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Free v/s Paid SSL Certs – Which SSL Certificate is Right for you?

Posted DateDecember 17, 2020
Posted Time 3   min Read

When you are considering encryption technology for your website, you might find yourself debating about free SSL vs paid SSL. Both have a comparable encryption level and make HTTPS available for websites for effective SEO results. Naturally, you would prefer a free SSL certificate as it will lower down your business costs significantly. However, the free versions have certain drawbacks that the paid ones easily overcome to maximize your profits.

Let’s run you through key differences between free and paid SSL certificates to make an informed decision.

1. Ease of Sourcing and Installation

The foremost benefit of a free SSL certificate for a website is that you don’t have to shell out any money. Moreover, you can easily source and install it to get your website up and running within no time. You can procure multiple free certificates without any hassles.

Some paid SSL certificate providers may require you to go through some formalities before issuance and installation. So, you should look for providers who can speed up the process for you.

2. Validation

Paid or Unpaid, in DV SSL Certs OEMs only verify the domains and don’t verify whether that domain belongs to the right entity. Even the certificate display doesn’t have the company name in it because of the same reason. Only Organization Validation (OV) and Extended Validation (EV) certificates verifying and displaying the organization’s name.

If you are looking for OV and EV certificates, then you should need to choose paid SSL. OV validates website ownership as well as organization information. EV is a premium and the highest form of a paid SSL certificate. It validates your physical, legal, and operational identity which is a crucial factor to establish trust among your website visitors, especially if you are an e-commerce business or a large enterprise.

3. Renewal

A free SSL certificate for the website has validity for one month to three months, leading to the trouble of recurrent renewals at your end.

Paid SSL certificates have a validity for one year (recently the validity of SSL certificates is shortened to one year from three years).

4. Warranty

Free SSL certificates do not give any warranty against data thefts or any other kind of cybersecurity breaches.

Paid SSL certificates come with a promise to pay a predetermined warranty amount to the website owner in case of loss of money due to fraudulent transactions.

5. Technical Assistance

Free SSL certificates do not provide any technical service support post-issuance. So, you will need to invest a lot of time and effort in addressing queries/issues related to free certificates as and when the need arises.

Paid SSL certificates provide complete troubleshooting reports throughout the validity period.

Top Free SSL vs Paid SSL Certificate Providers: A Quick Comparison 

Amazon, Cloudflare, and Let’s Encrypt are among the top free trusted SSL certificate providers.

  • Let’s Encrypt, Amazon, and Cloudflare SSL certificates use SHA-256-bit keys.
  • Cloudflare and Amazon use standard 2048-bit RSA keys for asymmetric encryption.
  • Let’s Encrypt uses 2048-bit RSA keys, but you can upgrade it to 4096-bit RSA keys.

These three free SSL certificates also offer automated services with respect to renewal and tech support. However, they do have their own drawbacks in terms of the validity period, DV/OV/EV validation, and warranty like other free SSL certificates in the market.

Hence, it is always advisable to buy a paid SSL certificate like Entrust, which is known to deliver the strongest security and enhanced performance of your website. Here is a look at its features:

  • SHA-2/2048-4096-bit keys
  • 128-256-bit encryption
  • OV and EV authentication and encryption
  • Multi-layer security, such as daily malware scanning and redressal, website vulnerability scans, and reputation monitoring
  • Alerts on security policy or best practice violations
  • Automated certificate revoke, re-issue, renewal, and reporting
  • Compatibility with 99.9% of browsers
  • 24/7 phone, e-mail, and website chat support


Whether you are a small, medium, or large business in banking, e-commerce, government service, or any other sector, the security of your website is an aspect that cannot and should not be compromised at any cost. SSL is one of the most secure and reliable cryptographic tools to safeguard your website against cyberattacks.

So, while a free SSL certificate for a website sounds tempting, especially if you are a fledgling business, it will not serve the intended purpose of security. A paid SSL certificate like Entrust can take your website security, brand credibility, and customer trust to the highest level. Treat it as an investment – the returns are worth it.

You can get in touch with Indusface to secure your data through Entrust. Indusface is the authorized partner for Entrust SSL/TLS and provides continued guidance and round-the-clock support.

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