Paid vs Free SSL Certificates: Which One Should You Pick in 2024?

Just started a new website and this open lock security icon near your web address confuses you? Or unable to finalize between Paid SSL vs Free SSL.

If yes, then let us tell you that you are running an unsafe website and hackers are loving it.

Here’s why:

Whenever someone tries to access an unsecured website with http: // before the address, every chunk of information sent to the website starts transmitting in simple plain text, without any encryption. Therefore, if someone with access to your ISP and the computer connects to your WiFi network will gain the access to all the data being transmitted within your network, including your passwords.

This is one of the main reasons behind continuously increasing hacking attempts and other phishing activities. This can be prevented using SSL Certificates and it will not just secure your website but positively impact the ranking of your web pages as well.


Also read Security Tips For Your WHMCS Website


However, not all the SSL Certificates work equally and their security varies according to the different website features and security levels. So, which SSL Certificate will work the best for your website?

Keep reading the article and you will get your answer.

Let’s get started with the basics.


What is an SSL Certificate?

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is basically a protocol designed to secure the transmission of sensitive information over the Internet. There are both free and paid SSL Certificate available. An SSL Certificate works as a powerful weapon to guard the security of a website and automatically encrypts the information throughout the website. SSL protocol highly encrypts the connections between servers and clients using certificates that follow the X.509 standard. Moreover, SSL Certificates ensure the integrity of information utilizing the public-key procedure.

Now let’s understand this with a simple example:

Whenever you perform an online transaction, your information starts transmitting through various systems and servers until it reaches the destination server. Therefore, all the confidential information like your name, password, bank account details can be seen by all the server operators in between. In order to avoid such security breaches, SSL certificates are used. These SSL protocols encode the information and make it unreadable to all the other servers. Eventually, the information is decoded in the recipient server and your data is transmitted safely.

A website using an SSL certificate displays a green lock with the letters “https” in the URL.

free vs paid SSL


Does SSL Affect The Connection Speed?

On the Internet, we often find some common facts and theories that believe that using an SSL certificate on your website slows down the transmission speed.

However, that’s not true. On the contrary, the SSL certificate increases the speed of a web page with its so-called HTTP / 2. HTTP / 1.1 uses various TCP connections in order to load all the web page elements like JS files, CSS files, images, and other information. HTTP / 2, on the other hand, transmits that data in parallel on a single connection and compresses the information in binary code, while using a dedicated IP address.

Moreover, arranges the data packets in a particular order to construct a page for the transmission.


Some Reasons You Must Start Using an SSL Certificate (If Not Using It Already)

paid vs free SSL

Here are some of the most important reasons why you should start implementing an SSL certificate on your business website:

  • Soon browsers will start penalizing HTTP sites 
  • Improve website safety and trust
  • Legitimize your website
  • Prove the identity of the server
  • Avoid malware and phishing
  • Build brand’s identity
  • Prevent  Phishing Mitigation
  • Encrypt  information
  • Increase the time of your web visits
  • Prevent Man-In-The-Middle content hijacking
  • Increase sales and SERP positioning
  • Get marked as a safe website by browsers

Start Following These Best Practices to Secure Your Web Hosting Business


Free vs. Fee

Having an SSL Certificate or not having it at all is no longer in dispute. If your website does not have an SSL certificate, it will be discarded by search engines automatically. For this reason, you must start using SSL protection on your website.

In the service offering, there are free as well as paid SSL Certificates. So, what are the primary differences between free and paid SSL certificates?

Let’s explore!


Free vs Paid SSL Certificate – Which One Should You Prefer?

paid vs free SSL

The following points will tell you difference between free vs paid SSL certificates and will help you determine whether it is worth paying for the security of your website or is it better to save money.

  • Money-Back Guarantee

Paid certificates offer insurance from $10,000 or more for burglary or other mishaps. While Free SSL Certificate providers do not guarantee or pay any sort of compensation after installing the certificate.

  • Website Validation

Paid SSL Certificates include through website checkup and examine entire company’s reputation and background activities. The Free SSL Certificates only verifies the domain name of a website even without checking the possibility of the company’s verification or advanced verification.

  • Monitoring

The free SSL Certificates require close monitoring as they often get expired. Moreover, one requires enough technical knowledge to install a free SSL. On the contrary, the Paid SSL certificates get updated automatically and you do not need their operations all the time.

  • Trust Factor

Most of the search engines and browsers do not trust free SSL Certificates and show a warning “Not a secure website”, which makes it difficult for users to access the website.

Features Free SSL Paid SSL
Encrypted Information No Yes
Possibility to select the type of certificate No Yes
Automatic renewal No Yes
Validity Period 30-90 Days 1-2 Years
Domain Validation Yes Yes (Company Validation, Extended Validation)
Improved SEO Ranking No Yes
Domain Ownership Yes Yes
24*7*365 Customer Support No Yes
256-Bit Encryption Yes Yes
2048-Bit Signature Key Yes Yes
PCI Compliant No Yes
Visitors Trust & Credibility No Yes
Ideal For Individual sites, blogging websites Medium or large businesses, e-Commerce sites
Price $0 Starts from $8.00/yr

So, Is It Worth Having an SSL Security Certificate?

Well, Yes.

Having a website with SSL protection is good in every aspect as it will tell Google that your website is secure and it will recommend your website to its visitors. This will improve your search engine ranking and you will have a better chance to reach your target audience. Moreover, the SSL certificate is a digital signature of your website and it encrypts all the user connections to your platform. Otherwise, all the crucial website information can be stolen easily, so it’s better to switch yourself to HTTPS protocol and make the Internet a safe place.


Special Tip For You

If you are managing a hosting website and it’s time to integrate it with WHMCS and automate all your business tasks. Moreover, you can use WHMCS SEO Manager to optimize all your website for better positioning even without using any CMS.


Conclusion

SSL Certificates are the best way to secure our websites and in the last decade, they have gained a lot of support from search engines as well. If you are thinking of getting started with a website for the long term, then you must start investing in acquiring an SSL certificate for your website. The best choice of SSL Certificate basically depends upon the website type you are handling and the sensitivity of your clients’ information. Therefore, pay attention to the importance of an SSL certificate and do not skimp on it.

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