If you’ve shopped around before buying an SSL certificate, you know that GoDaddy SSL certificates are much cheaper than other SSLs. Why are godaddy SSL certificates cheaper than Verisign, Thawte, Digicert, and other SSL Providers?
Different Types of SSL Certificates
First, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. GoDaddy tends to lead their SSL marketing efforts with their $12.99 per year domain validated SSL certificate. This is the lowest level of SSL. The verification level is only based on the domain the website is on. This is simple for GoDaddy to verify domain name ownership – they’re a domain registrar after all!
Other SSL providers now offer the equivalent of a domain validated SSL certificate. Even Verisign has a version, although they’re calling it a Trust Certificate or a Site Seal. However, even Verisign’s lowest level SSL is considerably more expensive than GoDaddy.
A domain validated SSL will work if you’re not an eCommerce site and aren’t collecting credit card or other personal information. If you want your site visitors to see a green browser bar, you need to go for the more expensive extended validation SSL, or EV for short.
An EV SSL is offered by Go Daddy as well. Their prices fluctuate a little bit, but last I checked a GoDaddy EV SSL was just under a $100 per year. More information at this site. This is considerably less than Verisign and other SSL certificate companies, who can charge near a grand for an extended validation SSL cert.
EV SSLs require company level verification, which takes more time – hence the higher cost. However, the green browser bar area by the URL address is noticed by customers, and worth the extra cost for the higher level of visitor trust it gains.
Wildcard SSLs are another place where GoDaddy is able to undercut the competition in price. GoDaddy has a UCC SSL that can be used on multiple websites and sub-domains. This can save a company a lot of money instead of having to buy a SSL for each site or subdomain.
SSL Technology Differences
Some companies claim they have better SSL technology that is safer than other SSL providers. Almost all technical experts I’ve talked to say this isn’t the case any longer. A few years back some SSL companies had higher browser compatibility. However, as browser technology has improved, SSL compatibility is nearing 100% for all major SSL certificate authorities.
There is no technical difference between GoDaddy certificates and any other major Certification Authority. So, don’t let that myth affect your choice of SSLs.
SSL Site Seal Branding
The main reason you have a SSL is to keep your customers safe. You also want to increase your conversion rate on your website. Building trust by installing a SSL on your site helps people finish transactions on your website at a higher rate.
Therefore, having a SSL certificate with a better brand recognition may be worth the price difference. Verisign’s brand is the most recognized SSL. GoDaddy is also a brand internet surfers know. You have to ask yourself the question if a Verisign branded SSL is worth more than a GoDaddy branded one.
Note: Symantec purchased Verisign’s SSL division a couple of years ago. They’re in the process of changing their site seal branding, which is highly risky. Will Verisign SSLs keep a higher trusted standing with visitors with the new branding? Only time will tell. But, this branding change makes the buying a Versign SSL a riskier proposition.
SSL Provider Company Strategy
Another reason why GoDaddy certificates are so much cheaper is due to company strategy. Go Daddy is trying to build share in the SSL market. They’re completely willing to give up some profitability to do it. GoDaddy built a web service company powerhouse by drastically cutting prices on domain names. It’s a model they’ve used successfully in the past.
SSL Buy Summary
In the end, it’s your call. Save a lot of money by using GoDaddy SSL certificates, or get a more recognized and higher trust level SSL with Verisign.