Google’s Chrome arguably has the most popular browser in the world. By default, Chrome labels all ‘HTTP’ websites as insecure, making it tough for people to visit such sites. Other browsers, such as Microsoft’s Edge browser and Apple’s Safari, have similar safety features for their network solutions that primarily aim for user safety. How do these security features affect the companies or organizations that host such sites?
Here is an overview of the importance—and the cost—of installing SSL and implementing HTTPS security on your website:
What are SSL and SSL Certificates?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. SSL is a technology that enables browsers and servers to transmit and receive data securely in an encrypted connection called HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). SSL certificates are digital certificates that confirm the identity of a site, to both visitors and servers and browsers. SSL certificates themselves are small data files that digitally identify your company, organization, and web page, and they are needed for installing and implementing SSL technology on your website. You can obtain an SSL digital certificate from an SSL certificate provider.
Functions of SSL
SSL certification provides three basic functions:
- It ensures that your site is safe and secure from cyber-attacks.
- It identifies your website as a safe and secure site to your customers, thereby helping you to maintain and increase your traffic.
- Websites that use SSL tech are ranked higher by Google and other search engines’ algorithms.
Which SSL Certificate Is the Best for Your Website?
Choosing an SSL certification process for your site depends on the type of website you have, as well as the level of security that you require. Generally speaking, there are three categories of SSL certificate options from which you can choose:
Domain Validated (DV) Certificates
Domain Validated Certificates are the most basic type of trusted SSL digital certificate. They have the lowest level of security of all SSL certificate types. You can obtain a DV certificate within minutes from a certificate provider. All you need to do is to verify that you own a domain to a DV certificate vendor, and they will issue you a DV certificate.
This type of SSL is suitable for websites that do not require their visitors to provide or exchange any personal details. Bloggers and small website owners generally use DV SSL.
Organization Validated (OV) Certificates
For someone who doesn’t know the difference, an OV certificate can be mistaken for a DV certificate. To obtain an OV certificate, you need to verify your domain and your organization with the certificate-issuing authority. OV certificates are more expensive to acquire, and they are perfect for business owners who do not require their customers to provide sensitive personal information on their website.
Extended Validated (EV) Certificates
EV certificates provide the highest level of security and trust to your website. EV certificates are the most expensive to acquire. To get one, you will need to verify your domain and provide personal and organizational information to your certificate-issuing authority. When you have this type of SSL, Google Chrome displays a green padlock on your website, informing your visitors that they are dealing with a highly trusted site.
What Do You Need Before Buying an SSL Certificate?
Before you can purchase any of the SSL certificate options, get the following in order:
- Documents to verify your’s and your business’s identity
- A unique IP address
- An updated and accurate WHOIS record
- A CSR (certificate signing request)
How Much Does SSL Cost, and Where Can I Purchase It?
There are many SSL certificate vendors from which to choose. As outlined above, your choice will depend on your security needs, your budget, and the type of website you are running. However, if you choose the right hosting partner, you can even get SSL security for free, as is the case with Bluehost.
Bluehost provides free SSL certificates for all assigned and parked domain names that are set up in your account. Although some customers may need to enable their certificate manually, in most cases, your SSL will automatically assign and install itself to your new and existing domains. This convenience makes Bluehost the perfect option for users who want an easy, intuitive, and hassle-free upgrade to SSL security.
SSL.com is a highly-regarded SSL certificate vendor and has been around for roughly two decades. They sell SSL and TSL certificates to website owners, along with other services such as document signing, code signing, email certificates, and more.
Their annual pricing plans are as follows:
- Basic SSL: $36.75
- OV SSL: $48.80
- Premium SSL (with three subdomains): $74.25
- Multiple domain SSL: $141.60
Namecheap is another popular vendor that sells SSL certificates. Their basic SSL package starts from $7.88 per year, but they offer other certificates as well, including premium certificates.
- Positive SSL (DV): $7.88
- Essential SSL (DV): $16.88
- Instant SSL (OV): $18.88
- Essential SSL Wildcard: $72.88
The SSL Store
Founded in 2009, the SSL Store is one of the best places to purchase an SSL certificate. The company works with some of the leading certificate providers, and their prices for annual packages are as below:
- Basic Domain Validation: $14.95
- Essential SSL (Wildcard): $94.50
- Positive SSL (Wildcard): $130.00
- OV SSL: $86.50
- EV SSL: $82.30
Comodo SS Store
Comodo offers some of the cheapest SSL certifications available in the market. Their pricing plans are as below:
- Positive SSL: $49
- PositiveSSL EV: $149
- Premium Instant SSL: $179.95
Global Sign is one of the oldest and most popular certificate authorities in the world. They provide cloud-based solutions to small and large businesses. Due to the high levels of security that they offer, their prices are somewhat higher than other options outlined here. Global Sign is perfect for e-commerce businesses since they guarantee safe transactions and secure content delivery to their customers. Their fees are as follows:
- Domain SSL: $249
- Organization SSL: $349
- Extended SSL: $599
- Wildcard SSL: $849
DigiCert, like Global Sign, charges premium prices for their SSL certifications. Their pricing plans are as below:
- Basic SSL: $17
- EV SSL: $295
- Multi-Domain SSL: $299
- Wildcard SSL: $595
Thawte is closing in on two decades in the industry and is well-known for providing users with EV, OV, DV, SGC, Wildcard, and SAN SSL certificates. Thawte provides 256-bit encryption and charges the following rates:
- SSL 123: $149
- SSL Web Server: $199
- SSL Web Server with EV: $299
The Bottom Line
The cost of SSL is largely dependent on your site, the provider you decide to buy your certification from, and the type of certification you choose. The type of site you run will determine the SSL certificate you should get. The different types of SSL certificates available vary in terms of functions and security levels, and these factors usually dictate the price you will pay. As a result, the type of SSL you choose and the certificate provider you decide to partner with will determine how much you will have to pay for an SSL certificate.