Best SSL Certificate Authorities: Where to Buy Cheap SSL & How to Setup?

Where to Buy Cheap SSL?

With Google Chrome browser now labeling all websites using HTTP encryption as “not secure”, installing SSL and implementing HTTPS on your website is no longer an option. Sites without SSL tend to be bumped down the search ranking ladders, so if you haven’t already – it’s way past time.

If you haven’t made the switch to HTTPS and would like to learn more, this article is for you.

It will also help first-time SSL users gain an overview with a comparison of popular Certificate Authorities.

Compare SSL Certificate Providers & Pricing

SSL ProvidersSingle Domain (DV)Organization Validated (OV)Wildcard SSLOrder Now
SSL.com$36.75/year*$48.40/year$224.25/yearClick Here
Namecheap$5.99/year$52.88/year$120.88/yearClick Here
TheSSLStore$14.21/year$30.40/year$62.29/yearClick Here
GoDaddy$63.99/year$159.99/year$295.99/yearClick Here
GlobalSign$249.00/year$349.00/year$599.00/yearClick Here
DigiCert$218.00/year$399.00/year$595.00/yearClick Here
Thawte$149.00/year$238.00/year$344.00/yearClick Here
GeoTrust$149.00/year$238.00/year$688.00/yearClick Here
Entrust$199.00/year$239.00/year$699.00/yearClick Here
Network Solutions$59.99/year$199.50/year$579.00/yearClick Here

Quick Recommendation

If you are new or starting a simple blog, a free Let's Encrypt or Auto SSL is sufficient. For easy setup, go with a hosting provider that support free SSL. For small businesses, SSL.com and NameCheap offers best value of money.

Table of Content


There are plenty of Certificate Authorities (CA) that you can go for securing an SSL certificate on your website. The 10 providers that we’ve listed below are the places that we recommend due to their business track record and pricing.

1. SSL.com

SSL.com - Cheap SSL, TLD, and digital certificates provider
Homepage of SSL.com – The website offers an easy-to-use wizard to help users choose the right SSL/TLS (try it here).

SSL.com is a top rated certificate authority (see BBB rating A+ here) that was founded back in 2002. They offer a wide range of digital certificates such as SSL/TLS server certificates, document signing code signing, and S/MIME email certificates.

Being a leading authority in the industry, SSL.com offers a number of features for its users, such as 256-bit SHA2 https AES encryption, free site seal, 24/7 support, and free unlimited certificate reissues during the lifetime of the certificate.

Benefits with SSL.com

  • Automated validation for Basic SSL
  • Protect both domain.com and www.domain.com
  • Unlimited server license and reissues
  • Up to $2 million relying party warranty
  • Within 5 minute issuance of certificate
  • Up to 90 days of carryover time
  • Phone, chat and email support available
  • 30 day money back guarantee

Certificate Types & Pricing:

  • Basic – $36.75 /yr
  • High assurance (OV) – $48.40 /yr
  • Premium (up to 3 subdomains) – $74.25 /yr
  • Multiple domains  – $141.60 /yr
  • Wildcard certificate – $224.25 /yr
  • Enterprise EV – $239.50 /yr
  • Enterprise EV (UCC/SAN) – $319.20 / yr

2. NameCheap

Namecheap SSL - Cheap basic SSL for individual bloggers and webmasters
Namecheap SSL (try it here).

NameCheap offers the full gamut of SSL certificates so you’ll find something there no matter what your requirements or budget. Standard Domain Validation certificates (PositiveSSL) start from $5.99 per year, but there are also premium certificates that go for up to $120.88 per year.

NameCheap SSL Solutions

  • Free SSL replacement with no payment required
  • Complete range of SSL certificate types
  • Advance SHA algorithm
  • Robust security with 256-bit encryption
  • Free, unlimited reissues
  • No paperwork required for DV certificates
  • Specialized customer support for SSL products
  • 30 days money back guarantee

Certificate Types & Pricing:

  • PositiveSSL (DV) – $5.99 /yr
  • Essential SSL (DV) – $9.99 /yr
  • InstantSSL (OV) –  $16.88 /yr
  • PositiveSSL (DV) Multi-domain – $17.99 /yr
  • InstantSSL Pro (OV) – $26.88 / yr
  • PositiveSSL Wildcard (DV) – $41.99 /yr
  • EssentialSSL Wildcard (DV) – $84.98 /yr
  • EV SSL (EV) – $38.88 /yr
  • PremiumSSL (OV) – $52.88 /yr
  • PremiumSSL Wildcard (OV) – $120.88 /yr

3. TheSSLStore.com

TheSSLStore.com - Compare SSL/TLD costs
Users can compare and purchase various SSL (and other security) products at TheSSLStore.

