With a growing number of cyber-attacks, it became a must for all websites to have an SSL certificate. Not only for security but SSL plays a big role in SEO of websites. Unfortunately, SSL certificate comes at a cost which can not be afforded by everyone. Although there is a number of free SSL certificate options available, at times we get confused which one to choose, Free or Paid SSL. So in this article, we will try to explore the differences between Free SSL VS Paid SSL and will figure out which one to choose among these two.
Before proceeding further we need to have a clear idea about what is SSL and how many SSL types are available in the market. For that please read below two articles which will give you a fair amount of idea about SSL.
What is Free SSL
The concept of free SSL was started by the Linux Foundation to provide an SSL certificate free of cost to every website. It provides the basic level of domain Validation certificate which seems sufficient for a basic website. The certifying authority can be either you ( Self Signed) or any certifying agent like Let’s Encrypt. Free SSL only provides basic security but if you need more security then you will have to look for paid SSL
What is Paid SSL
Paid SSL provides the highest level of security and typically preferred for websites where monetary transactions take place. You will find a wide range of certificate types to choose from and it will meet any types of website requirements.
Let’s Compare Free SSL & Paid SSL
Let us compare both types of SSL based on certain criteria as mentioned below.
Without any debate paid SSL is the winner here. Free SSL only provides domain Validation certificate whereas paid SSL provides extended Validation certificate which is the highest level of security SSL can offer. In extended Validation SSL certifying authority checks the domain, company existence and geographical location. Typically all banks, corporate and eCommerce websites use top-end paid SSL certificates.
Variety of SSL type
Free SSL only offers domain Validation type SSL whereas paid SSL offers domain Validation, Organization Validation and Extended Validation. So the choice of SSL is limited in case if you choose a free SSL
Most of the free SSL comes with 90 days validity with an option either to extend it or buy a paid SSL. On the other hand Paid SSL comes with a minimum 1 year of validity. Many paid SSL comes with 3 years of validity as well. So if you hate renewing SSL certificate in every 3 months then paid SSL is the option.
It should be noted that nothing comes for free in this world. Companies which provides free SSL must have something to earn money. Now that could be customer data, or comprising the security of websites. So trust is a big concern for websites using a free SSL certificate
Paid SSL usually offered by reputed companies which are known for security and trust.
Free SSL companies do not provide any sort of support. Either you should depend on their community forum or follow their documentation. Many times those are not sufficient and you may need to hire a developer. So the idea of having a free SSL backfires and you need to invest a fair amount of money to install SSL.
Paid SSL usually comes with installation service and support and you will have great peace of mind if you use paid SSL.
How to decide based on your website
Now we know that free SSL has a fair amount of disadvantages but still, it makes sense to use for the following conditions.
- If you are low on budget
- You are using a basic static site
- ?Not much bothered about security
- You are a new blogger
- Don’t mind bearing the hassles
Apart from the above scenario for every other case, we should go for paid SSL. Paid SSL is a must for the following types of websites.
- E-commerce websites
- Financial websites
- Websites which provides customer interaction.
Let’s Wrap up!
Well, in any case, paid SSL is the best option if you want to secure your website. Unless you are low on budget there is no reason you should go for free SSL. If you a new blogger then free SSL is the best option but once blog grows up, you should switch to paid SSL.
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