Is Free SSL Right for Me?

Free SSL certificates came on the scene in 2016. Now that Google and all major browsers serve up unencrypted pages with a “Not Secure” warning, they offer a fast, economical option for securing your website.

Free SSL certificates provide peace of mind that all information that’s shared is encrypted and protected in transit. This is an essential step in your website security. But, depending on the type of site you have and your goals—you may want to consider upgrading to a premium, paid SSL certificate. And, with this year’s holiday sales predicted to ring in at more than $123 billion, you need to do everything you can to make it clear to visitors you’re a safe choice. The fastest way to gain immediate online trust is by having the right SSL certificate.

Here are a few things you’ll want to think through before you decide if free is the way to go.

  • Identity Matters—Free SSL certificates provide encryption and validate you own your domain. This is probably sufficient if you have a blog or small personal non-business site. But today’s savvy visitors are painfully aware of how often data gets into the wrong hands. And, they’re concerns are valid. A recent PhishLabs study found 49% of phishing sites “appear” secure and display HTTPS in the browser bar, with the majority protected by free SSL certificates. Premium SSL certificates require more extensive vetting by the Certificate Authorities (CAs), so your visitors can be confident you’re a legitimate business they can trust.
  • The Power of Site Seals—You may be surprised to know that, according to, a whopping 61% of shoppers decided not to buy because a site was missing a trust seal. Paid SSL certificates, specifically Extended Validation (EV), proudly display a dynamic site seal that gives your visitors the reassurance they’re looking for.
  • What If Protection—Sure, “what if” may never happen. But, if you’ve ever filed an insurance claim for your house or car, you know protection for the unexpected when you do need it is worth every penny. If something goes wrong with your certificate, even if it’s not your fault, premium SSL certificates include a warranty that protects you against excessive liability.
  • Expert Guidance—Generating CSRs, validating, installing and managing SSL certificates, not to mention compliance, can be confusing, even with free versions. You never know when you’ll need a team of experts to call on for guidance. What if another Heartbleed bug came along? Would you be able to fly solo and know exactly what to do? If you’re like most organizations, the answer is no. Premium SSL certificates provide the support and expertise you need, when you need it.

Choosing the right SSL certificate is an important decision that has daily ramifications on your reputation, engagement, conversion and overall online success. On the web, trust and perception are everything. Review your options and make sure your website is prepared for this year’s record holiday buying season.

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