Site security is one of the primary concerns of a site owner. With the number of hacking attempts increasing every year, websites are leaving no stone unturned to protect themselves against cyber-criminals. As a site owner, when you buy a web hosting plan, you try to assess if the provider has ensured optimum server security. However, there are other ways to boost the security of your site, like installing an SSL Security Certificate. While a Comodo SSL Certificate is the most popular one, there are many options available to choose from. SSL Certificates are issued for a fee.
Interestingly, some sites offer free SSL Certificates too. Hence, many site owners are confused about two options, whether to purchase a SSL Certificate or opt for a free one. Today, we will compare a free and paid SSL certificate to help you decide the best option for you.
What is an SSL Certificate?
A Secure Sockets Layer or SSL Certificate is necessary for a website as it allows the web server to communicate with the browser of a site visitor via a secured channel. It establishes an encrypted means of communication between your server and the internet. It helps in adding a layer of protection against hackers who try to intercept data while being transmitted.
Certificate Authorities or CA issue SSL Certificates. There are two types of certificates – free and paid. While the encryption level offered by both these certificates is the same, the paid SSL security certificates offer a range of benefits. Here is a quick comparison between the two.
Free vs Paid SSL Certificates
|Types of validation||When you get a free SSL certificate, you can only get basic domain validation.
It means that the certificate will only verify the identity of the site owner.
|When you buy SSL certificate like a Comodo Certificate, you can choose between domain validation, organizational validation, and extended validation certificates.
It means that the certificate will verify the identity of the business along with the site owner.
|Period of validity of the Certificate||Usually, free SSL certificates are valid for around 30 to 90 days.||A paid SSL certificate usually has a validity period of around 1-2 years.|
|Visual indicators||Since a free SSL certificate offers basic domain validation, your website will not display any signs that can assure visitors its authenticity. It can make it difficult for users to trust it.||When you opt for a paid SSL certificate and choose an organizational or extended validation, your website will display a visual indicator. A typical indicator will include the name of your business in the address bar of the browser and certificate information on the site, etc.|
|Warranties||As it is free, no warranties are backing these certificates. It means that any error faced by you will have to be managed without any assistance from the issuer.||One of the biggest benefits of a paid certificate is that the certificate authority will offer a warranty and help navigate errors.|
|Certificate Support||Since the certificate is issued free, the issuer does not offer support services.
|With paid SSL certificates, you get free support from the issuer around the clock. It can be via email, chat, phone, etc.|
As you can see, the paid SSL certificates offer unique benefits over free ones. The core purpose of an SSL certificate is to boost the security of communication exchanged between the user and your website. It also helps instil trust in the minds of site visitors. Therefore, paying a little extra for an SSL certificate can go a long way in meeting these objectives. Choose wisely. Good Luck!