In 2022, having a website is essential but what is more important than having a website is to have it certified by SSL. If you are asking for any personal information from visitors, you need to have an SSL certificate.
SSL is one of the critical components for ranking higher on search engine result pages. Search engines like Google are keeping a close watch on the websites that the SSL certificate perceived to be unsecured.
The easy way to find out which website has an SSL certificate is by simply looking at its URL. If the website’s prefix consists of “HTTPS”, then it’s a secured site, and it does have an SSL certificate. In the last few years, Google has become vocal about giving SSL-certified websites preference over the non-SSL-certified ones.
In case you try to open a non-secure website, your browser will show you an alert about a possible data breach if you visit the website. Likewise, some antiviruses won’t let users open unsecured websites.
Thus, having an SSL certificate for a website has now become a necessity. But how do you get an SSL certificate? And is there any way to get it for free? Yes, there are a few methods that can help you add a free SSL certificate to your website.
In this article, we are going to show you how you can successfully add a free SSL certificate to your website without sparing a single penny. But before that, let’s understand the difference between paid and free SSL certificates.
What’s the Difference Between Paid and Free SSL Certificate?
The main reason for providing a free SSL certificate is to make the internet a more secure place. There are 2 types of free SSL certificates:
- The first ones are self-signed certificates. The website owner doesn’t need any certificate authority to sign it for them assigned by the issuer themselves.
- The second type of free SSL certificate is the one signed by some Certification Authority (CA).
When it comes to encrypting the data and keeping it secure from hackers, both free and paid certificates deploy the same level of encryption. But there are certainly some differences between the two, out of which, the most important ones are discussed below:
1. Level Of Validation
When it comes to verifying the website’s ownership, a free SSL certificate will not take the necessary steps to validate the ownership. It simply gives a website the SSL certificate and gets done with it.
Well, things are a bit different in the paid SSL certification, as Certification Authorities ask for valid identity proof of the website owner before they issue the SSL certificate. In case there is a need for OV and EV certificates, a CA does in-depth verification of the business.
2. Validity Period
This is the aspect where free SSL certificates lack the most. Any free SSL certificate provided by even a well-known CA is bound to last for 30 to 90 days. Thus, the website owner has to avail of a new SSL certificate to keep the website secure. Paid SSL certificates, on the other hand, usually ask for renewal every 1 or 2 years.
The paid SSL certificate will have round the clock support for their customers via chat, email or phone call. A free SSL certificate doesn’t have customer assistance equivalent to paid SSL support.
Suppose the website ever shows an issue with the free SSL certificate. In that case, the developer has to go through the SSL provider’s open forum to find out the solution as the online community is the only customer support you are going to get with a free SSL certification.
If something goes wrong from the free SSL provider’s end, you are on your own. For instance, if there’s a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) failure, your SSL certificate will stop working. On the other hand, paid SSL certificates are free from these issues as they are backed by the warranty and pay between $10,000 to $1.75 million to keep things safe and working.
Which SSL Certificate is Ideal for Your Website?
In case you are running a blog or even a small website that doesn’t have to deal with the users providing their sensitive information, then free SSL is all thumbs up. But if you are the owner of an e-commerce website and want users to provide their credit/debit card/bank details to pay, you need a paid SSL certificate to assure the safety of their information.
Likewise, a business website that shows the number of services or products that it provides to its customers needs to have an SSL certificate, websites that fall under this category are Flipkart, Amazon, Nike.com, Zara etc. Because it helps in building trust and makes a website look a bit more professional, adding a paid SSL certificate is a must. After all, no genuine business wants to have its clients bombarded by warnings and alerts.
Why Does a Website Need SSL?
There are numerous reasons for a website to have an SSL certification, one of the most common of it being building trust within the users. Nowadays, websites ask users to provide their credit card initials to make an online purchase of a product.
Without being too technical here, an SSL provides a secure gateway for information-sharing activities. Anything which needs to be secured on the internet has to come under the protection of an SSL certificate.
Indeed some people have tried to bolster their website’s security without getting an SSL certificate, but in 2022 this is not likely to happen anymore.
There was a time when having essential firewall protection along with an antivirus plug-in was enough to keep the data secured from hackers but as the technology advanced, so did the security penetration tools. Thus, users on the internet are constantly getting bombarded with links that contain malware designed to create a data breach on a website.
Benefits Of Having an SSL Certificate?
- Enables high-level 256-bit encryption to protect user-sensitive data.
- The strong encryption also makes users safe from phishing scams and other known cyber attacks.
- Protects websites from getting attacked by hackers who are looking to use man in the middle (MITM) attacks to capture sensitive data.
- Helps websites to rank better on SERPs, giving them better opportunities to have more user footfall.
- Creates a better shopping experience where user information is safe.
- Works as an authentication seal and helps companies to increase their brand reputation.
- In case the website owner has opted for EV SSL, the website will have a green address bar along with the organization name.
- Saves website owners from significant losses as it protects them from hacks that could lead to legal problems. Any user data being compromised by a hacker could lead to severe legal repercussions.
Are you looking for an affordable SSL Certificate, then go through the difference between DV SSL vs OV SSL.
Methods to Get a Free SSL Certificate
Let’s Encrypt is the first website that came up with the free SSL certification for website owners. It is a fully open-source SSL certificate that works with every major platform. Also, by using its SSL certification, a user gets support from the managed WordPress hosts.
The SSL certificate remains active for 90 days, after which, the user has to apply for a new one. It’s a collaborative project based on the Linux platform and sponsored by big names like Mozilla, Akamai, and SiteGround.