The SSL Store was founded in 2009. The company partnered with some of the biggest Certification Authorities (CAs) and offer a wide range of website security solutions. CAs in The SSL Store's partners list include: Symantec, RapidSSL, Thawte, Sectigo (Comodo), as well as GeoTrust.

Standard Domain Validation certificates (Positive SSL) start from $14.95 per year (RapidSSL), but there are also Organization Validated and Extrended Validation certificates that go for up to $2,600 per year.

Benefits with TheSSLStore.com

  • Platinum partners with world's leading CAs (see all brands here)
  • Learn, compare, and purchase from different CAs at the same place
  • Best price guarantee – The SSL Store has the cheapest SSL deal in market
  • Specialized technical support (with dedicated account manager) for SSL products
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Expert SSL installation service at $59.99

Certificate Types & Pricing:

  • Basic Domain Validation (DV) – starts from $14.21/yr
  • Organization Validation (OV) – starts from $30.40 /yr
  • Extended Validation (EV) SSL – starts from $75.24 /yr
  • Multi-Domain – starts from $42.75 /yr
  • WildCard – starts from $62.54 /yr
  • Multi-Domain Wildcard – starts from $200 /yr
  • Code Signing – starts from $82.50 /yr
  • Email & Document Signing – $15.82 /yr

4. GoDaddy SSL

While GoDaddy is more known for being a domain registrar with aggressive discounts for its first-time customers, they also offer SSL certification services. Their SSL certificates are often issued online within minutes and come with a 256-bit encryption.

SSL Features with GoDaddy

  • Padlock in the address bar
  • Protects unlimited servers
  • Display a security seal
  • Unlimited free reissues
  • 24/7 security support
  • Strongest SHA2 & 2048-bit encryption
  • Up to $1 million liability protection

Certificate Types & Pricing:

  • Basic Domain Validation – starts from $63.99 /yr
  • Extended Validation (EV) SSL – starts from $159.99 /yr
  • Wildcard SSL – starts from $295.99 /yr
  • Managed SSL – starts from $149.99 /yr

5. GlobalSign

GlobalSign SSL
GlobalSign SSL

Founded in 1996 and based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA, GlobalSign is one of the more popular SSL Certificate Authority in the market.

GlobalSign established themselves as a well-reputed identity service company by providing cloud-based PKI solutions to business who wants their website to have secure connections, conduct safe e-commerce transactions, and perfect content delivery to its users and customers.

About GlobalSign SSL/TLD Solutions:

  • The same certificate to use for www.domain.com and domain.com
  • Using SHA-256 and 2048 bit RSA keys encryption
  • Over 2.5M certificates issued worldwide
  • WebTrust accredited CA since 2001
  • Free SSL installation and management tools
  • Up to $1.5 million warranty
  • ECC support available

Certificate Types & Pricing:

  • Domain Validated SSL (DV) – $249 /yr
  • Organization Validated SSL (OV) – $349 /yr
  • Extended Validated SSL (EV) – $599 /yr
  • Wildcard SSL Certificate – $849 /yr

6. DigiCert

DigiCert
DigiCert SSL

The company motto for DigiCert is “Your success is built on trust”. This should give you a good idea of how seriously they take security. With a primary focus on SSL innovation, DigiCert aims to be the trusted security partner for all avenues of industry and commerce.

DigiCert was also the founding member of the CA/Browser Forum, and it's one of the few authorities involves in developing new SSL technology. The SSL certificates that they provide are OV Certificates, EV Certificates, and even DV Certificates for smaller businesses or websites.

