First Look Review:RapidSSL
Buy SSL certificates the easy way
Reviews September 1st, 2009
Verdict:
RapidSSL is one of the easiest SSL options we have found. SSL certificates can be purchased and delivered in around 5 minutes using a simple web based portal.
Pros:
Easy web based purchase process means no paperwork is needed to buy a SSL certificate. Excellent documentation makes it easy to install the SSL certificate with a wide range of software. Free trial certificates mean you can try before you buy.
Cons:
Must pay for each server on which a certificate is installed.
Price:
$79 per year
By Roger Howorth

RapidSSL specializes in selling SSL certificates to businesses and non profit organisations. In The Hypervisor labs tests we found the thing that sets it apart from many of its competitors is the quick purchase process and excellent support documentation.

For example, some SSL certificate suppliers require you to send them documentary proof of your business address, such as a copy of your lease agreement, plus a range of other similar paperwork. The names on these documents must match the domain name used by the SSL certificate. In many cases this kind of paperwork can be difficult or impossible to obtain. Of course, these procedures are designed to prevent criminals and other unscrupulous individuals from obtaining SSL certificates for fraudulent purposes. But whether they are really effective is open to doubt, because criminals and other ne’er-do-wells would probably not find it too difficult to forge such documentation.

In contrast RapidSSL has devised a system of purchaser authentication that is much simpler to complete and possibly more secure.

In our tests we purchased an SSL certificate by filling in a few simple web forms. Part of the purchaser authentication process involved RapidSSL sending an email to one of several possible addresses ending with our domain name. Thus you need administrator access to the purchaser organization’s mail system in order to buy a certificate for that domain.

We completed the forms in a minute or so and completed the authentication procedures in another minute or so, and we received our SSL certificate within five minutes of placing the order.

Of course, receiving the SSL certificate is only half the problem. These things can sometimes be very tricky to install. For example, most people would need some kind of assistance the first time they install an SSL certificate for use with the popular Apache web server. However, there’s plenty of Apache help and documentation available on the web so most people could cope even if their SSL supplier couldn’t help. But configuring more obscure server software such as Postfix or IMAP open source mail servers with SSL certificates could be impossible without support from the SSL certificate vendor. We were pleased to see RapidSSL had documents on its web site covering this and a wide range of other server software.

There is also a free trial option that gives you a fully featured SSL certificate valid for one month so you can test the purchase and installation procedures spending any money.

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