When your website is in development, and you want to keep it safe from hackers, this is a great way to get the SSL certificate for free. All the work which needs to be done to acquire an SSL certificate is automated, and it gets done in the background.
2. SSL For Free
You can understand what is being offered by the name only. The SSL certificate given by this certification authority is trusted by almost every popular web browser. Thus, having this on your website will make it secure and ready to run on multiple web browsers.
It’s a free SSL certificate. As a result, it will expire after 90 days of use, but the website owner can install a new one within a few minutes and get their website secured once again. Since its inception, the website has provided 3,000,000+ free SSL certificates.
In addition to this, the website uses Web Cryptography API to generate a private key in the user’s browser, and that private key’s information is never transmitted back to the website. Once the certification is developed, the private key will automatically delete itself.
In case the web browser, which the website owner is using doesn’t support Web Cryptography API, then the key will be generated on the server by using the updated version of the SSL.
To provide users with protection during the SSL certification process, the website requests users to use a supported browser for client generation. In case the user is going for manual verification, they need to give their own Certificate Signing Request (CSR). As a result, the private key will be handled from the user’s end throughout the entire process.
Cloudflare’s SSL certificate works by enabling HTTP/2 protocol, which allows websites to reach the maximum potential of their speed without asking for any changes in the codebase. Cloudflare’s SSL also provides session resumption, OCSP stapling, along elliptic curve cryptography, which uses more minor keys to improve the speed of the handshake.
Also, the company runs a cypher suite by the name ChaCha20-Poly1305, which runs three times faster than AES-128-GCM. The SSL certification is done by different modes based on the level of security required on the website and how much of a configuration one wants to do.
One thing a user needs to know is that the traffic to the end-user will always be encrypted. Thus, websites will always enjoy the benefits of HTTPS certification. Another important thing that the website owners need to know about the full SSL certification is that it provides encryption from end-users to Cloudflare and from Cloudflare to the origin server of the website.
As a result, it requires the origin server to have an SSL certification as well to keep the whole loop secure against any security penetration. If you are looking for something more secure that can keep your website safe for a long time, then you need to look at Cloudflare’s custom SSL certification offerings.
This free SSL certificate can be yours if you have content that is hosted on HubSpot’s CMS. With the SSL certificate from Hubspot, users can secure their website data. But it only provides a 14-day trial, and after that, the user has to purchase it.
Nonetheless, it is easy to put the SSL certification on the website when using HubSpot. All you have to do is click on the settings that say to turn on the SSL verification certificate and Voila! You are done. Also, once the free SSL certificate expires, HubSpot will prompt users to upgrade to the paid version, which can be done with just a single click.
WordPress is a reputed name in the fields of website hosting and domain name registration, and anyone who has ever worked on creating a website will know how easy it is to create a website with the WordPress platform.
WordPress HTTPS SSL is a plug-in that is developed by CreativeMinds that makes WordPress websites automatically redirect from HTTP to HTTPS instead of making users go through the SSL enabling process. In addition to this, users have the power to make the SSL redirection to each individual page of their website.
One of the best things about this SSL plug-in is that it only requires a single click, and everything will be configured on its own. It comes with a scanner that allows users to scan their website and database for any potential unsecured data and to make sure that the content of the website is not blocked by the SSL certification.
When it comes to setting up a new domain at an affordable price, Bluehost is a company that is hard to beat. It is a popular web hosting platform that delivers tons of value to its customers. When a customer signs up for any of their website hosting plans, they provide a free SSL certificate with it.
In addition to this, Bluehost also provides users with a free domain name for the first year when they sign up for a hosting service, which makes their service and products a great all-in-one product. As a user, you are limited to only one SSL certificate per hosting account, so you need to think carefully before going for it.
The free SSL certificate that you get from Bluehost covers all the aspects of securing your data and keeping your customers safe from getting hacked.
Bluehost also covers all your parked domains, which basically means it covers all the sites which point out to your main site. Securing a parked domain will cost you nothing when you secure it with Bluehost.
Furthermore, if you want to have complete control of the SSL certificate, you should go with the VPS and dedicated web hosting options. Lastly, the installation and the renewal process of SSL certificates is pretty easy as it lets you encrypt the certificate all by yourself by making the user a certificate authority.
Indeed, Buypass is a newcomer but if we are talking about the best companies that are providing a free SSL, the list is incomplete without mentioning Buypass. Its SSL is trusted by a galore of browsers due to its dependability and robustness. You can get a free SSL, which is called Buypass Go SSL, and you can go with paid options as well.
The free SSL certificate lasts for 180 days which is double that of most of the free SSL renewal periods. It uses ACME protocol to make the renewal automated, making the process faster and easier. Users can create up to 20 certificates per week, which are more than enough for multi-billion-dollar businesses to small business websites.
If a user is not looking for a Wildcard certificate, then opting for Buypass Go SSL is a great option that can be used over and over again. It provides the same features with the same level of encryption but lasts twice as long as any other free SSL certificate.
If you had searched for the free SSL certification before, you might have found ZeroSSL and SSLforfree on the list of many websites. They used to be an excellent source for getting a free SSL certificate.
But both of these providers have now been bought by new owners, and they are not as generous as the previous owners of these two, so getting your hands on free SSL from these 2 became a tedious task now.
If we were to suggest anyone from these free SSL providers, we would like to go with Bluehost and Cloudflare as these two provide the best web hosting services along with a free SSL certificate.
It all comes down to the user and how they want to configure their SSL certification. By enabling Cloudflare’s SSL along with traditional SSL options, one gets to have all the different advantages of all types of free services, which leaves no gaps in security whatsoever.