The SSL Store. Overpriced Slick Marketing

Wed, 3rd April 2013, 15:37

The bold headline on a press release declares, The SSL Store™ is First to Qualify as a Symantec Website Security Specialist Partner.  Symantec Corporation, one of the world’s largest security software companies, has announced that The SSL Store™ is the first company worldwide to qualify as a Website Security Specialist Partner.


Now the marketing spiel..

This new level of accreditation recognizes businesses that have demonstrated the highest level of expertise in website security..  only available to companies that were already Platinum or Gold partners of Symantec. ... now have access to specialist online security blogs and roundtables to further ensure they can stay on top of the industry, in addition to Symantec’s preferred partner chat service, which is designed to help streamline a high volume of sales and support contacts... ahh there are the keywords “high volume of sales

Founded in 2007, The SSL Store™ has since grown to become one of the largest SSL providers in the world...  Yada yada yada.


Save 20% Compared to Vendor Pricing.. okay whatever!

The SSL Store™ provides an overwhelming array of choices, and pricing with their website offerings.

Example of SSL certificate pricing on The SSL Store website 

One example listed on The SSL Store front page: 

The  Symantec™ Secure Site Pro with EV (SGC)

Enable Server Gated Cryptography (SGC) to Ensure Strong Encryption
1 Year @ $1,199.00 per year [RRP: $1,499.00 ] 20%. of savings
2 Years @ $1,049.00 per year [RRP: $2,695.00 ] 22%. of savings Recommended

The Symantec™ Secure Site Pro with EV SSL Certificate, with 99.9% browser recognition, provides a minimum of 128-bit and up to 256-bit encryption. The Symantec™ Secure Site Pro with EV SSL Certificate includes Server Gated Cryptography (SGC) to ensure strong encryption (a trillion times a trillion times stronger than 40-bit) to all site visitors, including those with nonstandard or older browsers and OSs. Its $1.5 million NetSure® extended warranty is the highest in the SSL industry. Includes the Norton™ Secured Seal.

Extended Validation (EV) enables the green address bar in major browsers, and True 128-bit SSL Certificates (i.e., those with SGC) allow every site visitor to experience the strongest SSL encryption on the market.

Some nonstandard and older browsers and operating systems will not connect at the strongest encryption level without Server Gated Cryptography (SGC) SSL encryption in place. Symantec™ is the leading Certification Authority (CA) for SGC-enabled SSL Certificates, providing across-the-board coverage more than any other company, encryption that protects over 99.9% of Internet users.

(dig deeper and you will find slightly less expense “deals” although it appears you may have to forgo that familiar green address bar)


Server Gated Cryptography to Ensure Strong Encryption???

The reality is that there is no need for Server Gated Cryptology (SGC) to conduct secure transactions. SGC was a workaround to some antiquated US law, now-repealed, that prevented US companies from exporting software using encryption higher than 40-bit. SGC allowed the encryption level to “step up” to 128-bit.  All modern browsers provide support for at least 128-bit encryption — which, even with today’s computers, cannot be compromised.

The only people affected by lower-bit encryption are using international versions of the following browsers and/or operating systems: 

  • Internet Explorer® versions from 3.02 but before version 5.5
  • Netscape® versions after 4.02 and up through 4.72
  • Windows® 2000 systems shipped prior to March 2001 that have not downloaded Microsoft’s High Encryption Service Pack and are using Internet Explorer
These antiquated browsers — if you’re still using them you need to get off the web super highway! Internet Explorer 3 was released in 1996 and Netscape no longer even makes an Internet browser — they are so old that the security risk from using them is greater than any risk posed by 40-bit encryption.


Paying these prices for SSL certificates is just really dumb

Comparison of pricing offered by various SSL issuers   

Go-Daddy is one of many SSL provider, offering standard certificates with 256-bit encryption and 99% browser recognition, in less time, and at substantially less money. Go-Daddy also offers Premium SSL extended validation certificate which validates domain ownership and verifies the overall legitimacy of the business through extensive vetting. These SSL have the green URL address bar and padlock, as well Verification Seal Options for $99.99 per year... buy the 2 year option for even less!   As I said, Go-Daddy is not the only option out there.

A very quick price check underscores the point. Web host Fused SSL certificates are $65.00 per year and SiteGround SSL certs are priced at $82 per year. Many web hosting companies now include as standard SSL certificates on business packages. Both Fused and A Small Orange business web hosting plans are inclusive of SSL certificates as standard.

There are numerous web hosting companies offering similar pricing and deals. Seriously, why pay more than you need to for an SSL certificate for your website!

Shared Hosting - from $2.88/mo>