1. Technology

The Cheapest SSL Certificates

And Whether You Should Use Them

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I evaluated over 80 different SSL certificate services from 15 different certificate authorities (CA). These are the cheapest certificates you can get and my estimation as to whether they are worth the price or not.

All prices are based on their prices for 1 year of service, paid annually. Many CAs will offer discounts (sometimes very significant ones) for multi-year purchases. I evaluated all the certificates on the following criteria:

  • Speed to issue
  • Provide a seal
  • Wildcard SLL support
  • Warranty
  • Refund policy

All but 1 of the CAs list encryption at 128/256 bit, and all claim 99% browser ubiquity.

This article was last updated May 7, 2014. With this update there are no longer any CAs that offer extended validation on the list. So I have posted a new list of the 10 Cheapest EV SSL Certificates.

1. CACert free certificate

CACert
Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Price: Free
Issuance: Immediately
Seal: none
Validation: domain
Warranty: none
Wildcard: no
Refund: not applicable

My Recommendation - Use for Testing Only

The only thing going for CACert is the price. They don't indicate what the encryption rate is for their certificates, and in fact their secure site was not accepted by my browser as using a valid CA. If you are going to do testing and don't want to use a self-signed certificate, they are okay, but otherwise, avoid.

2. StartSSL

StartCom
Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Price: Free
Issuance: less than 10 minutes
Seal: yes
Validation: domain
Warranty: $10,000
Wildcard: no
Refund: not applicable

My Recommendation - Limited Use

This is a fine certificate for the price, but I can't recommend it for anything but testing or some privacy protection. They don't do any verification beyond email address and the domain name, so they aren't good for ecommerce. If you plan to sell something on your site, you should use a paid service.

3. Reseller: Comodo Positive SSL

Namecheap
Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Price: $9.00 per year
Issuance: less than 15 minutes
Seal: yes
Validation: domain
Warranty: $10,000
Wildcard: no
Refund: 15 days

My Recommendation - A Cheap Way to Get Comodo

Namecheap is a reseller of SSL certificates. As such, you get a much cheaper price than from the originator of the certificates, but some people don't like purchasing through a reseller. If your company doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

4. Reseller: GeoTrust RapidSSL

Namecheap
Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Price: $10.95 per year
Issuance: less than 15 minutes
Seal: yes
Validation: domain
Warranty: $10,000
Wildcard: no
Refund: 15 days

My Recommendation - A Cheap Way to Get RapidSSL

Namecheap is a reseller of SSL certificates. As such, you get a much cheaper price than from the originator of the certificates, but some people don't like purchasing through a reseller. If your company doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

5. Reseller: Comodo Positive SSL Multi-Domain

Namecheap
Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Price: $29.88 per year
Issuance: less than 15 minutes
Seal: yes
Validation: domain
Warranty: unknown
Wildcard: no
Refund: 7 days

My Recommendation - Good for Multiple Domains on One Certificate

Namecheap is a reseller of SSL certificates. As such, you get a much cheaper price than from the originator of the certificates, but some people don't like purchasing through a reseller. If your company has a lot of domains, but doesn't do a lot of business through an SSL server, this might be a good option.

6. Reseller: Comodo InstantSSL

Namecheap
Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Price: $39.00 per year
Issuance: 2 business days or less
Seal: yes
Validation: domain and company
Warranty: $50,000
Wildcard: no
Refund: 15 days

My Recommendation - Get Your Company Validated Along with the Domain

Namecheap is a reseller of SSL certificates. As such, you get a much cheaper price than from the originator of the certificates, but some people don't like purchasing through a reseller. If your company wants the authority of having the company validated and doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

7. Reseller: Thawte SSL123

Namecheap
Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Price: $39.00 per year
Issuance: 2 business days or less
Seal: yes
Validation: domain
Warranty: $500,000
Wildcard: no
Refund: 7 days

My Recommendation - Decent Warranty for the Price

Namecheap is a reseller of SSL certificates. As such, you get a much cheaper price than from the originator of the certificates, but some people don't like purchasing through a reseller. If your company needs a higher amount of protection through the warranty and doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

8. RapidSSL

RapidSSL
Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Price: $49.00 per year
Issuance: within minutes
Seal: yes
Validation: domain
Warranty: $10,000
Wildcard: no
Refund: 7 days

My Recommendation - Fine for Low Volume Sales

RapidSSL offers a single server certificate for a reasonable price. Be aware that RapidSSL also resell GeoTrust certificates for higher volume sales. But for low volume sales this certificate is fine.

9. Xpress

Network Solutions
Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Price: $49.99 per year
Issuance: within minutes
Seal: no
Validation: domain
Warranty: $10,000
Wildcard: no
Refund: none

My Recommendation - Low Volume Sales with the Network Solutions Brand

Network Solutions added a new product to their line up that is good for low-volume sales. They will verify your domain with the Network Solutions brand standing behind it.

10. Reseller: GeoTrust QuickSSL Premium

Namecheap
Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Price: $56.88
Issuance: less than 15 minutes
Seal: yes
Validation: domain
Warranty: $500,000
Wildcard: no
Refund: 7 days

My Recommendation - A Cheap Way to Get GeoTrust with a High Warranty

Namecheap is a reseller of SSL certificates. As such, you get a much cheaper price than from the originator of the certificates, but some people don't like purchasing through a reseller. If your company needs a higher warranty, wants the GeoTrust name, and doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option. 

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