I want talk a little bit about about StartSSL.com
, a company that provides SSL Certificates. They actually do a lot of things under the umbrella of StartCom
, but I'm only going to talk about SSL services here, and in particular, SSL Certificates for web sites.Preface: An Introduction to SSL CertificatesSSL Certificates
are a source of much frustration for small companies and indie website operators.
The idea of SSL Certificates is a good one. They offer a way for users who connect to your website to have some assurance that you are who you say you are -- that the person running the website they are connecting to is really the person in charge of the organization they say they are, and that they aren't being tricked by someone who has intercepted their connection to the web (man-in-the-middle style attacks).
But web browsers (firefox, internet explorer, chrome, opera, safari, etc.) have decided to combine this idea of verifying the identity of the company running a website with the mechanism for establishing a secure connection protocol from your browser to the website (https). Secure connections can be very important in preventing neighbors and snoops from discovering your login passwords, etc. as you browse the web.
Unfortunately, the way that web browser makers have combined these features has results in a real dilemma for small developers and indie website administrators.