The price of SSL certificates can really vary – from $0, all the way up to the $1000 mark, depending on what you’re looking for.
While it’s true that SSL certificates used to cost a lot, prices have come down significantly over the years. They’re also more readily available, and you can get an SSL certificate for your website from several providers.
While many of us can use free SSL certificates, more secure versions are sometimes necessary. For example, those running eCommerce websites can build greater customer trust with a better SSL certificate type.
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL certificate is a digital document that provides proof of website ownership. It contains the details of the organization that owns the website. This proof helps assure visitors that they are visiting the intended website.
A secondary advantage of SSL certificates lies in the name. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a protocol that encrypts data sent to a web server. Using this protocol helps protect the data transferred between the website and its visitors.
SSL is highly secure and often used to protect sensitive information like credit card transactions, online banking, and email.
The most important note for SSLs is that everyone running a website today must have an SSL certificate installed. It ranks as highly as other crucial factors like hosting uptime and website speed. Search engines consider them mandatory.
Types of SSL Certificates and their Prices
There are three types of SSL certificates available;
- Domain Validated (DV)
- Organization Validated (OV)
- Extended Validation (EV)
Each comes at varying price brackets that also depend on the issuing Certificate Authority (CA).
|Type of SSL||ComodoSSL||DigiCert||Entrust||RapidSSL||GlobalSign|
1. Domain Validated SSL
DV certificates are the cheapest and easiest to secure a website. All you need to do to obtain a DV certificate is submit proof that you own or control a domain for which you request an SSL certificate.
The most famous examples of DV certificates are those issued by Let’s Encrypt. These are offered free of charge to all website owners. It is a service provided by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) for the public’s benefit.
2. Organization Validated
OV certificates require more validation than DV certificates and give visitors a deeper level of trust. These certificates typically take up to seven days to be issued and cost more than DV certificates.
You can only obtain OV certificates after a CA performs a thorough background check on your company’s registration details, legal status, and other financial information.
3. Extended Validated
EV certificates provide even greater assurance that the organization applying for an EV certificate is legitimate than those using OV certificates. The reason for this is the additional steps in the application process before they’re issued.
For example, EV certificate applicants must submit government-issued identification documents and application paperwork. The extra documents help prevent fraud by verifying domain ownership at the highest level.
Choosing the Right SSL Certificate for Your Website
The most crucial part of understanding SSL certificates is that they all have the same level of encryption. What differentiates them is the level of verification companies must undergo when obtaining the different SSL certificate types.
The main thing for website owners is that choosing the right SSL certificate depends on your needs and how you plan to use it.
Your web hosting plan type is irrelevant when picking an SSL, regardless whether you opt for VPS or shared hosting.
When to use DV SSL certificates
DV certificates are cheap and ideal for securing low-risk websites where there’s little risk from phishing or other forms of attack on your site’s security. Examples include personal blogs, portfolio sites, image galleries, etc.
When to use OV SSL certificates
OV certificates offer better visitor assurance at slightly higher prices than DV certificates. They are suitable for intermediate needs, such as websites that need to handle personal information. Examples include forums, sites requiring user registrations, etc.
When to use EV SSL certificates
EV certificates aren’t generally necessary unless you plan to process important personal and financial information. You will generally only see these certificates on banking websites, crypto exchanges, etc.
Where and How to Get an SSL Certificate
When you’re buying an SSL certificate, it pays to ensure you get your money’s worth. A few factors can increase the cost of your SSL certificate and decrease its security: buying from a trusted reseller, direct from the CA or even a web hosting company.
1. Buying SSL certificates from web hosts
The easiest way for most of us to get our SSL certificate is directly from your web hosting service provider. The reason for this is the much-simplified process. All you need to do is add on the SSL option when purchasing your web hosting plan.
Another advantage is that any secure web host makes it easier to install (or assist you with installation) partner CA certificates. The best web hosts endorse reputable SSL certificates and our top recommendations like Hostinger and DreamHost throw easy Let’s Encrypt SSL installations into even their cheapest shared hosting plans. Some web hosts even provide free SSL certificate with their plan!
2. Buying SSL certificates from trusted resellers
A trusted reseller will save you money. If you buy through a reseller with an established relationship with the CA, then there will be lower markups on the price of their products. Also, consider how many certificates they sell every month—if they don’t sell many each day, then there’s no need for them to charge more than what it costs them to make a profit.
On top of all this, if they provide customer service 24/7/365 and offer technical support over live chat or email, they’re going over and above what most sellers would do just because they want their customers’ satisfaction guaranteed whenever possible.
3. Buying SSL certificates from CAs
Another option would be to buy an SSL certificate directly from a CA. While this allows you the greatest breadth of choice, buying directly from a CA can be complex. Most CAs will offer extensive choices that can confuse anyone new to the world of SSL.
When buying directly from a CA, be prepared to spend long hours thinking carefully about what features are available, how to manage licenses, and how much experience the company has in supporting its products.
Wrap Up: There’s SSL Out There For Any Budget
Reliable protection is an important consideration when buying an SSL certificate, but it shouldn’t be the only one. As you know, a big part of choosing an SSL provider is considering your budget.
Still, SSL prices have become increasingly reasonable, and there are also free options. Even those with enhanced requirements will usually be able to save a few bucks by shopping around. It boils down to your requirements and the effort required to acquire your SSL certificate.