The 15 Cheapest SSL Certificates: Are They Worth It?

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Lifewire / Design by Amelia Manley

We evaluated more than 80 of the cheapest SSL certificate services available from 15 different certificate authorities (CAs). All prices are based on one year of service, paid annually. Many CAs offer discounts (sometimes very significant ones) for multiyear purchases.

The evaluations are based on:

  • Speed to issue
  • Seal provided
  • Wildcard SLL support
  • Warranty
  • Refund policy

All but one of the CAs list encryption at 128/256-bit and claim 99 percent browser ubiquity.

A note on resellers: Namecheap appears on this list several times. As a reseller of SSL certificates, the company offers cheaper prices than the originators of the certificates.

  • Price: Free
  • Issuance: Immediately
  • Seal: None
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: None
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: Not applicable

Recommendation: Use for Testing Only

The only thing going for CAcert is the price. The company doesn’t indicate what the encryption rate is for its certificates, and in fact, the browser used for testing did not accept its site as using a valid CA.

This one is fine if you’re just testing and don’t want to use a self-signed certificate, but otherwise, avoid.

  • Price: $10 for first year (renews at $12 per year)
  • Issuance: 15 minutes or less
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $10,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: A Cheap Way to Get Comodo

If your company doesn’t do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

  • Price: $25.99 for the first year (renews at $29.99 per year)
  • Issuance: Up to two business days
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $10,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: Good for Multiple Domains on One Certificate

If your company doesn’t do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

  • Price: $24.88 for the first year (renews at $28.88 per year)
  • Issuance: Two business days or fewer
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain and company
  • Warranty: $50,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: Get Your Company Validated Along With the Domain

If your company doesn’t do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

  • Price: $59.00 per year
  • Issuance: Within minutes
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $500,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 30 days

Recommendation: Fine for Low-Volume Sales

RapidSSL offers a single server certificate for a reasonable price. Be aware that RapidSSL also resells GeoTrust certificates for higher-volume sales, but for low-volume sales, this certificate is fine.

  • Price: $59.99 per year
  • Issuance: Within minutes
  • Seal: No
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $10,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: None

Recommendation: Low-Volume Sales With the Network Solutions Brand

Network Solutions will verify your domain with the Network Solutions brand standing behind it—good for low-volume sales.

  • Price: $38.88 for first year (renews at $44.88 per year)
  • Issuance: Two business days
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain and company
  • Warranty: $100,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: A Cheap Way to Get Comodo Company Validation

If your company wants the Comodo brand, needs company validation, and doesn’t do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good choice.

  • Price: $99 per year
  • Issuance: Within minutes
  • Seal: None
  • Validation: Domain and company
  • Warranty: $500,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 30 days

Recommendation: Get the Comodo Brand Without Using a Reseller

Comodo offers a cheaper option with a decent warranty and both domain and company verification.

This certificate is great for a small e-commerce business or a site that sells just one or two services. The warranty is not the best in the industry, but it’s great for the price.

  • Price: $63.99 per year
  • Issuance: Up to 10 minutes
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: No
  • Wildcard: Yes
  • Refund: None

Recommendation: Good Add-On

If you already have a GoDaddy hosting or DNS account, then adding SSL is easy. The company offers only domain validation, so it’s not as good of an assurance provider as others on this list. If you want to keep all your things in one place, however, GoDaddy makes this easy. The company eliminated its warranty at a time when other CAs are increasing them.

  • Price: $52.88 for first year (renews at $59.88 per year)
  • Issuance: Two to five business days
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain and company
  • Warranty: $250,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: A Cheap Way to Get Comodo PremiumSSL

If your company doesn’t do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

  • Price: $238 per year
  • Issuance: Unknown
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain and company
  • Warranty: $1,250,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 30 days

Recommendation: Very Good Warranty

If your company needs a strong warranty, this is the best available for the price.

  • Price: $149 per year
  • Issuance: One to three business days
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $250,000
  • Wildcard: Yes
  • Refund: 30 days

Recommendation: Good For Multisites

If your company has many domains, this might be a good choice.

  • Price: $89 per year
  • Issuance: Within minutes
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $50,000
  • Wildcard: Yes
  • Refund: 30 days

Recommendation: Cheapest Wildcard

This is the cheapest we found that includes Wildcard SSL.

  • Price: $238 per year
  • Issuance: One business day
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain and company
  • Warranty: $1,250,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: None

Recommendation: A Good Choice for Businesses

If your business wants the GeoTrust name and needs business verification as well as domain, this is a good choice.

  • Price: $124.50 per year
  • Issuance: As little as one business day
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $50,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: None

Recommendation: Get the Network Solutions Name

This is one of the more expensive certificates on this list, but it carries with it the trusted Network Solutions brand.

The warranty is OK for a small e-commerce site.

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