In a nutshell, SSL certificate enables secure communication over the internet by encrypting data such as your password or credit card information which is being transmitted between your computers and the server. When visiting a website or blog that is secured by an SSL certificate you will see a padlock icon or green bar on the left side of your URL bar.
The organization that issues the SSL certificate is called Certificate Authority or CA in short. The main responsibility of the CA is to validate the identities on the internet such as websites and email addresses and generating a digital certificate. The CA authority landscape can be divided into two categories an Open Certificate Authority (free SSL providers) like Lets Encrypt and CAcert and Commercial Certificate Authority (paid SSL providers) like Sectigo, DigiCert, etc.
Let’s explore some of the challenges of going with Free SSL instead of a paid SSL certificate:
- Certificate Lifespan: Free SSL has a short lifespan for instance Let’S encrypt validity is 90 days and you should renew them every 3 months. Although in many cases the renewal process is automated but you still need to double-check to make sure your website is secure and SSL is installed correctly. A paid SSL certificate however is valid for 1 year; install the SSL certificate once and you do not need to worry about it for a year.
- SSL Validation: Free SSL providers like Let’s Encrypt offers Domain Validation (DV) certificate. DV certificate is considered as the most basic level of validation as you only need to show you have control over the domain. The only advantage of a DV certificate is it can be issued very quickly and the issuance process is automated. If you are looking to project more confidence and security you should consider Organization Certificate (OV) or Extended Validation (EV) to qualify for the OV certificate you should go through a validation/verification process. The other type of validation is Extended Validation (EV) this represents the highest standard of trust as the organization has to go through a more careful validation process than OV.
- Warranty: Free SSL certificate does not offer any warranty. Paid SSL certificate, however, covers the end-user against any financial damages in case of an unauthorized use, corruption, impersonation, and many more. The Warranty varies from $10K to $$1.5m depending on the type of SSL your order and installs on your server.
- Customer Support: Free SSL certificate CA typically relies on community support. If you have any questions or run into any issues you are mostly relying on other users to share their experience with you. On the other hand, the commercials CA’s have a dedicated support team ready to answer your questions.
You can find more information about the paid SSL certificate we offer here.