Benefits of DigiCert

  • Trusted company – member of CA/Browser Forum
  • Secure both www.domain.com and domain.com
  • Free unlimited reissues for the lifetime
  • SHA-2 algorithm and 256-bit encryption
  • Free tools available for certificate management
  • Fast certificate issuance – within hours
  • Award-winning customer support

Certificate Types & Pricing:

  • Standard SSL -$218 /yr
  • EV SSL – $295 /yr
  • Multi-Domain SSL – $299 /yr
  • Wildcard SSL – $595 /yr

7. Thawte Security Solutions

Thawte
Thawte SSL

Thawte has been known for providing affordable SSL certificates as well as 17 years of reliability. They offer a comprehensive list of SSL products which includes EV, OV, DV, SGC, Wildcard, and even SAN SSL certificates.

As a low-cost SSL certificate provider, Thawte SSL plans are priced reasonably with their cheapest price going for $149 per year which includes a number of features such as 256-bit encryption. There is an option available to add Wildcard to the plan with additional charges.

Benefits of Thawte

  • Thawte free trial SSL certificate for 21-day
  • Company's site seal logo available
  • Install the certificate on unlimited servers
  • Free re-issue certificate at no extra charge
  • Tools to help you manage and install the certificate
  • 99% browser compatibility
  • Warranty up to $1.5 million

Certificate Types & Pricing:

  • SSL Web Server OV – $218 /yr
  • SSL Web Server with EV – $344 /yr
  • SSL 123 Certificate – $149 /yr
  • Code Signing – $474 /yr

8. GeoTrust

GeoTrust SSL
GeoTrust SSL

At GeoTrust, you can opt for a number of SSL certificates which include True BusinessID with EV, True BusinessID, True BusinessID Wildcard, and QuickSSL premium. Among them all, True BusinessID with EV is the recommended SSL certificate with the highest assurance and warranty at a competitive price.

Startups and small business would find GeoTrust pricings attractive, plus they offer a number of features such as 256-bit encryptions, extended validation, warranty ranging from $100,000 to $1.5 million, 99% browsers compatibility, and unlimited customer support.

Benefits of GeoTrust

  • GeoTrust 30 days free trial SSL certificate
  • Short certificate issuance time
  • Certificate management console
  • Up to 256-bit encryption, 2048-bit root
  • Green browser address bar available
  • Warranty up to $1.5 million
  • Free SSL expert support

Certificate Types & Pricing

  • GeoTrust SSL (DV) – $149 /yr
  • True BusinessID (OV) – $238 /yr
  • True BusinessID (EV) – $344 /yr
  • True BusinessID Wildcard (OV) – $688 /yr

9. Entrust SSL Solutions

Entrust
Entrust SSL

Entrust considers themselves as a forward-thinking company that provides security in a wide breadth of diverse industries. They provide security solutions for those in need of transactional security, secure mobile authentication, and of course, SSL certificates.

Entrust offers EV and OV SSL certificates with prices starting at $199 per year.

Benefits:

  • SHA-2 signing algorithms
  • RSA 2048 bit / 3072 bit / 4096 bit key
  • Security features included protecting against website vulnerabilities
  • Unlimited server licensing and reissues
  • Site seal security with the real-time check
  • Certificate management platform
  • Optional platinum support 24x7x365

Certificate Types & Pricing:

  • Standard (OV) – $199 /yr
  • Advantage OV – $239 /yr
  • UC Multi-Domain – $319 /yr
  • EV multi-domain – $429 /yr
  • Wildcard (OV) – $699 /yr
  • Document Signing – $315 /yr

10. Network Solutions

Network Solutions SSL

Established in 1979 and headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, USA, Network Solutions have constantly evolved their SSL services throughout the years and continues to provide the lowest priced SSL certificates for users.

Especially when it comes to multi-year term SSL certificates, Network Solutions offers some of the more affordable pricing in the market. For example, their nsProtect Secure Express will only set you back $59.99 for a 2-year term. In comparison, GoDaddy offers similar services that cost $63.99 per year.

Benefits:

  • 256-bit encryption
  • Guarantee up to $1 million
  • Site seal and closed padlock available
  • 99% browser recognition
  • Green address browser bar available
  • 24/7 real person live support
  • Standard issuance time

Certificate Types & Pricing:

  • Xpress (DV) – $59.99 /yr
  • Basic (OV) – $124.50 /yr
  • Advanced (OV) – $199.50 /yr
  • Wildcard – $579.00 /yr
  • Extended (EV) – $399.50 /yr

What is SSL and SSL Certificate?

