Faster, Longer, Better and…Cheaper

All those superlatives reflect really what the StartCom Certificate Authority really tries to present and deliver to its subscribers. Considering that StartCom provides legitimate, renewable digital SSL certificates with a validity period of one year free of charge, it’s hard to argue that it can get any cheaper. We don’t have to argue - they have the right price and thousands are making use of this service.

However the higher validated SSL certificates just got even better yet with an increased validity period of two years. This in addition to all the other benefits which those certificate already offer, like multiple domain names and wild card capabilities. Did you already know that there are no limits on the amount of certificates a subscriber may receive? Yes, that’s correct, once validated, a subscriber may receive unlimited certificates for his/her web sites.

Even though a small increase in the fees had to be applied, today’s subscribers will receive even more value for their hard-earned dollars. After performing Identity Validation,  subscribers are already eligible for all the benefits the higher validated certificates offer - this for only US$ 39.90 for two year certificates, instead of the previous fee of US$ 29.90 for one year. And optionally it’s possible to validate also your organization for only US$ 39.90.

What about Extended Validation? Also EV SSL certificates will be valid from now on for two years, the fee increased to US$ 149.90. The fees for EV are actually comprised of Identity validation (39.90) and Extended Validation (110.00) which is mostly due to StartCom’s approach of applying the fees for validations and not the certificates.

Interestingly Certification Authorities traditionally thought that they are selling digital paper, but what they are really doing is performing validations. StartCom doesn’t charge for the paper, but only for the content within the digital paper. It’s like the newspaper industry which thought they sell paper instead of content. With today’s Internet and other media, they clearly have difficulties selling the content instead of the paper…

Anyway, up to now I covered longer validity, better capabilities, cheaper prices….so what is faster? Noooo…don’t look to us for faster validation procedures, those may take typically anywhere between 30 minutes to 14 days. Validations are performed dutifully, no matter how long it takes until the stamp of approval can be applied.

One of the protections digital certificates offer to the relying parties, is the ability to know if a certificate is valid or not. Sometimes it’s not - in case it already expired or when it was revoked. Today’s modern browsers have capabilities to check the revocation status of a certificate by confirming a site’s certificate with an Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) responder. A browser performs this status check every time a secured web site is accessed and the certificate (and ultimately the CA) has the OCSP capabilities. Instead of downloading a long list of revoked certificates (called Certificate Revocation List - CRL), the browser asks online for the status of the specific serial number in the certificate and receives instantly a response. This makes accessing secured web sites much faster and more efficient.

StartCom was one of the first in the PKI industry to deploy such a responder in 2005. With the years this specific service, which is so critical for any visitor of a secured web site, was gradually improved. Today our OCSP responder answers constantly a significant number of requests every second, with an increasing tendency with every additional certificate which is issued. Truly a better experience for any visitor of StartCom secured web sites. And it just got better today…

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StartCom is very good.