Where to Find Cheap SSL Certificates
I didn't know much about the world of SSL Certificates a few years ago, so it was confusing about where to purchase them. Luckily my host had a deal running at the time that let me in on a little secret for purchasing SSL certs. Basically, ssl is ssl and any certificate, including a self signed one will encrypt your data just fine. However, now that modern browsers have bought into the whole SSL industry, you need to purchase one that works with them. IOW, self signed certs and free certs are kind of a thing of the past, unless you are using them yourself or don't mind the questions about security from your users. So now that you have to purchase an SSL certificate, the question becomes where and how much should you spend.
There are lots of SSL vendors out there, but you need to know how they operate in order to get the best deal. Most SSL companies work on a dealer or reseller model. That means that they offer the SSL certificates from their site and hugely inflated prices, while their dealers offer the same certs for a huge cost savings. The SSL companies normally have deals with major hosting companies simply to increase their customer base.
So, what you want to look for when buying SSL certs is a hosting company that is offering certs for a reduced cost. I use certs from The Planet simply because I know they work with my host, but I know GoDaddy and Dotster also offer similar deals. Here are The Planet's current deals. If you compare it to the certs offered direct from GeoTrust you can save about $200 per year. The only downside that I've found with these cheaper SSL certs is that you can only purchase them for 1 year at a time. To me, that is worth the cost savings.
In case you're wondering, the more you pay for an SSL cert, the more of a pain it's going to be to get (the really expensive ones require you to fax information to them, and authorize who you are over the phone). With the more expensive certs you'll also get little images (I like to call them Trust Stickers), to put on your site to show everyone how trustworthy your website is. The SSL companies really push these and tell you your customers look for these on every page they enter information on to make sure it's secure, but you'll just have to make up your own mind on whether or not to believe their biased info.