As technology has evolved thus the amount of data transferred over the internet has increased significantly. You need to make sure that data transferred over the internet is secured from unauthorized access.
If you own a website and want to keep its data protected, you need to implement an SSL certificate. You can get an SSL certificate for your website from an SSL certificate provider. Various hosting service providers offer SSL certificates with their hosting plans.
This article will discuss SSL certificates and their features, and also highlight the best free SSL hosting providers out there.
What is an SSL certificate?
SSL ensures the security of data transferred between users and websites by initiating a secure session within the web browser. It is done by changing the protocol from HTTP to HTTPS. This SSL certificate is signed and approved by the Certificate Authority (CA). This cryptographic signature helps the browser to verify the integrity of the website.
So, how will this SSL certificate help bloggers or website owners keep their customer’s data safe? If you own a simple blog site that does not require much user information, having an SSL certificate might not be necessary. But if you handle a lot of customer data like personal details, bank details, and other important information, then an SSL certificate becomes an essential requirement for your website.
Free SSL vs. Paid SSL Certificates
Well, many hosting providers provide SSL certificates for free. This certificate comes under the ACME (Automatic Certificate Management Environment) protocol, which encrypts all the communication between the visitors and the web browser. This way, visitors can trust the websites and share their personal details with the website.
But, some hosting providers offer SSL certificates only for a limited time, and you might have to purchase the premium plan for the renewal of the SSL certificate. Ensure you renew or install the latest SSL certificate for effective working and ensuring complete security
However, the security provided by the free and the premium plan SSL certificate is the same. The premium plan requires more validation and might ask for your information like location, phone number, and other details. This will help you in minimizing the chance of getting involved in any phishing scam.
With premium plans, you can leverage consistent customer support to troubleshoot and fix errors. Also, with paid plans, you do not have to worry about the expiration of the CA as it will not leave your website exposed to vulnerable attacks.
Paying for an SSL certificate can be costly, but it is worth it for your website’s security in the long run.
Why Do You Need an SSL Certificate?
Every website that deals with crucial user data must be secured using an SSL certificate. It ensures safety by verifying the website’s ownership, safeguarding the website from various attacks, and helps in gaining customer trust.
Below are some features that SSL certificates provide to ensure the security of user data:
- Encryption: SSL/TLS encryption is implemented using the public-private key pairing facilitated by the SSL certificate. In this way, the clients (web browsers) will get the public key required for establishing a TLS connection from a server’s SSL certificate.
- Authentication: SSL certificates will check and verify that a client is communicating to the right server that owns the domain. This will prevent the chance of domain spoofing and other kinds of attacks.
- HTTPS: An SSL certificate is a necessity for an HTTPS web address. HTTPS is a more secure form of the HTTP protocol, and HTTPS websites mostly receive their traffic usually encrypted using SSL/TLS.
Apart from securing the user’s data in transit, HTTPS makes sure that the sites are more secure and able to protect the user’s information. Most users may not notice the difference between an http:// and an https:// web address. Today, many browsers have started tagging the HTTP sites as “not secure“.
5 Best Free SSL Hosting Providers
Below are the most popular web hosting providers that offer free SSL certificates with their hosting plans:
Bluehost is one of the most trusted hosting service providers and is highly recommended for WordPress hosting. It offers various plans with different services that are not limited to WordPress hosting only. It also offers shared, virtual private servers, and dedicated hosting.
Bluehost provides a shared hosting plan that comes with unlimited bandwidth and a free SSL certificate, which is provided by Let’s Encrypt. Not only this, but it also provides you a free domain and custom email, allowing you to set up a professional email address for our website. Also, it offers you a user-friendly dashboard with one-click WordPress installation.
Bluehost ensures you will get consistent customer support round the clock. You will get automatic backup, custom themes, free CDN, and Google Ads Credit. You can avail of the basic plan at $2.95 per month, offering 50 GB SSD storage.
SiteGround is yet another popular web hosting provider that offers SSL certificates. It has been in the market since 2004 and currently hosts more than 2 million domains. SiteGround was introduced by three university students in 2004 in Bulgaria (also known as the Silicon Valley of Europe).
It is one of the fully-grown web hosting companies with more than 500 employees. SiteGround is recommended by WordPress.org and offers free SSL certificates with all its hosting plans. It has a top-rated customer support team that addresses all your queries and provides effective solutions instantly.
