Free vs. Paid SSL Certificates

Kate A.
Kate A.
Jun 6, 2017 · 4 min read
Why you should opt for Paid SSL Certificates


Free vs. Paid SSL Certificate

The SSL industry is dynamic and continuously growing since businesses and people are present online now more than ever. Bloggers, e-commerce shops, and electronic wallets — all these businesses need to protect their websites and their users from cyber attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities. The range of paid SSL certificates has been adapted and diversified by Certificate Authorities to cover any needs — from basic websites to enterprises and banks.

Drawbacks of installing a Free SSL Certificate

Just like free web hosting services, free SSL certificates also come with certain limitations and risks:

  • Unsuitable for e-commerce — free certificates are not recommended for securing credit card and personal information on e-commerce websites. To make customers trust your business, you need a certification of your authenticity, which is provided only by paid Business Validation or Extended Validation SSL Certificates.
  • May hurt your customers’ trust — as a consequence of the above, your customers may not trust you simply because you aren’t willing to invest in an SSL Certificate issued by a reputable Certificate Authority. This lack of trust may significantly affect your reputation, especially in case of questionable CAs.
  • Limited lifetime — free certificates are issued for a limited period of time, usually 90 days. On the other hand, paid SSL Certificates are offered for 1 or 2 years, so you don’t have to get them reissued and installed so frequently.
  • Tardy customer support — free SSL issuers usually provide limited customer service, so issues aren’t resolved in a timely manner.

Does getting a free or cheap SSL certificate prevent you from upgrading to a better one later?

Absolutely not. You have the freedom to upgrade to a paid SSL Certificate and benefit from its various advantages anytime you want.

Benefits of choosing a Paid SSL Certificate:

There are many reasons why you should opt for a premium SSL Certificate. However, the most important benefits are:

  • Different options — paid SSL Certificates are issued in all three validation options — Domain, Business, and Extended Validation. There are also different certificate types based on the complexity of the website, One-Domain, Wildcard, and Multi-Domain SSL Certificates, along with Code Signing SSL Certificates for securing downloadable software and digital goods.
  • Extended lifetime — currently, paid certificates are issued for one or two years. This means that your business will run smoothly and your website will stay secured for a long time without you worrying about the renewal of your certificate.
  • Server compatibility — premium certificates can be used on any hosting services as well as self-managed or dedicated servers, making the setting up process free of any limits.
  • Liability protection — when purchasing an SSL certificate, you typically get a warranty which is an insurance that covers any damage incurred as a result of a hack or data breach caused by a flaw in the certificate. The warranty amounts range from $5,000 to $1,500,000 which means that the higher value — the more extensive the warranty is.

Final thoughts

When it comes to the security of your websites, or digital goods, you get what you pay for.

Although free SSL certificates may seem a great and cost-free solution, they come with certain drawbacks. On the other side, paid SSL Certificates are more flexible and offer a wide range of benefits despite their cost, making them an excellent choice for any website.

SSL Dragon

SSL Dragon provides Security Certificates for small, medium and large enterprises.

Kate A.

Written by

Kate A.

Love Mr. Robot and secure online browsing. Contributor for SSLDragon.com

SSL Dragon

SSL Dragon provides Security Certificates for small, medium and large enterprises.