SSL Certificates: Which One is For You?

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer it is a worldwide standard security technology system that allows for the encryption of communication between web browsers and web servers. It protects sensitive information such as credit card numbers or other personal data. SSL certificates ensure that information doesn’t fall into the hands of third parties who could interfere with the data. So, choosing the right SSL certificate should not be an afterthought, but a must, to instill trust and confidence in your website.

Paid vs. Free SSL Certificates

A free, secure connection to a website doesn’t guarantee its trustworthiness but choosing will depend on the level of security your business website needs. Consider the following factors before making a proper decision:

  • Appearance
    A purchased certificate shows the user the website they are visiting is fully covered. However, a free SSL will eventually not display the name of the site it covers.
  • Warranty
    SSL certificate warranty is an insurance for an end user against loss of money when submitting a payment on an SSL-secured site. Paid SSL certificates feature a substantial amount of warranty in case something goes wrong.
  • Validity
    Free SSL certificates are valid only for 90 days. They require their end users to constantly renew the certificates within shorter durations of time. This imposes unnecessary inconveniences especially so when the renewals are forgotten. On the other hand, paid SSL certificates are valid for 1-3 year and can include services that automatically renew your certificate each year to ensure that your website is secure.
  • Technical Support
    Complete and efficient back-end support to the end users through paid SSL. Free SSL on the other hand have limited or no customer support services.
  • Validation
    Paid SSL enable users to report issues to the certification authority. Other reports of abusive activities will be investigated and appropriate actions taken. This verification is not carried out in the case of Free certificates though, increasing the risk of unauthorized access to the unencrypted sensitive information by third parties.


In addition to the differences, paid SSLs are by far more superior than free SSLs. Keep in mind that free SSL as a matter of fact are mainly relevant to personal blogs and or basic websites. Although free SSL certificates don’t seem to cost you anything initially, in the long run, they could end up costing a lot to your business. Whether it’s in terms of safety, perception of your brand or trustworthiness, a paid SSL certificate is the best security option for your business.