Excellent free SSL certificates with killer service to boot

If you aren't using StartSSL for your SSL certificate needs, you should take a hard look in the mirror and ask if the outrageous prices aged established Certificate Authorities charge are still justified. After all, it's the same encryption -- what you're paying for is browser support. Well, from the consumer perspective, rigor of the validation process is even more important -- ironically, I found StartCom validation process for their $40 Class 2 certificates to be far more rigorous than the "established" players who charge twenty times that.

When I first took a StartCom cert for a spin a couple of years ago, the issue I had was spotty browser support. Today, I'm happy to report that web browser support for the free StartSSL certificate is excellent. Well, almost...

Firstly, I'd like to say that both pre-sales and post-sales support are unbelievably good. Terms "pre-sales" and "post-sales" here used loosely -- the cert I got for giantdorks.org is free, after all. Anyway, I got almost instant email responses that actually made sense from people that run the thing, not some nonsense first level support crap you'd normally expect in the rare instances you do hear back.

Secondly, the setup is very fast. I was installing the certs about an hour after signing up. I haven't been buying a lot of certs lately, but the last one I purchased was a $15 RapidSSL cert from Dynadot and while they were great, it took about a day to get the certificate (and that was actually a renewal).

Finally, StartSSL browser support seems great. All browsers I care about had no problems with the free StartSSL cert. I tested the following:

Linux ..... Galeon 2.0.6 
Linux ..... Epiphany 2.24.1
Linux ..... Firefox 3.0.15
Linux ..... Firefox 3.5.9
iPhone .... Safari
iPhone .... Mercury 2.1
Windows ... IE 7
Windows ... IE 8
Windows ... Safari 3.1.2
Windows ... Firefox 3.1

If you use other browsers on other platforms, please point them to https://www.startssl.com/ and feel free to comment below if your browser craps on itself -- I'd love to hear about any browsers that don't like the StartSSL certificate.

The only browser that complained about the free StartSSL cert was IE6 on Win2K. I personally don't care -- anyone still using IE6 should get off the Web immediately. If you know anyone still running Win2K, plead they switch to Firefox or Chrome -- IE6 sucks ass -- if they refuse, unplug their monitor, which should bewilder them (and the Meek Squad) for months. However, If you do need a SSL cert supported by Internet Explorer 6, but don't need the green address bar (and don't enjoy flushing money down the drain), try the $15 RapidSSL cert from Dynadot. I can confirm that IE6 is happy with it.

Other than that, I don't see any reason to not go to StartCom for all my SSL certificate needs. If you do, I'd like to hear about it.


  • 1. Richard replies at 2nd March 2010, 5:15 pm :

    You didn’t include Chrome in your list, do you have a link I can test for you? Great find! Thats a decent price break. Thanks for sharing.

  • 2. Alain Kelder replies at 2nd March 2010, 5:36 pm :

    Hi Richard,

    Please try https://www.startssl.com/


  • 3. Adam Brown replies at 29th May 2010, 7:10 pm :

    Chrome works fine for me (v 6.0.408, OS 10.5).

    Thanks for the review, my next certificate will be from StartSSL.

  • 4. Mike replies at 3rd August 2010, 1:58 am :

    Thanks for the review. I just got a reminder from rapidssl.com that my cert will expire in 90 days; I think I will give startssl.com a try this time.

  • 5. Jeff replies at 15th June 2011, 5:59 am :

    I’ve found that StartSSL is a pretty bad provider. They have have lots of hidden fees they try to get you with once you have a cert. I’ve had poor customer service experience as well, with some emails going ignored.

  • 6. Alain Kelder replies at 15th June 2011, 10:27 am :

    That’s interesting, care to elaborate on the “lots of hidden fees” part?

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