How Much Does an SSL Certificate Cost?

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Once you’ve convinced yourself that you need an SSL certificate, the next thing to consider is how much it will cost you. The pricing of an SSL certificate is about $60 per year on average, but this can vary wildly. To give you an idea, it can range from $5 per year to a whopping $1,000 per year, depending on your site’s security needs.
In this article, we’ll help you understand the reasons behind this variation, and everything else you need to know about SSL certificate pricing.

1

Costs of Different Types of SSL Certificates

An SSL certificate is a digital file that encrypts any data sent by a user to your website’s server. The major factors that affect SSL pricing are the number of domains the SSL certificate will protect and thoroughness of the verification process used to validate the entity that owns the domain. Keeping these parameters in mind, below are the types of SSL certificates available today:

Single Domain SSL Certificate

This SSL certificate protects a single domain and subdomain in its hierarchy. For example, if you manage multiple domains/subdomains such as example.com, blog.example.com, and app.example.com, only one of these can be protected.

This type of certificate can be purchased for as little as $5 per year.

Wildcard SSL Certificate

Wildcard SSL certificates protect a domain and all its first-level subdomains. For instance, you can protect not just example.com, but also blog.example.com, app.example.com, and other subdomains.

This SSL certificate starts from $30 per year.

Multi-Domain SSL Certificate

Multi-domain SSL certificates can protect any of your different domains and subdomains. For example, you can purchase coverage for example.com, blog.example.com, and sample.com — all through the same SSL certificate.

The pricing for this type of SSL certificate starts from as little as $60 per year.

Domain validation (DV)

This is a quick and straightforward validation, in which the only thing verified is your ownership of the domain name. It’s suitable for bloggers and website owners who do not require any personal details from visitors, and is usually issued within minutes.

You can get your hands on a DV certificate for around $70 per year.

Organization validation (OV)

An OV SSL certificate is issued after a certificate authority (CA) has checked your domain ownership as well as basic details about the organization, such as its name and location. An OVL SSL certificate provides a greater level of assurance than domain validation, but less than you’d get with extended validation – making it ideal for business owners who don’t need their visitors to enter sensitive information, such as payment details.

Pricing for an OV certificate typically starts at around $150 per year.

Extended Validation (EV)

EV certificates are issued after checking the physical and legal existence of the organization, in addition to DV and OV. It is the most rigorous level of validation, and hence carries the highest degree of trust and credibility (and cost!).

The cost of an EV certificate begins at $200 per year.

2

Where to Get an SSL Certificate

There are two main ways to obtain an SSL certificate. The first is to pick a website builder, domain registrar, or website host that provides an SSL certificate for you. This method is usually easier for small businesses. Another upshot is that you can usually score a free SSL certificate for at least a year.

The second way is to purchase an SSL certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA) — an entity responsible for issuing SSL certificates. There are many CAs, all offering different feature sets and pricing plans. Here are three to start you off:

Comodo

Comodo SSL website homepage
Comodo SSL website homepage

Comodo is a great option for small businesses. It provides a wide range of SSL certificates, with a starting price of $78 per year for a Domain Validation certificate. Other options include Comodo’s OV certificate ($165 per year) and EV certificate ($204 per year).

Comodo’s notable features include:

  • Compatibility with most web browsers
  • Unlimited server licensing
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Up to $500,000 warranty
  • Industry-standard 256-bit encryption

GeoTrust

GeoTrust SSL website homepage
GeoTrust SSL website homepage

GeoTrust offers a number of SSL certificates for small and medium-sized businesses. These include DV SSL ($149 per year), True BusinessID ($238 per year), and True BusinessID with EV ($344 per year).

Notable features of Geotrust SSL include:

  • Up to $500,000 warranty
  • 99% browser compatibility
  • 256-bit encryptions

Let’s Encrypt

Let’s Encrypt SSL website homepage
Let’s Encrypt SSL website homepage

Let’s Encrypt is an open-source certificate authority, backed by well-known companies such as SiteGround, Automattic, Mozilla, Facebook, SiteGround, Chrome, and more. You can get as many DV SSL certificates as you need for free – the only downside is that the certificates don’t come with any warranty or extra benefits.

Notable features of Let’s Encrypt SSL include:

  • Free, unlimited certificates and renewals
  • Compatibility with all major browsers and devices

SSL Certificate Cost Comparison

Features Comodo GeoTrust Let's Encrypt
Server Licensing Unlimited Per server basis Unlimited
Vulnerability Assessment Yes Yes No
Seal-in-Search Yes Yes No
Malware Scan Yes Yes No
Browser Compatibility Great Great Okay
Warranty Yes Yes No
Yearly Cost $78 $149 $0

Frequently Asked Questions

An SSL certificate makes sure the data sent from a user to your web server is encrypted, enhancing your website’s security. This prevents hackers from stealing your information, and increases visitors’ trust in your brand.

 On top of that, search engines and web browsers consider websites without SSL to be “non-secure.” This can impact your website’s ranking and traffic, and also cause users to ‘bounce back’ to the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) if they feel your site is not safe to access.

A website with an SSL Certificate usually shows a padlock icon on the web browser address bar. Also, the website URL will begin with HTTPS instead of HTTP.
Absolutely! The best web hosts (such as Bluehost, HostGator, and InMotion) include a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate in your hosting plan. For example, when you purchase a hosting plan from Bluehost, you’ll see that a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate is automatically available in your account.
Yes, they do. SSL certificates are valid for up to two years. When your SSL certificate is past its expiration date, most web and mobile browsers will start labeling your website as “not secure.” It goes without saying that this is bad for user experience, so make sure to renew your SSL certificate before it expires!