What’s the Free SSL Certificate & Paying SSL Certificate difference?

Everything you need to know about the practical difference between a free SSL Certificate and a commercial one.

In an age when, with each passing day, the number of hacking attempts and fraudulent activities is increasing, website owners and online users have become far more concerned about their security. Having installed an SSL certificate has thus become a prerequisite for any website. SSL certificates not only serve as an invaluable web security weapon, they can also give you a helping hand to boost your search engine rankings.

As you probably know, there are two types of SSL certificate. The first one is ‘ Free SSL Certificate, ‘which as the name suggests is available for free. The other one which is paid is simply known as ‘ SSL Certificate. Let’s have a closer look at both.

What is an SSL Certificate for Free?

As the name implies, there’s no price tag attached to those certificates. The purpose of making a free-of – cost SSL certificate available was to make HTTPS access available for all sites.

Free SSL certificates fall into two different categories. ‘Self-signed Certificates’ are those in which no Certificate Authority is required to sign them. They are him / herself signed by the issuer. By contrast, a Certificate Authorities (CA) signs the second type of free SSL certificate available on the market. Regarding the level of encryption, a free SSL certificate provides the same level of encryption as the payable ones.

Payment of SSL Certificates

To stock a website with such certificates, it has to be paid for. A paid certificate is issued by a trusted certificate authority ( CA) and signed there. You either get it directly from the website of the Certificate Authority or you can buy it from the ‘Resellers’ of third party entities.

With regard to the level of encryption a free SSL certificate provides the same level of encryption as a paid one. Now you have to ask yourself, ‘why would I pay for the same certificate if you can get it for free? ’

Okay, some of the major gaps between the two remain.

Main Differences From Free SSL to Paid SSL

Type of Certificate SSL

Free SSL certificates come with the option Domain Validation (DV) only. DV certificates are only used to provide an essential level of authentication. They ‘re usually used for platforms like small websites and blogs. Free SSL certificates do not have the certificates provided for Organizational Validation (OV) and Extended Validation (EV). While the paid SSL certificates come with options for OV & EV, which are absolutely necessary to protect business websites.

Validation Level

When it comes to verifying the business details of a website owner before issuing a free certificate, CA shall not validate anything other than the website owner’s identity. While in the case of paid SSL certificates, verification of the website owner’s identity is a must before issuing the certificate to the website owner and in the case of OV & EV certificates, the certificate authority (CA) performs an in-depth verification of the business.

Period of Validity

Free SSL certificates are issued for 30-90 days, given by common CAs. The proprietor of the website must therefore renew the certificate every 30-90 days. They may be issued for a term of 1–2 years in the case of paying certificates.


The certificate authorities (CAs) and pay certificate resellers are committed to supporting their customers round the clock. Those customers can choose which type of support they want, be it chatting, emailing or calling. On the other hand, free CA’s don’t provide such remarkable support to their customers because they can’t afford to. If you need help with a Free SSL issue, you’ll have sifted to find it through a bunch of old forum posts.

The Confidence Level

As mentioned earlier, only domain level validation is aided by free certificates. If one wants to obtain OV and EV certificates, he / she has no choice but to go with SSL certificates paid for. Visual indicators such as the business name in URL and Certificate information and better seals for the site come with OV & EV certificates. Whereas free SSL certificates do not have such privileges.


If something goes wrong on the end of the CA with a free SSL certificate – like, for example, a catastrophic failure of their PKI – you are absolutely out of luck. Paid SSL certificates do not have this issue as they are backed by guarantees that pay out between 10 grand miles and 1.75 miles anywhere.

What SSL / TLS certificate is suitable for websites of e-commerce?

Trust plays a vital role in any relationship and Websites for e-commerce are no different. No one would want to give out their sensitive information such as credit card number or any other if they lack confidence. Legit trusted websites exhibit visible site security that end-users can easily recognize.

Go through any questionnaire or look at any other information. You will find that paid SSL / TLS Certificates, i.e., Organization Validated (OV) or Extended Validated (EV) from legit Certificate Authorities perform the organization’s strict process of thorough verification. It also offers visible trust indicators such as website security seal, the organization’s name on the web browser’s address bar to make users feel safe and secure in sharing their payment information that is not present in free SSL Certificates.

Certificates paid for by SSL / TLS are like an investment

Branded SSL / TLS Certificates comes with 24 hours support from the technical team, making it an ideal choice for an online business regardless of its size. We SSL Renewals, are the authorized resellers of globally recognized Certificate Authorities such as Comodo, RapidSSL, GeoTrust, Thawte, GlobalSign and Digicert / Symantec. SSL Renewals is one of the reputable SSL industry resellers offering the most trusted and wide range of SSL / TLS Certificates with a discount price of up to 85 per cent.


Web security has today become a matter of ‘No Compromise’ and SSL certificates offer site owners a great helping hand. There’s no denying that free SSL certificates are a great option for many but they come with constraints as discussed above. For someone who wants to secure his / her blog or even a small website, they are the perfect option.

But there isn’t much to think about when it comes to real business, is it? If the free SSL certificates were adequate then all leading e-commerce websites would use them, would they? But they don’t and for that, there are plenty of reasons. Paid SSL certificates can help accelerate website conversion rates by placing a trust element in the mind of the customer that ultimately increases revenue. Though you have to pay a bit for it up front, you ‘re sure to savor the fruits later on. After all, it doesn’t come as good for free … right?