Explaining digital certificates

What is a Certificate?

A digital certificate is used to show ownership of a site or domain which allows for secure connections to be made between a site end user and the server delivering the content. These can be either self-signed or provided by a certificate authority that collects fees for their service. A self-signed certificate adds no extra costs to maintaining your site, but will usually require that each visit to your site be explicitly allowed as a security exception by your users and generally shouldn't be used on a commercial site. Typically the least level of protection that a commercial site should use is a digital certificate verified through a trusted certificate authority, or CA. Certificate Authorities will generally verify access to certain domain resources, such as a commonly used administrator email address. 

When using Yottaa we are required to either add you to an existing SAN certificate or to create a dedicated topology for those clients who request an extended validation certificate. 

SAN Certificates

A SAN certificate or "Subject Alternative Name" certificate allows one SSL certificate to host multiple domain names and subdomains. A typical example is using a mail.site.com, www.site.com, or mobile.site.com. Yottaa uses SAN certificates to allow us to provide improved site security features at a lower price point by spreading the cost of the certificate across multiple clients. These can be added to a site directly through the Yottaa portal and billing related questions should be directed to billing@yottaa.com. 

Extended Validation Certificates

Extended Validation or EV certificates are a single domain certificate. These do not allow for wildcard usage or shared certificates within a domain. These are a more expensive certificates that allow a green identification bar to show up on most major browsers that indicates that companies have undergone a more rigorous verification process. Using an extended verification certificate requires that Yottaa set up a dedicated topology. If you are interested in this please contact billing@yottaa.com for more information regarding updating your account and associated costs. 

Which one is right for my company?

For most clients a SAN certificate allows the most flexibility for the best value. Some clients prefer the exclusivity of having an extended validation certificate, despite the costs and limitations associated with one. Because each client is unique, there is no one size fits all approach to certificates. If you're having trouble weighing the costs and benefits, please feel free to reach out to our team and we can help guide you through the decision process. 

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