Secured Socket Layer (SSL) is the technology that makes sure data between two machines (in our case – a browser and a server) is transmitted securely in an encrypted connection (HTTPS).

An SSL Certificate is a digital certificate that confirms the identity of a website.

To implement SSL on your website, you will need to get an SSL Certificate from a SSL Certificate Provider, aka. Certification Authority.

How SSL connection works?

The following diagram shows how data is transferred through an SSL connection.

This is how SSL works
How SSL works
  1. A user access a HTTPS website
  2. User's browser requests a secure SSL connection from the server
  3. The server responds with a valid SSL certificate
  4. The secure connection is now established
  5. Data is encrypted and transferred

How can I tell if a website has SSL connection?

The use of an SSL Certificate on a website is usually indicated by a padlock icon on web browsers and the website address will show HTTPS. In some cases, a green address bar is shown.

If a SSL certificate is not recognized by the browser (or it does not pass certain checks), the browser will display a warning to the visitor.

Things to Consider When Buying an SSL/TLS certificate

When you purchase an SSL/TLS certificate you’re making a decision on two primary questions:

  1. What surface do you need to cover?
  2. How much identity do you want to assert?

When you can answer these questions, picking a certificate becomes a matter of brand and cost, you’ll already know the product type you need.

Now, before we go any further let’s establish one very important fact: regardless of how you answer those two questions, all SSL/TLS certificates offer the same encryption strength.

Encryption strength is determined by a combination of the cipher suites supported and the computing power of the client and server on either end of the connection. The most expensive SSL/TLS certificate on the market and a completely free one are going to facilitate the same level of industry-standard encryption.

What varies with certificates are the level of identity and their functionality.

Let’s start with what surfaces you need to cover.

1. Certification Functionality: Single, Wildcard, Multi-Domain

Difference between wildcard and single domain SSL certificate.
Difference between wildcard and single domain SSL certificate.

Nowadays organizations have complicated web infrastructures, both internally and externally. We’re talking about multiple domains, sub-domains, mail servers, mobile applications, etc. Fortunately, SSL/TLS certificates have evolved alongside modern websites to help better secure them. There is a certificate type for every use case, but it’s incumbent upon you to know what your specific use case is going to be.

When you are purchasing an SSL certificate, you need to choose the number of domains you want to secure. There are three levels of certifications: Single, Wildcard, and Multi-Domain.

Single Domain SSL Certificate

  • Protection – Protects one domain name. A certificate bought for www.domain.com will only allow you to secure all the pages on www.domain.com/
  • Ideal for – Suitable for a single website, small to medium business managing a limited number of websites.

Wildcard SSL Certificate

  • Protection – Protects a single domain and all sub-domains of that domain. This certificate will secure www.domain.com, it also protects blog.domain.com, help.domain.com, etc.
  • Ideal for – Suitable for fast-growing business as this certificate will automatically secure any sub-domain added.

Multi-Domain SSL Certificate

  • Protection – Allow to protect up to 100 domains. A multi-domain certificate can secure multiple different domains such as domain-a.com, domain-1.com.sg, etc
  • Ideal for – Suitable for large business that has different entities. It's easy to manage and keep track using a single certificate.

2. Certificate Validation Levels: Domain, Organization, Extended

After you figure out what surfaces you need to cover, it’s time to determine how much identity you want to assert. There are three levels of validation, these refer to the amount of vetting the Certificate Authority that issues your SSL/TLS certificate will put you and your website through.

SSL/TLS Certificate Validation Level
Three levels of validation: Domain Validation, Organization Validation, and Extended Validation.

There are three types of SSL certificate – Domain Validated (DV), Organizational Validated (OV), and Extended Validated (EV).

Domain Validated (DV)

The most basic level of validation is called Domain Validation. It takes just minutes to complete this validation and issue the certificate, but it provides the least identity information – authenticating just the server. DV SSL/TLS certificates are the most commonly used, but owing to their lack of identity, websites that use them receive neutral browser treatment.

  • Verification – DV only verifies that the applicant is the registrant of the domain.
  • Implementation time & costs – It takes few minutes to few hours. The fee is minimal.
  • Price range – Starting at $6 per year.
  • Ideal for – Suitable for small websites or blogs.

