to 40x as much as regular SSL certs. Is it worth the added cost and effort to get the green bar?

Are green bar SSL certificates worth their high price tag? Like many site owners, have you ever wondered why some websites have a green security tab in the browser address bar?The short answer is buy and install an EV SSL certificate. First if you’re not familiar with SSL, it’s the security protocol that is used to encrypt website traffic. Once reserved for ecommerce websites, today delivering content via HTTPS (Secured HTTP) is becoming more common. This is partly because so many sites now store private data, and need to secure this data securely. It’s also about satisfying users concerns about their information being visible to 3rd parties.

An EV SSL certificate offers the highest available levels of trust and authentication to your website.

  • Comodo sales site about their EV certificates

What is an EV SSL Certificate?

The EV stands for Extended Validation. And that’s in a nutshell what differentiates EV certificates from regular SSL certificates. There is more validation of the business behind the site, and thus validated by the certificate. Regular SSL certificates can be purchased and installed by anybody, for virtually any domain. And even a shady operation without a real business presence can buy an SSL certificate and make it work on a domain. As a website user, SSL certificates only ensure you of some level of privacy when browsing the site thanks to the HTTPS protocol, they don’t really guarantee much about the business your dealing with. EV certificates thanks to additional screening offer at least the perception of greater safety. But is the green bar SSL certificate worth the cost?

Green bar SSL certificates

How to get the green bar SSL certificate

Simply put the type of SSL certificate and the process to install it are different than regular SSL certificates. Regular SSL certificates can be purchased for under $10/year from a number of resellers. And if you’re not after the green bar, users might not pay much attention to what brand of certificate you’ve purchased. A lot of site owners shop for SSL certs mainly on price. Developers also consider the ease of install, and the verification process involved. For green bar SSL certificates, the cost is higher, and the verification process relatively time consuming.

Examples of how green bar SSL certificates look in different browsers

DigiCert has a page that shows screenshots of how the green bar SSL certificate will look in each major browser. Note that the way the green bar SSL certificate is displayed varies but is quite similar across browsers. It also doesn’t matter that much which brand of EV certificate you choose, so long as it’s a true EV SSL certificate. Take a look at https://www.digicert.com/ssl-support/code-to-enable-green-bar.htm.

About Joel Milne
Lead developer at GoldHat Group.
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