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What aspect of a site's SSL certificate causes IE's address bar to turn green?

I'm working on a site which already uses SSL successfully, but am interested to know if there are different levels of certificate.

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Yes, it is a different level of certificate, as you say.

It's green when it is an Extended Validation Certificate. See Extended Validation Certificate at Wikipedia: "[...] a special type of X.509 certificate which requires more extensive investigation of the requesting entity[2] by the Certificate Authority before being issued. [...]"

The cheapest of certificates are usually domain-validation only, meaning the only thing that the certificate authority is guaranteeing is that the requestor of the certificate has control of the domain name. That's a very low threshold. The extended validation certificates require more than that. For instance, they verify the legal status of the business that is requesting the certificate, etc.

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9  
It's also a good way for the certificate authorities to make extra cash. Those green address bar certificates are not cheap. – The How-To Geek Aug 3 '09 at 16:59
    
There's a list of the different browsers and how/what they show EV vs Standard at: expeditedssl.com/pages/… – Mike Buckbee Jun 26 '14 at 21:35

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