Organizational Validated (OV)

Organization Validation provides more organizational information, which gives your site’s visitors a better idea as to who they are dealing with, provided they know where to look. OV SSL/TLS certificates require a moderate amount of vetting, however, they do not assert enough identity to avoid neutral browser treatment. OV SSL certificates can secure dedicated IP addresses, too. They are commonly used in Enterprise environments and on internal networks.

  • Verification – OV verifies the ownership of the domain including full company name and address details.
  • Implementation time & costs – It might take a few days. The fee is higher than DV.
  • Price range – Starting at $20 per year.
  • Ideal for – Suitable for organizations and medium-sized businesses.

Extended Validated (EV)

The most identity an SSL/TLS certificate can assert comes at the Extended Validation level. EV SSL/TLS certificates require in-depth vetting by the CA, but they assert enough identifying information that web browsers will give websites that deploy them unique treatment – displaying their verified Organizational name in the browser’s address bar.

  • Verification – EV requires an extensive validation of the business that turns the address bar to green.
  • Implementation time & costs – It might take up to weeks. EV is the most expensive SSL certificate.
  • Price range – Starting at $70 per year.
  • Ideal for – Suitable for websites that conduct financial transactions.

Despite the types of validation, all the certificates are having the same levels of data encryption. The only difference is the assurance about the identity of the business behind the website. You can compare the costs and features of different types of SSL certificates at SSL.com.

Examples of Different SSL Certificates

Here are examples of different types of validation.

Example of SSL certificates in browser
ConsumerReports.org has the Organization Validated (OV) SSL validation – The address bar shows “Secure”. Telling visitors that the connection between the browser and the website is encrypted.
Extended SSL validation
AmericanExpress.com is using Extended Validated (EV) SSL. Company with EV SSL went through extensive validation that confirms that the business entity is legal. In some browsers, the company name will be shown on the address bar in green color.

But Which SSL Certificate Provider to Buy From?

That depends on what you’re looking for.

For many simple websites that don’t need to assert much identity, a free DV SSL/TLS certificate from Let’s Encrypt is a good choice. It doesn’t cost anything and it’s sufficient for what you need.

Anything north of that, or if you’re not especially technically savvy, you should go with a commercial Certificate Authority like DigiCert, Sectigo, Entrust Datacard, etc.

But here’s the thing: You don’t get the best pricing buying direct from the CAs.

Dedicated CA vs SSL Resellers

You get the best combination of pricing and selection by purchasing through an SSL Service offering SSL/TLS certificates from multiple CAs like SSL.com, NameCheap and The SSL Store mentioned above. The reason for this is simple, these SSL services purchase certificates from the CAs in bulk at much lower pricing than retail customers get. That lets them sell the certificates at deeply discounted rates, passing the savings to consumers.

In some cases, you can save as much as 85% off manufacturer's suggested retail price by going through an SSL service instead of buying direct.

Keep in mind, dedicated SSL services specialize in SSL/TLS, they’re going to offer better customer support, they can help you install it and they know how to optimize your implementations to provide your website the best possible security.

Free vs Paid SSL Providers

Contrast that with free CAs (and even some commercial ones) where you’ve got to work through a ticket system or sift through old forum posts for crowdsourced support and the value is clear. Granted, for some tech-savvy website owners, the support issue isn’t a problem. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with going the free route if you know how to support everything yourself.

But for other site owners, you’re paying less for the certificate itself and more for the support apparatus that’s been built around it. You also don’t have access to higher validation levels (OV/EV) or advanced functionality (Multi-Domain, Wildcards) with free SSL/TLS. You’ve got to get those from commercial CAs or SSL services.

Are Cheap SSL Deals Okay?

Cheap SSL deals - Demo
Example – SSL.com's Basic Certificate comes with automated validation (big time-saver), 2048+ BIT SHA2 encryption, and 99% browser compatibility – these features should be more than enough for a small business website or blog.

“Branded” SSL vs Cheap SSL

A cheap SSL offers the same security as the expensive ones. So in most cases, there is no need to opt for a “branded” SSL certificate – which be expensive.

The only time that you should really consider purchasing an expensive SSL certificate is if you’re a big eCommerce company that’s looking to perform transactions on a device that uses its own proprietary software.