If you are considering working with the Google cloud platform, then using SiteGround is a great option. Apart from this, you can even leverage the benefits of its ultra-fast network and persistent SSD storage. However, SiteGroud is more costly than the plans offered by many of its competitors like Bluehost. However, you will get additional features that make SiteGround’s hosting plans investment-worthy.
SiteGround comes with various features like daily data backup, unlimited database support, email hosting, unmetered traffic, and speed-boosting caching.
SiteGround’s plans start from $6.99 per month, providing 10 GB of storage and supporting more than 10k monthly visits to your website. Each plan provides a free and pre-installed Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. Apart from this, you can opt for the Let’s Encrypt Wildcard or Premium Wildcard pre-installed SSL certificate, which you can order from your dashboard.
3. A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting is considered to be the most effective web hosting provider available in the market. It provides you with features and services specially designed and optimized for CMS like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. It is also accompanied by turbo servers powered by LiteSpeed web servers, ensuring up to 20 times faster page loading speed.
With A2 hosting, you can leverage a wide range of features that is well-suited for beginners as well as for experienced users. You will get professional customer support that will provide you with consistent assistance.
It offers various features, including unlimited SSD storage available on premium plans, covering various locations, unmetered bandwidth, ensuring 99.9 percent uptime, automatic and daily backups with premium plans, and website builder support. You will get free pre-installed SSL certificates with all plans. A2 Hosting provides affordable plans for the Rapid and GeoTrust SSL certificates that anyone can purchase:
- Single site RapidSSL is available at $19.99/year.
- RapidSSL Wildcard is available at $89.99/year.
- Premium GeoTrust True BusinessID is available at $77.95/year.
- Advanced GeoTrust True BusinessID with EV is available at $121.95/year.
A2’s shared hosting basic plan starts at $2.99 per month, offering 100 GB of SSD storage, and is suitable for hosting a single website. To avail of unlimited features and the turbo speed boost, you can upgrade your plan accordingly.
Another option for getting a free SSL certificate for your website is DreamHost. It offers a variety of web hosting options like shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting. Apart from this, it also offers a managed WordPress service called DreamPress.
DreamHost comes with only two types of shared hosting plans, making it an easy-going option for beginners. Both hosting plans are priced reasonably and provide a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. You will also get unlimited bandwidth and a free domain.
DreamHost promises 100 percent uptime and makes sure that your website stays accessible round the clock. Apart from this, you get one-click WordPress installation, automatic updates, a website builder for customization, free migration, 24 X 7 customer support, and everything is available at 97 days money-back guarantee.
You can avail of the Shared Starter or the basic plan at $2.59 per month for single site usage. Each DreamHost plan comes with a free and pre-installed Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. You can also add a premium Section SSL certificate that is available at $15 per year.
Hostinger is a budget-friendly hosting provider that also offers SSL certificates. It comes with a wide range of hosting plans. You can use its shared, VPS, or cloud hosting plans along with specialized services that include Minecraft and Windows hosting.
With its basic plan, you will not get the free domain facility. But you can enjoy other features like the LiteSpeed cache plugin that helps accelerate your WordPress website. You will also get the weekly data backups, automatic updates, and a free pre-installed Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
If your project does not allow you to use the WordPress site, you can leverage the benefits of Hostinger’s website builder, Zyro. It offers you access to modern, responsive templates along with innovative artificial intelligence tools to create stunning websites. It also gives the facility to generate the data reports instantly and monitor visitor activity.
Hostinger plans offer various features like free email hosting, unlimited bandwidth usage, Git access, one-click WordPress installation, site-building wizard, weekly and automatic updates, free domain, and 99 percent uptime.
The basic plan for single shared hosting is available for $1.39 per month and offers 10 GB SSD storage, 100 GB bandwidth, and 10,000 monthly visits. You can avail of a free domain, and more storage by opting for the Premium shared hosting plan, which is available for $1.99 per month. Each plan comes with a free pre-installed Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
SSL certificate is one of the most common methods that is used by website owners to ensure complete safety against threats. It is a common practice to install SSL certificates to make a secured website. It will eventually help in gaining customers’ trust in the long run. Most websites are data-oriented (bank websites) that keep customers important and personal details saved on their sites. Thus protecting data integrity is the topmost priority. Thus requires an SSL certificate to ensure the security of the data that is being transferred over the network.
Having an SSL certificate for your website may or may not cost you. You can choose various web hosting options offering a free SSL certificate facility. We have mentioned several web hosting providers offering free SSL certificates for your website.