Free vs Paid SSL Certificate: Here’s the jist of it.
In short as far as the level of encryption is concerned, the free SSL certificate provides the same level of encryption as the paid one.
Free SSL Certificates
Free SSL typically fits into one of two flavors:
- Self-Signed Certificates
- Is Signed by a Certificate Authority (CA)
Self-Signed: Self-signed means that you usually create the certificate yourself because there is no need for any Certificate Authority to sign them. You also sign it yourself as the issuer.
Signed by a Certificate Authority: When it is signed by a Certificate Authority it gives just a little extra trust and credibility than when you sign and issue your own certificate of course.
Paid SSL Certificates
A paid certificate is issued and signed by a trustworthy certificate authority (CA) and is usually acquired from the CA’s website or from a third party reseller.
Why should I even pay for a certificate when you can get it for free?
Free SSL certificates only have Domain Validation (DV) which are only for basic level authentication and are typically used for small blogs and websites.
- It only validates the website owner.
- Usually have to be renewed every 30-90 days
Paid SSL certificates have Organization Validation (OV) and Extended Validation (EV) certificates which better protects bigger organizations including business websites.
- It validates the website owner but also verifies and validates the business by the Certificate Authority.
- Can be renewed every 1-2 years