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How much does an SSL certificate cost?

9 February, 2021 · 9 min read·Website basics
How much does an SSL certificate cost?
Pick the best SSL certificate for you and find out how much it costs.

Securing a TLS/SSL certificate is essential for all website owners, whether for blogging or an e-commerce business.

There are different certificate authorities available, and it is crucial to choose the right one for your website. GeoTrust, RapidSSL, Comodo, Sectigo, and Thawte are a few examples of leading SSL certificate providers.

The SSL certificate cost varies.

Budget, type of certificate, levels of validation, validity, and certificate authority are the key factors to consider when choosing an SSL certificate for your website.

Keep in mind that the aim is to strengthen website security to ensure that visitors are safe and secured while on your website.

But, what is an SSL certificate?

Simply put, SSL secures the internet. It activates the padlock and HTTPS protocol connection when installed on the web. It is typically used to secure data transfer, logins, credit card transactions, and other sensitive information.

SSL stands for secure sockets layer. It safeguards sensitive information and data sent to the internet to prevent criminals from reading and modifying it. It also uses different encryption levels to prevent hackers from stealing any data transferred to the web.

Google and other search engines require SSL certificates. Without SSL certification, websites are penalized by showing a "Not Secured" warning on their sites, which prompts visitors to leave.

SSL certificates are essential because:

  • It secures your site. Visitors will not be drifting away due to the threat of security on your website.
  • It keeps the visitors' information safe. The public highly trusts websites with SSL certification.
  • Websites with SSL certificates rank higher on Google with the potential of increased organic traffic.

What is the best SSL certificate for my website?

There are various factors to consider before determining the right SSL certificate for a website. This includes understanding the types of SSL certificates, their costs, and what they can offer to your site.

And the most crucial factor is the level of validation! There are three levels of SSL certificate validation - Domain Validated (DM), Organization Validated (OV), and Extended Validated (EV).

  • Domain Validated (DM)

Domain Validated SSL certificates require the lowest validation. It is a basic type of SSL certificate that is easy to obtain. However, it does not provide the same security as EV and OV certificates.

DV certificates are suited for websites that do not receive a high volume of visitors. For example, informative websites and blogs without interaction with readers.

The cheapest DV certificate in the market is RapidSSL at $12.42 per year.

  • Organization Validated (OV)

Organization Validated certificates are more expensive than DV. Yet, it offers more security features.

Organization Validated certificate provides a similar encryption service with DV certificates. However, verification steps are involved, such as proving business identity and that the organization owns the existing domain name.

OV certificates are recommended for bigger corporations to manage and track certificates effectively. With OV certificates, you need to verify the identity of your domain and organization. That makes OV certificates safer than DV Certificates.

This SSL certificate is also suited for companies that do not require their visitors to perform credit card transactions on their website.

If you're looking for an OV certificate, the GeoTrust TrueBusinessID SSL certificate is a promising option. It only cost $79.6 per year.

  • Extended Validated (EV)

EV certificates are considered premium certificates. It offers the highest level of protection and assurance to website visitors. It requires domain and organizational information validation, which makes it the most expensive type of SSL certificate.

Websites with Extended Validated certificates display the organization's name at the address bar along with a green padlock on Mozilla and Google browser.

EV certificates are recommended for e-commerce businesses and any website requiring visitors to enter data such as credit card info and logins.

People are most likely to purchase from sites with EV certificates because of the green padlock. It is a strong indication of a safe and secured network.

One of the best providers of EV certificates is GeoTrust. The fee starts at $137 per year with premium features.

Where to buy the best-priced SSL certificates?

There are different types of SSL certificates available for purchase - it can be hard to choose which company to go for. However, you need to consider the one that offers the best features at a reasonable price.

I have compiled a few recommendations for certificate authorities that offer the best-priced SSL certificates in the market. Keep reading!

Comodo is one of the best certificate authorities in the market - also the cheapest. They offer various certificates such as Comodo SSL, Wildcard SSL Certificates, EV certificates, DV certificates, etc.

Comodo is compatible with all popular browsers with unlimited serving licensing and re-issuance. You can get the ComodoCA SSL DV certificate for as low as $125 per year, and a 5-year SSL subscription plan is also available.

RapidSSL provides fast and low-cost SSL certificates. It offers basic encryption at a low price. It is also dedicated to providing affordable security solutions without frills.

RapidSSL is powered by DigiCert, which provides the highest level of validation and authentication available in the market - Digicert is also the leading company in the SSL industry. RapidSSL has provided SSL certificate services to at least 400,000 website owners.

You can get a DV certificate from RapidSSL for as low as $12.42 a year.

