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Free SSL vs Paid SSL: What Is The Difference

Which one to choose - either a free SSL certificate or paid SSL certificate? The solution for your confusion lies in analyzing the benefit of it. Even though you can claim the SSL certificate for free, it comes with certain limitations which may not suit your business. So, it's better to check their difference and pick the best option to keep your business safe.
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Free SSl vs Paid SSl

Since 2004, the number of online businesses has grown exponentially.

Every single day, a new business is entering the internet to expand its reach and customer base.

As businesses increase, so are the number of hackers and scammers. They are resorting to smarter techniques to virtually paralyse the business.

And so, the threat level is at its peak.

As a business owner, how will you tackle such threats?

Won’t you wish for security to manage the risk?

That’s where an SSL certificate comes in as an aid for you.

It’s a defense for every owner to keep their data encrypted and keep it safe.

Moreover, owning an SSL certificate also plays a significant part in the search engine ranking.

Now you have an excellent reason to get an SSL certificate, but the availability of both free and paid SSL certificates may confuse you in choosing the suitable one for your business. 

You may even think that – if I can acquire it for free, why should I pay for it?

That’s the catch, and that’s the reason why you’re here.

This blog will explain  the critical differences between a free and paid SSL certificate. 

Here you go:

Table of Contents

What Is a Free SSL Certificate?

The SSL certificate aims to send information from the browser to its destination server through an encrypted connection.

The purpose of a free SSL certificate is to ensure that the website follows the HTTPS protocol and has HTTPS in the URL.

The free SSL certificate categorizes into two types:

  1. Self-signed certificate
  2. Certified authorities (CA)

The certified authorities will not sign and issue the self-signed certificates.

On the other hand, the certificate will be signed and issued by the market’s legit and credible authority.Here you can collect a reliable free SSL with Linux hosting and free SSL with windows hosting.

What Is a Free SSL Certificate?

The paid SSL certificate is similar to the free one.

Both will have the same 256-bit certified encryption and 2048-bit key encryption.

Paid SSL certificates are signed and issued only by a legit certificate authority.

I know it sounds more like the free one.

But, you’re paying for the certificate, which means you will get some extra attention.

That’s the difference you will encounter below!

Free SSL vs. Paid SSL - Which One Is Better?

Here the critical difference of free SSL vs. paid SSL is highlighted in five different areas.


The major three SSL certificate types are – Domain Validated, Extended Validated (EV), and Organization Validated (OV). Each type has its specific role and process.

The free SSL certificate is a DV certificate and is the basic type.

The paid ones are – Extended Validated and Organization Validated certificate, which provides ultimate protection to the business site.

Based on the seriousness of your business, you have to choose a wise option.


In order to provide an SSL certificate, the issuers will run a validation process.

Suppose if you wish for a free certificate, the authority will validate only the domain name and owner’s identity. 

Moreover, you can collect it in a matter of time.

But when you opt for an EV and OV certificate, the validation process will be rigorous.

The certified authority will run an in-depth verification process on you and your business and finally provide you with the certificate.

The process may even take days to get complete and to issue the certificate.


Usually, the Certified authority’s paid SSL certificate will have validity for a maximum of 2 years. 

On some occasions, the validity will even get a max of 3 years as it depends on whom you’re buying from.

When it comes to a free pass, no one offers a free SSL certificate for one year. 

The maximum validity of a free certificate is 90 days. After it ends, you must renew the validity.

It could be a significant burden for you, as you have to keep an eye on your validity every time.


Technical support is ultimately indispensable.

Assume that you have a problem with certificate issuance, renewal, or you want to know how to activate free SSL on Linux shared hosting and how to activate free SSL on windows shared hosting – how will you sort this out?

Reaching support assistance is your simple solution.

But, what if you have no assistance or even a chatbot to help you?

Yes, it’s true! You can’t find any support assistance for a free SSL certificate. You have to go through Reddit, Quora, or any source to check some old forum posts to resolve your problem.

But, on the other side, you have the paid certificate, which offers 24*7 support assistance for 365 days. There you can sort your queries through chat, email, or a phone call.


If something goes wrong, you must have insurance. 

For instance, if someone has hacked or breached your website, your SSL certificate warranty will deal with the damage.

To enjoy these kinds of protection to your site, you have to pay for the certificate.

It acts as insurance for your website, and if any shit happens, it will claim you a suitable amount from the CA for the damage that occurred.

This you can’t expect from a free SSL certificate.

Somehow, till now, there has been no problem recorded or noticed till now.

Note: a green bar or a padlock in the URL’s front means that it’s a trusted and well-secured site. If you want to make your customer feel the same way, purchasing an EV SSL certificate will do the trick.


In today’s world, people trust brands and make purchases online.

Without trust, people won’t purchase.

Without security, people won’t trust. It’s interlinked.

A free SSL certificate may save you a penny but, it could also make you lose clients.

If you own a blog, online portfolio, or a basic site, a free certificate would be enough.

But, when you’re on a big picture like running an e-commerce website or a website that contains a payment gateway – it is necessary to opt for a paid SSL certificate.

Now you have acknowledged all the essence and difference of both a free SSL certificate and a paid one. It’s time to decide. 

Picture of Tarandeep Kaur

Tarandeep Kaur

I am working with NetSpaceIndia company for almost 7 years and have enjoyed sharing my words on different topics. I with my team mates focus together to get high-quality traffic to the website.

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