Here’s How to Select the Right Code Signing Certificate Provider
If you’re a Software Developer or a Publisher, then you might already know how important it is to sign your software, codes, and executable files using a code signing certificate before making them available to the public. You may even know how stringent the process is for acquiring a code signing certificate, and you may also know how important it is to get it from a respected certificate authority.
But, have you ever thought about how to know which certificate providers are right for you? In this article, we’ll discuss some of the things to consider before selecting a code signing certificate provider.
How to Pick the Cheapest Code Signing Certificate Provider
Before you choose the best code signing certificate provider, you’ll want to take a few important things into consideration so you don’t regret your decision later on.
- Time Stamping
- Good Value for the Price
- Core Business
- Unlimited Signing via One Code Signing Certificate
- Certificate for Both: Individual and Commercial Software Publishers
User trust is of the utmost importance for the success of your software, app, or any other executable file. So, whichever certificate provider you go for, be sure that their signature (which you use for signing your code, app, or any executable files) is trusted globally.
In other words, be sure that the CA has a global root embedment program to assure that all common applications and platforms support it or else it’s highly possible that you may come across the warning message “The security certificate was issued by a company that is not trusted“.
2. Time Stamping
No matter which certificate provider you choose you’ll find their code signing certificate will have a one to three year validity period. And, once that validity period is over, the signature will expire and your code or software will be treated as insecure. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to overcome this issue: Time Stamping is provided to ensure the signed code remains valid even after the certificate expires. So, be sure that your CA offers time stamping–without any extra or hidden charges.
3. Good Value for the Price
It’s a fact that similar certificates are provided with different price ranges from various certificate authorities. And what’s more, those certificates are sold at another price by their resellers. No doubt, brand and its popularity along with other things do make a price difference, but be sure you know beforehand that you’re getting good value for the price you’re paying. For example, do they offer good value with the functionality and customer experience for the price you’re paying for the certificate?
4. Core Business
It’s not unusual that some companies provide multiple things through the same business. For example, SSL certificates along with web hosting. So, be sure that you go for a certificate provider whose primary business is in this industry and not treated as a side business. Furthermore, if you go with a company whose core business is in code signing or other x.509 certificates, you’ll get a different experience. For example, good customer experience, the wealth of instructional & troubleshooting guides, extra discounts, and more…
5. Unlimited Signing via One Code Signing Certificate
Usually, you’re allowed to sign an infinite number of codes and executable files within the certificate’s validity period. But, be sure that you verify this because some CAs do place a limit on how many times you can use the certificate to sign files. Surely you don’t want to have to purchase the same certificate again if you can get one capable of signing unlimited files.
What makes a certificate authority trustworthy? Before selecting any certificate provider, especially if it’s new, verify whether:
- Independent third-parties like WebTrust audited the certificate provider.
- The certificate provider operates with full compliance with their CPS (Certificate Practice Statement).
- Is the certificate provider well respected and credible within their industry?
- How is the reputation of the certificate provider you selected? A certificate provider with a good reputation can encourage success and additional downloads of your app or software.
7. Certificate for Both: Individual and Commercial Software Publishers
Software publishers are generally in two groups, an organization that publishes commercial software or an individual who works for themselves and distributes their software. Be sure to know in which group you belong to and whether the certificate provider you chose provides certificates for your category. Because in many cases, certificate providers may support only commercial software publishers and not individuals.
You don’t have to be an expert in certificate authorities, but it’s best to verify a few things before making the final decision or payment. So you can rest assured, the certificate provider you’ve chosen is providing the right certificate along with all the features and functionalities you need, and all in the right price range.