Larger businesses should also opt for a “branded” SSL certificate as part of your due diligence process. The reason for this is that the companies issuing these certificates often have reputable track records which might be necessary for selection justification.

Preparation Before Purchasing

To make sure that your SSL purchase process goes smoothly, we recommend that you get the following things ready.

  • A unique website IP address
  • A certificate signing request (CSR)
  • Updated and correct WHOIS record
  • Validation documents for your business/organization

How to Install an SSL Certificate to Your Website

How to setup SSL on cPanel

Procedures:

  1. Under ‘Security’ options, click on ‘SSL/TLS Manager’
  2. Under ‘Install and Manage SSL’, select ‘Manage SSL Sites’
  3. Copy your certificate code including —–BEGIN CERTIFICATE—– and —–END CERTIFICATE—– and paste it into the “Certificate: (CRT)” field.
  4. Click ‘Autofill by Certificate’
  5. Copy and paste the chain of intermediate certificates (CA Bundle) into the box under Certificate Authority Bundle (CABUNDLE)
  6. Click ‘Install Certificate’

* Note: If you are not using a dedicated IP address you will have to select one from the IP Address menu.

How to setup SSL on Plesk

Procedures:

  1. Go to the Websites & Domains tab and choose which domain you’d like to install the certificate for.
  2. Click ‘Secure Your Sites’
  3. Under the ‘Upload Certificate Files’ segment, click ‘Browse’ and choose the certificate and the CA bundle files necessary.
  4. Click ‘Send Files’
  5. Go back to ‘Websites & Domains’ then click on ‘Hosting settings’ for the domain you’re installing the certificate on.
  6. Under ‘Security’, there should be a drop-down menu for you to select the certificate.
  7. Ensure the ‘SSL Support’ box is checked.
  8. Make sure you click ‘OK’ to save changes

To validate if your installation was successful, you can use this free SSL validation tool.

Things to Do After SSL Setup

Update Your Website’s Internal Links

If you check your website’s internal links you will notice that they are all using HTTP. Obviously these need to be updated to HTTPS links. Now in a few steps we’ll show you a way to do this globally using a redirection technique.

However, it is best practice to update your internal links from HTTP to HTTPS.

If you’ve got a small website with just a few pages that shouldn’t take too long. However if you have hundreds of pages it would take ages so you’d be better off using a tool to automate this to save time. If your site runs on database, perform database search and replace using this free script.

Update links pointing to your site

Once you switch to HTTPS if you have external websites linking to you they will be pointing to the HTTP version. We’ll be setting up a redirection in a few steps time, but if there are any external websites where you control your profile then you can update the URL to point to the HTTPS version.

Good examples of these would be your social media profiles and any directory listings where you have a profile page that’s under your control.

Setup a 301 Redirect

OK onto the techie bit and if you’re not confident with this type of thing then it’s definitely time to get some expert assistance. It’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t take much time at all in fact, but you just need to know what you’re doing.

With a 301 Redirect what you’re doing is telling Google that a particular page has been permanently moved to another address. In this case you’re going to tell Google that any HTTP pages on your site are now HTTPS so it redirects Google to the correct pages.

For most people who use Linux web hosting this will be done through the .htaccess file (see code below – as per Apache recommendation).

 ServerName www.example.com
 Redirect "/" "https://www.example.com/"

Also read: The basics of .htaccess – Use cases and examples

Update Your CDN SSL

This is actually an optional step because not everyone uses a CDN. CDN stands for Content Delivery Network and it’s a geographically distributed set of servers that store copies of your web files and they present them to your visitors from a geographically close server to improve the speed that it loads for them.

As well as performance improvements, a CDN can also offer better security because it’s servers can monitor and identify malicious traffic and stop it reaching your website.

An example of a popular CDN is Cloudflare.

Either way, just ask your hosting company if you are using a CDN. If you aren’t fine, just move on to the next step.

If you are then you need to contact the CDN and ask them for instructions to update your SSL so that their CDN system recognizes it.

Frequent Asked Questions on SSL

What is SSL and TLS actually?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it was the original version of the encryption protocol that we use to secure our connections to this day. We got all the way to SSL 3.0 before vulnerabilities forced the industry back to the drawing board, where Transport Layer Security (TLS) was designed to be SSL’s successor. Today we are on TLS 1.3, SSL 3.0 has been almost entirely deprecated and by 2020 TLS 1.0 and 1.1 will be deprecated, too. While today’s internet relies almost exclusively on the TLS protocol, it’s still colloquially known as SSL.

