Since the beginning of man, way before the chicken or the egg, the question of whether or not to pay for SSL — and how much does an SSL certificate cost — has plagued us. Aristotle gave lectures about it. Empedocles ruminated on it during his exile. Heraclitus opined in his writings that it was a question that strikes at the heart of every man (and, in 2019, every woman). It’s rumored that Michelangelo’s thinker is pondering that very question from atop his rocky perch.
Should one pay for SSL, and if so, how much?
Well, much to the dismay of Locke and Hobbes and Voltaire and Shaw, we have an answer for you.
Free or Paid – The SSL Edition
Everyone likes free stuff — that’s also a concept as old as man. And free SSL sounds great. It could have been, too. But this is mankind we’re talking about. Altruism left man’s system long ago, alongside the detritus from Eden’s apple. There is one major advantage to free SSL and a couple of HUGE drawbacks.
Advantages of Free SSL
Let’s start with the most obvious advantage: it’s free.
Good, glad we got that out of the way. Now let’s talk about the disadvantages.
Disadvantages of Free SSL
First, free SSL isn’t supported. This is no problem for a technical crowd, but for the average site owner setting everything up can be a huge headache. There’s nobody to call if you get stuck. No live chat to hold your hand. You need to make a go out of it entirely on the strength of forum posts and knowledgebase articles — and we all know how well that works out.
Second, and this is equally important speaks to the human element ruining everything. More and more every day free SSL certificates are becoming more associated with hackers and criminals. Phish use domain validation (DV) SSL, too. And at this point over half of all phishing sites are now using a free DV SSL certificate. That means there’s an advantage to going with an SSL certificate that asserts greater identity. And they don’t give those away for free.
Third, the certificates only last 90 days. Meaning you have to replace free SSL certificates four to eight times as often as paid ones. Talk about a certificate management nightmare.
Fourth, and lastly, free SSL certificates don’t come with any warranties. Yeah, so if something does manage to go wrong where the encryption fails, you have no protection.
The Advantages of Paid SSL
Back to paid SSL. Paying for an SSL certificate offers several distinct advantages. Namely:
Let’s start with identity. Free SSL is all domain validated. That means the certificate authority (CA) checks whether you control the domain but nothing else. Again, this has been abused. Let’s Encrypt, the biggest free CA, actually flouted that it no longer checks the Google safe browsing blacklists and will issue certificates to literally anyone. This is not good for anyone — your customers in particular.
The only way not to be associated with that kind of behavior or mindset is to purchase a business authentication certificate that displays your verified identity and train your customers to look for it. Those aren’t free though.
Support is nice, too. When you purchase a commercial SSL certificate, you can call the CA or reseller you bought it from and they’ll help you. Free CAs will not help you if you call them. They’ll ask how you got this phone number. Then they’ll ask you to please delete it. They might even suggest you visit a forum and search for an answer, but even that’s not a given.
Meanwhile, CAs and reseller offers support across a range of channels, and they’ve even been told their employees have lovely phone voices.
Next up, paid SSL certificates come with functionality beyond just “single domain.” Let’s Encrypt will issue you a wildcard but you have to jump through a bunch of hoops and check a bunch of boxes pertaining to the type of server you use, its software, the lineage of your grandparents — enough red tape that by the time you finish filling it all out, you’ll wish you’d just forked over the $17 for a commercial cert.
Paid SSL certificates come in single domain, multi-domain, wildcard and multi-domain wildcard varieties. Something for every use case. It’s much more convenient than creating a patchwork of three-month single domain certs.
Finally, trust. We’ve said it before, but email has free options, too. And yet, if a business tries to send you an email using a Gmail address, you’re going to be skeptical. SSL is like that as well. If your website is using a free DV certificate that’s popular with criminals, it’s going to cause a lot more hesitation than using a paid SSL certificate that lists verified organizational information.
People trust the latter. The former? Good luck.
Warranties are great for businesses. If something goes wrong, they help to protect your organization and customers with warranties ranging from $10,000 to $2 million (depending on the individual certificate and the CA who issues it).
So, How Much Does Does an SSL Certificate Cost?
Well, let’s start with what you’re paying for with SSL. When you purchase an SSL certificate, you’re not really paying for the digital certificate itself. Sure, it’s valuable, but that’s not where the costs come in. What you’re paying for is the validation and support apparatus that the CA has built around the certificates.
Business authentication requires a human being to verify actual information from government sources and other channels. That requires time, labor, training — and that’s before we ever get to the support aspects or warranties.
None of that stuff is free. So, when you purchase a business authentication SSL certificate — that’s what the cost is covering.
Now Let’s Talk About How Much One Should Pay for SSL
Now, we need to answer the question of “how much does it cost to get a SSL certificate?”
And the answer (eat it, Plato) is “not a cent more than you have to” (actually, that sounds more Confucian). Here at CheapSSLsecurity.com, we’ve spent the past decade working closely with the world’s top CAs and building strong relationships. Fast forward to today, and we’re platinum level partners with industry’s leaders. If you go to a CA directly, you get retail pricing, which is MSRP. When we go, we get platinum partner level pricing, which is basically cost.
We buy certificates at bulk and then turn around the savings by selling them much lower than MSRP. Sometimes as much as 85% lower. We also offer ‘round-the-clock support and a money-back guarantee.
We’re so confident in our value that if you ever find someone else selling one of our SSL certificates for cheaper — we’ll beat the price. Guaranteed.
Purchase an SSL Certificate from CheapSSLSecurity & Save Up to 88%!
We offer the best discount on SSL certificates starting as low as $5.88 per year.