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What Is the Difference between Shared and Private SSL Certificates?

Monday, July 29th, 2019

If you’re new to SSL certificates, they may seem quite puzzling at first. The SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) has long been replaced by the more secure TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol, yet the old acronym is still in use. All SSL certificates issued by trusted CAs offer the same level of encryption, but some cost hundreds of dollars while others are free. We’ve already explained the difference between free and paid SSL certificates, and now it’s time to address another popular question – What is the difference between shared and private SSL certificates?

Shared SSL Certificates

As the name suggests, a shared SSL certificate is issued to more than one client on the same server. It protects everyone on the machine because it uses the server name of the hosting company. While shared SSL certificates offer high-end encryption, they don’t provide authentication of your domain. Instead, they use your hosting company’s domain name to display the website URL, for example, yourdomain.com.servername.com.

Since a shared certificate can’t prove who owns your domain, browsers will flag your website as Not Secure. This is one of the worst things to happen to your site because now it will look suspicious, and visitors will stay away from it.

You shouldn’t use a shared SSL certificate on your main domain. Whether you have a personal blog or an e-commerce site is beside the point. Today browsers can issue security warnings on any site with a shared SSL.

The only time it makes sense to use a shared SSL cert is away from the general’s public eyes. For instance, when accessing your Admin console or mail client.

Private SSL certificates

Private SSL certificates are domain name specific certificates. They secure an FQDN (fully qualified domain name), for instance: yourdomain.com, and are compatible with 99.3 % of web browsers. Unlike shared SSL, browsers trust all the private certificates issued by trustworthy Certificate Authorities. A private SSL certificate belongs to you, and you have full control over it. You can reissue your private cert any time, as well as install it on various servers and platforms.

All SSL certificates at SSL Dragon are private SSL certificates. They support various validation methods and depending on the type, can secure single domains, subdomains, and multiple domains under a single SSL installation.

A private SSL certificate includes information about your domain name and the validity period. Business Validation, or Extended Validation certificates, also contain details about your company. Visitors can inspect your certificate and verify whether you’re a genuine company or not. Private SSL offers a high level of customer trust, while shared SSL doesn’t provide any.

Conclusion

The HTTPS encryption is fast approaching the 90% figure across the entire Web. Every website needs an SSL certificate, and when it comes to choosing between a shared and private SSL, there’s a single winner. A private SSL is the only viable option to secure a domain name, and with so many brands and products available on the market, you can quickly find the perfect SSL certificate for your project and budget.