Why do we need an SSL certificate?

The primary reason for using an SSL certificate is to make sure the data sent across the Internet become encrypted. So, everyone else can't read the information except for the server you are sending the information to. This can prevent hackers and cyber-thieves from stealing your data. Also, having an SSL certificate can earn your visitors' trust because the visitors know their data is secure.

How much does an SSL certificate cost?

The SSL certificate prices vary depending on the type of certificate and the number of domains you want to protect. A dedicated SSL certificate for a single domain starts at $5.88 per year. A wildcard SSL certificate that protects unlimited sub-domains starts at $70.88 per year. You can compare the costs and features of different SSL certificates here.

Is SSL certificate required for online store?

It's recommended to install an SSL certificate for your online store even though it's not compulsory. SSL certificate encrypts customer data, sensitive information, payment details, etc and keeps it protected during transfer. Besides securing the website, by installing an SSL certificate, it helps to gain customers' trust and encourage them for safe and secure online shopping.

What's the difference between a free SSL certificate and a paid SSL certificate?

There's no difference in security between a free SSL certificate and a paid SSL certificate. The major differences between both are in terms of the type of certificate, level of validation, support and warranty. For instance, free SSL certificates only come with Domain Validation (DV) and no warranty. On the other hand, a paid SSL certificate covers everything you required.

This is where different pricing also comes into play with SSL certificates. Warranties on paid SSL certificates can differ vastly – from as low as a few thousand dollars up to two million dollars (As far as we know, only DigiCert goes this high).

What SSL certificate do I need?

If you are running a small website or a blog, a Domain Validation (DV) certificate is good enough. If your website conducts financial transactions, it's best to go for an Extended Validation (EV) certificate that turns the address bar to green.

Is free SSL safe?

Yes, there's no risk of using a free SSL certificate. However, a free SSL certificate does have some shortcomings such as limited period, only offers domain validated, no support from the company, and no warranty. If you are running an online store, a free SSL certificate might not be a suitable choice.

How do I purchase an SSL certificate?

You can buy SSL certificates from a Certificate Authority (CA). These are companies that digitally sign your SSL certificate. Alternatively, many web hosting service providers also act as SSL resellers.

How much does an SSL cost?

SSL certificates are available in various tiers, with the most basic starting at around $10 per year. The more advanced certs are upwards of $300 or more. Personal websites can use free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.

Can I buy SSL from anywhere?

You can buy SSL from many places. The only important thing is that you buy it from a reputable company with a good reputation for providing quality products and services. Examples of reputable SSL companies include Comodo, DigiCert, and GeoTrust.

Can I purchase SSL certificate from Google?

Google does not sell SSL certificates. However, some Google products include automatic issuance and installation of SSL certificates. For example, Google Sites, Google My Business, and Firebase.

Do I need to pay for SSL certificate?

You don’t always need to pay for an SSL certificate. A free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt is acceptable in some cases. However, websites that sell products or services online or store user data should get a commercial SSL certificate.

Does GoDaddy provide free SSL?

GoDaddy does not provide free SSL certificates except in a few cases. For example, you won’t get a free SSL with their basic web hosting plans. Those that include SSL certificates are generally their more expensive options.

Is Extended Validation worth it?

For many websites, an EV SSL/TLS certificate is more of an investment than an expense. There is no other way to assert maximum identity and get your website preferential browser treatment. When visitors arrive at a website and see the organization’s name displayed in the address bar it has a profound psychological effect. While that effect is difficult to quantify on paper, surveys consistently find that people feel better about visiting sites with EV than visiting sites without it.
On the internet, every little bit counts, so if you’re an organization that wants to assert identity on the web, EV SSL/TLS certificates are the best available method to do so.

Are SSL warranties important?

It’s nice to have a large warranty with any product, and the SSL/TLS industry provides some of the most generous warranties out there. They pay out in the event that the CA that issued your certificate ever encounters a problem that costs your organization money. Admittedly, this isn’t all that common, which is kind of an endorsement for SSL/TLS certificates in general, but also something we’d be remiss not to point out.

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Article by Jerry Low