GeoTrust is one of the most prominent digital certificate providers in the world. It has a full range of certificates and trusted products suitable for all business sizes. It is proud to deliver top-notch products and services at an affordable rate.

GeoTrust is partnered with Digicert and offers a wide range of SSL certificate services backed by the best tools and customer support.

You can now purchase QuickSSL Premium for as low as $149, including automatic authentication and issuance process.

Thawte is a trusted SSL/TLS certificate provider. Digicert also powers it and provides the strongest encryption and authentication, assuring the customer that sensitive information and other data are safe and secured.

Thawte SSL certs are 99% compatible with all website browsers and systems with 256-bit encryption strength.

Wildcard SSL certificate is also offered as an upgrade.

Digicert is the leading provider of SSL certificates on the web. You can get a standard SSL certificate or OV certificate in just minutes.

It offers TLS/SSL certificates and digital certificates, including wildcard SSL certificates. You can purchase SSL certificates from Digicert by logging into the CertCentral certificate management platform.

Sectigo is one of the leading providers of TLS/SSL certificates and other web security solutions. It is the world's largest commercial Certificate Authority with 700,000 customers and over 100 million digital certificates issued.

At Sectigo, you can buy the single domain EV SSL certificate for as low as $249 a year and the multi-domain EV SSL certificate for $549 per year.

Can I get a free SSL certificate?

Yes, you can.

There are two categories of free SSL certificates - self-signed certificates and the ones signed by Certificate Authorities (CA).

Self-signed certificates are signed by an issuer. A certificate authority is not needed. On the other hand, Certificate Authorities requires a recognized and accredited organization to sign the certificate.

A free SSL certificate and paid SSL certificate provides the same level of encryption. But, website owners prefer to use the paid versions due to extra features that can make a big difference to website security.

Free SSL certificate only comes with Domain Validated option while the paid version includes Organization Validation and Extended Validation, which most businesses need to safeguard their website.

Paid SSL certificates provide a robust level of trust because it performs company and domain validation strictly to ensure heavy security.

Free SSL certificates are only good for 30 to 90 days only. As a result, website owners need to renew the certificate when it lapses.

Paid SSL certificates are backed by warranties. The CA can help you if you're having technical issues such as PKI failure, for instance.

Although free SSL certificates are more convenient to acquire, the paid version is still the most practical option because of the features and services that can ensure a safe website.

3 Easy Steps to Choosing the Right SSL Certificate

As you can see, there is a wide selection of digital certificates and Certificate Authorities in the SSL market. Now, let's take steps to choose the right SSL certificate.

Below are some standard steps that can help you.

#1 Register your domain

Domain registration is the first step to obtaining an SSL certificate. You need to register your domain because certificate authorities verify the domain ownership.

The domain name is, in effect, the name of the website. Purchasing a domain is a relatively straightforward process - the tricky part is choosing one that is not taken.

Related: Our best tips for coming up with domain name ideas

To buy a domain:

  • Visit a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, and A2.
  • Input the desired domain name and pay the fees.
  • Choose a domain name that is catchy and easy to remember.

#2 Decide on the trust level that you require

There are three trust levels of validation - Domain Validated, Organization Validated, and Extended Validation. All levels of validation offer the same security. However, Extended Validation has the most stringent requirement and the most expensive as well.

Consider web presence and brand identity when choosing levels of validation that suits your website. It would look more impressive if your organization or company name appears on the address bar.

Internet users also put higher trust in business websites with a green padlock on the address bar - the green padlock indicates a secured network.

#3 Decide how many domains you need to protect

If you only want to protect a single domain, then a standard certificate is the best option for you. On the other hand, if you want to secure multiple domains and subdomains, consider getting a wildcard SSL domain or Multidomain Certificate.

Multidomain certificates can secure multiple domains with one certificate. But if you want to secure multiple subdomains with one certificate, you can use Wildcard or Multidomain. The choice will depend on the number of subdomains and the levels of trust you want.

It would be best to talk to an expert to get professional advice and to know more about domain and SSL certification pricing.

Tip: It is cost-effective to use one certificate to cover multiple fully qualified domain names (MFQDM) than purchasing multiple individual certificates.

Let's encrypt!

So, how much exactly does it cost to buy an SSL certificate?

The price of SSL certificates varies depending on the provider, the type of SSL certification needed for your business and the number of domains to be protected. Some certificates are offered for free without the perks of a more sophisticated certification, such as length of validation.

The average cost of SSL certification for a single domain is $7.88 per year, while a wildcard SSL certificate that protects unlimited subdomains is $72.88 or more per year. (Price varies on each provider)

It is important to choose the right SSL certification services that fit your business. And the budget!

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