Security is important here at Shawna Leigh Designs, so I include a Basic SSL Certificate with all hosting plans, free of charge. I also offer Premium SSL Certificates starting at $45/year (includes installation and setup). I often get asked what's the difference between the free Basic SSL and a Premium SSL, so in this article I will outline the differences.

The Similarities

Both Basic and Premium SSL Certificates provide the same level of encryption. One does not do a better job at encrypting data than the other and both activate https and the padlock within a web browser.

The Differences

Free SSL Certificates

  • Are great for blogs or personal websites that don't transmit sensitive data, such as personally identifiable user information or credit card information.
  • Are Domain Validated (DV)
    • Simplest way to identify ownership of a domain using email or file-based validation
    • Requires minimal authentication of ownership and takes only a few minutes to issue
  • Have a short validity period
    • Usually issued for a duration of 30-90 days, so it has to be renewed more often.
    • Anyone can see how long your certificate is valid for - the longer the better
  • Do not include warranties
  • Do not include Static or Dynamic Site Seals
  • Are not branded (no brand recognition)
  • Are signed by either Let's Encrypt OR cPanel, Inc. (Certificate Authorities)

Premium SSL Certificates

  • Are great for any website that handles personally identifiable user information, credit card transactions, and more.
  • Can be Domain Validated (DV), Organization Validated (OV) or Extended Validated (EV)
    • Each is different in how they validate ownership of your website and/or business
      • DV verifies domain ownership, takes a few minutes, is the most common (lowest pricing)
      • OV verifies your business, takes a few days (average pricing)
      • EV verifies your business, takes a few days, turns browser address bar green (highest pricing)
  • Includes Static and/or Dynamic Site Seals to display on your website
  • Have a longer validity period
    • Usually issued for a duration of 1-2 years, so it has to be renewed less often
    • Shows you'll be sticking around for awhile so it can boost customer confidence
  • Includes Warranties
    • Each SSL Certificate is signed by a Certificate Authority (CA). If anything goes wrong on their end, like a catastrophic failure of their public key infrastructure (PKI), you are covered up to a pre-determined amount.
    • Warranties coverage from $10,000 to $1.75 million, depending on the certificate
  • Includes Familiar Brands like RapidSSL, GeoTrust, and Symantec depending on the certificate
    • Familiar and reputable brands are more trustworthy to consumers
  • Signed by DigitCert, the world's high-assurance digital certificate provider.
Was this answer helpful? 10 Users Found This Useful (5 Votes)