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Different Types of Certificate Authority

When people go to opt, buy, or renew a certificate for their application, account, or server. They are often confused with they should go to which certificate authority to get the certificates. We have created this post to simplify all the different types of certificate authority to help them out from this confusion. Let’s see what are the different types of the certificate authority one after one.

What Is A Certificate authority?

The certificate authority (CA) is an organization that issues electronic certificates. A certificate authority verifies the identity of the person or organization to which it issues a digital certificate. Certificate authorities use a variety of verification methods, ranging from simple confirmation of name and address to more rigorous authentication, which can include proving possession of a physical token, such as by using two-factor authentication. Certificate authorities issue certificates that contain a public key and the identity of the owner. The owner can use the certificate to prove their identity to others. Certificate authorities are important in public-key infrastructure (PKI) because they vouch for the binding between a public key and the entity that owns it.

Types Of Certificate Authority By Function:

There are four different types of Certificate Authorities (CAs) when it comes to its functional division, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Below is a brief overview of the four different types of CAs.

Domain Validated (DV) Certificate Authorities:

DV CAs are the most basic type of CA. They verify that you own the domain name that you are requesting a certificate for, but they do not verify your identity. DV CAs are the fastest and easiest type of CA to get a certificate from.

Organization Validated (OV) Certificate Authorities:

OV CAs verify both your domain ownership and your organization’s identity. OV certificates usually take longer to obtain than DV certificates because the CA has to verify your organization’s identity.

Extended Validation (EV) Certificate Authorities:

EV CAs offer the highest level of security and trust. In addition to verifying your domain ownership and organization’s identity, EV CAs also verify your physical address. EV certificates can take several weeks to obtain because the CA has to perform a thorough verification process.

Self-Signed Certificate Authorities:

Self-signed CAs are CAs that have not been accredited by any of the major browser vendors. This means that browsers will not trust websites that use self-signed certificates unless the user specifically tells the browser to trust that particular CA. Self-signed CAs should only be used in cases where it is not possible to obtain a certificate from a trusted CA.

Types Of Certificate Authority By Authority:

When it comes to the authority division, the certificate authorities are divided into two main categories:

Internal/0Private Certificate Authority:

A Private Certificate Authority (PCA) is a CA that is operated by a single organization, usually for the purpose of issuing certificates to devices and/or users belonging to that organization. Devices and/or users belonging to other organizations are typically not authorized to receive certificates from a PCA.

External/Public Certificate Authority:

A Public Certificate Authority (PCA) is a CA that is operated by a third-party organization, usually for the purpose of issuing certificates to devices and/or users belonging to multiple organizations. Devices and/or users belonging to any organization can typically receive certificates from a PCA.

Types Of Certificate Authority By Hierarchy:

There are three types of Certificate Authorities in hierarchy: root, intermediate, and issuing Certificate Authority.

Root CA:

A root CA is a Certification Authority that is trusted by the operating system. The certificates issued by a root CA are considered to be valid without any further verification.

Intermediate CA:

An intermediate CA is a Certification Authority that is not trusted by the operating system but whose certificates are signed by a root CA. The certificates issued by an intermediate CA are considered to be valid if they can be verified by the root CA.

Issuing CA:

An issuing CA is a Certification Authority that is not trusted by the operating system but whose certificates are signed by an intermediate CA. The certificates issued by an issuing CA are considered to be valid if they can be verified by the intermediate CA.

Types Of Certificate Authority By Product:

Two major types of Certificate Authority by product:

Commercial Certificate Authorities:

These are the most expensive and offer the highest level of security. However, they can be difficult to work with and may not be compatible with all browsers.

Open Source Certificate Authorities:

These are free to use but may not be as secure as commercial options. They are usually more flexible and easier to work with, however.

Conclusion

Which type of CA is right for you will depend on your needs. If you are looking for a trusted SSL/TLS certificate, a commercial CA is the best option. If you are looking for a low-cost or free SSL/TLS certificate, an open-source CA may be the best option. If you need an internal CA for your organization, an enterprise CA is the best option. And if you are looking for the most trusted CA possible, a root CA is the best option. If you still need more explanation about specific or multiple Certificate Authorities, make sure to contact us. You can leave your queries as a comment below or drop an email to us. Email IDs are at the bottom of the site.

We hope this post will help you understand the different types of Certificate Authority. Please share this post and help to secure the digital world. Visit our social media page on FacebookLinkedInTwitterTelegramTumblr, & Medium and subscribe to receive updates like this.

About the author

Arun KL

Hi All, I am Arun KL, an IT Security Professional. Founder of “thesecmaster.com”. Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Writer, Editor, Author at TheSecMaster. To know more about me. Follow me on LinkedIn

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