Paid SSL vs Free SSL: Which One Should You Opt For?

The number of websites are increasing exponentially, and so are the number of attacks and hacking attempts. Today, every site owner’s primary concern is the security of the website. Also, in such an environment, installing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate is a must. With dual benefits of providing site security and boosting search engine rankings, there is no excuse for not having an SSL Certificate installed on your site.

There are two types of SSL Certificates available – Free and Paid. Interestingly, both these types offer the same level of encryption to websites. However, encryption is not the only feature of an SSL Certificate. Today, we will compare the free and paid SSL Certificates to help you determine the right one for you.

Free and Paid SSL Certificates

A Free SSL Certificate does not have any cost associated with it. These certificates allow websites to make HTTPS available at no cost. Free certificates are of two types:

  • Self-Signed – the issuer signs the certificate himself/herself
  • Signed by a Certificate Authority (CA)

On the other hand, a Paid SSL Certificate is issued at a price. You can purchase them from a CA or third-party entities called resellers.

We have already specified that the level of encryption in a paid and free certificate is the same. Here are some differences between the two:

Paid vs Free SSL Certificates

Feature Free Paid
Types of certificates Free SSL Certificates only have a Domain Validation (DV) option. This means a basic level of authentication. Also, they don’t offer Organization Validation (OV) or Extended Validation (EV) certificates. Paid SSL Certificates offer DV, OV, and EV certificates.
Validation If a CA is issuing a free certificate, it only verifies the identity of the website owner. For paid certificates, the CA verifies the identity of the owner of the website and conducts an in-depth verification of the business.
Validity of the Certificate Free certificates are valid for 30-90 days. Paid certificates are usually valid for 1-2 years.
Trust factor Since free certificates only provide domain-level validation, users have no visible reasons to trust the site. With OV and EV certificates, the website has visual indicators like the name of the business in the URL, information about the certificate, etc. This makes the site more trustworthy.
Warranties Free SSL certificates have no warranties. Therefore, in case of any technical error, you are on your own. Paid SSL certificates are backed by warranties.
Support No support offered by the CA Most paid certificates come bundled with a 24×7 support via chat, email, or phone call.


Summing Up

Remember, trust is important for any website. People will not be comfortable even giving out their real names if they don’t trust a site, forget about personal information and financial details. Hence, choose a certificate that meets the needs of your website. A paid SSL certificate is usually preferred by most sites as it makes it easier for people to trust them. Decide carefully. Good Luck!