I need to be careful how I recommend StartCom SSL certificates from now on.

It turns out that on page 12 of the StartCom policy document they tell you that you can’t use the free certificates for any commercial activities.

Their product descriptions, product comparisons and all other documentation I’ve found fail to mention this. They literally pointed me at the policy document when turning me down for a renewal — that is, they have no simpler or more straightforward explanation.

That is, they’re hiding it and then expecting me to not argue on renewal.

They’ve otherwise been great. No problems with service, a perfectly good web site for free/cheap certificates. Overall, I’ve had a very reasonable user experience… Until now.

It’s perfectly understandable that they want money for a certificate if I’m going to use it for commercial purposes.

They’re just taking a reasonable thing and presenting it dishonestly.

And now I’m paranoid about next renewal. What other carefully-buried terms did I not see?

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