With CAcert.org losing trust in browsers and OSs and StartSSL providing only top-level domain certificates, are there any free SSL certificates providers for second-level domains?

closed as off-topic by Xander, Mark, Steve, schroeder, Rory Alsop Aug 20 '14 at 7:26

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StartSSL does in fact offer free SSL certs for subdomains, though they are Class 1 certificates. You just have to go through a normal domain validation on the actual subdomain. Wildcard certificates (e.g. *.example.com) are not available for free, and are only available when you purchase a Class 2 or 3 cert. I have used these free subdomain certificates on my various personal projects, and they validate in Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and IE just fine. You don't get the green status bar, but you wouldn't anyway without paying for extended validation.

  • I see. It looks like you can only choose among a set of "pre-defined" subdomains in the select drop-down list. Am I correct? – moebius Aug 22 '14 at 7:45
  • I don't remember having to select from any pre-defined list. I got certs for alpha., testing., www., and a few other more random subdomains. They all work just fine. – Craine Aug 29 '14 at 16:38
  • StartSSL explicitly says their free certs won't work for sub-domains if you don't own the main domain. "it's not possible to validate a specific domain space or part thereof without controlling the parent domain." – Michael Dec 31 '14 at 18:28
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    And because I own the parent domain, I can validate the subdomain. Like I said, I have current, working certs for a half dozen subdomains, and even got a new one as recently as two weeks ago. Taken from their current CA policy: Multiple domains and sub domains may be supported in the Class 1 level provided they don't include keywords such as "shop", "credit", "finance", "bank" that might suggest commercial purpose… – Craine Dec 31 '14 at 18:46

As far as I am aware there is not. I don't believe that CAcert.org was really ever accepted widely by browsers if I remember right. You can get second-level domain certificates for fairly cheap though through GlobeSSL or SSLs.com and by fairly cheap I mean for about $10.00/year. I personally find SSLS.com easier to use than Globe but both are good.

  • SSLs.com doesn't resolve for me. Is it still around? – nnyby Apr 27 '15 at 23:28
  • It appears they are still there. I am not sure why they don't resolve for you. – Travis Pessetto Apr 29 '15 at 21:21

StartSSL offers free class 1 personal certificates which are accepted by most browsers. However, to get any higher-level certificates, you will have to purchase.


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    As mentioned by the asker. StartSSL does not provide SSLs for subdomains (I've tried). He wants a free one for a subdomain. – Travis Pessetto Aug 19 '14 at 17:17
  • I've gotten certs for subdomains for free from StartSSL, just earlier this year. Using them in production now. Did they change their policy recently? – Craine Aug 20 '14 at 3:04
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    I think he's looking for a way to get a cert for a subdomain while only owning the subdomain and not the domain, which StartSSL doesn't offer. – user2313067 Aug 20 '14 at 4:37

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