To get straight to it, the top two hosting providers with free SSL certificates are Bluehost and Hostgator. They both offer the certificates for free, and Bluehost is the best, overall, for hosting.
That’s because Bluehost scores well in most categories across multiple plan types, while Hostgator has incredible uptime. Bluehost scores an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 in our research, while Hostgator scores of 4.7 – making them very close competitors.
But firstly, an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encrypts information being passed through your website. It keeps your visitor’s private information (like their payment details) safe and secure. SSL certificates vary in security level and price, ranging anywhere from $19.99 to $269.99 per year.
But you don’t always have to pay for your SSL certificate. Because they’re so important, most hosting providers throw them into their plans – free of charge!
10 Best Free SSL Hosting Providers
- Bluehost – Best overall hosting provider.
- HostGator – Best for dedicated hosting.
- InMotion – Best for money back guarantee.
- A2 Hosting – Best for cloud hosting.
- GreenGeeks – Best for green hosting.
- Hostinger – Best for discounted prices.
- SiteGround – Best for reliability.
- iPage – Best for cheap plans, but at the expense of speed.
- DreamHost – Best for uptime.
- Hostwinds – Best tailor-made VPS & dedicated plans.
Compare the 10 Best Free SSL Hosting Providers
See how the top hosting platforms perform against each other in important areas. You can use the drop-down menus at the top of the chart to choose which hosts you’d like to see.
Our overall ratings are based on the average score of all ratings combined.
Our scores give you an at-a-glance overview of which service offers you the best features, value, and more.
This article will shine a light on each of these providers, give you details on their plans and prices and, of course, dish out some juicy tips on the SSL security they’ve got on offer. By the end of this article, you won’t have a shadow of doubt about which one is best for your hosting and security needs.
It’s a big, wide world, and there’s danger at every turn – so there’s no time to waste! Let’s find the perfect free SSL hosting provider to keep your site secure!
Best Overall Hosting Provider
Bluehost Pros and Cons
Bluehost powers over 2 million websites worldwide, and provides the best all-around service. It particularly shines in its WordPress hosting. In fact, it’s the number one recommended hosting provider by WordPress itself!
But WordPress plan or not, Bluehost stands out for its excellent customer support, uptime, and value for money.
Bluehost’s Help and Support
Bluehost stood out from the crowd in our customer service research, exceeding our expectations by 9% – more than any other provider we tested.
Bluehost’s responsive live chat and informative knowledge base give it a serious edge over competitors, and make it a great choice for help and support.
Bluehost Security Features
One of the most important aspects of any hosting type is security, so it’s no surprise Bluehost steps up big time in this area, too. One of the ways it does this is by providing a free SSL certificate across all its hosting plans.
Your free SSL certificate is powered by Let’s Encrypt, an automated certificate authority. Let’s Encrypt should install and activate your certificate on your behalf, so you don’t need to sweat over any techy stuff. More on this later!
For WordPress sites, you simply log into your control panel and click “get started” under WordPress Free SSL, then click “install” to get going. You can find detailed instructions in Bluehost’s Help Center.
New customers can get shared hosting from just $2.95/month with Bluehost (normally $7.99)
So what do you get with the $2.95/month Basic plan?
- Free website domain & SSL certificate (first year)
- Unmetered bandwidth & 50GB of storage
- Migrate up to 5 websites & 20 emails for $149.99
- 10GB storage & unmetered bandwidth
- 24/7 support via phone & live chat
All of Bluehost’s hosting plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so, if you’re not completely happy with the service you receive, you’ll get a full refund.
For small and growing businesses, we’d recommend the Plus or Choice Plus WordPress plans, both starting at just $5.45/month for new customers. These plans include unmetered storage, a free domain, and automatic WordPress updates alongside your free SSL security.
- Web Hosting Services: What is Web Hosting?
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More on Bluehost
Best for Dedicated Hosting
HostGator Pros and Cons
HostGator Security Features
It offers free SSL certificates on all its hosting plans, so no matter which type of hosting you choose, you’ll still benefit. The SSL certificate automatically renews, so your site should never be without security.
Whether you choose the cheapest shared hosting, or the most advanced dedicated hosting, you’ll get the same level of SSL security included in your plan. This offers unlimited protection for domains and subdomains, and is recognized by all major browsers.
If you want extra features, or more powerful security, then you do have the option of purchasing an advanced SSL certificate. You can upgrade to any of these:
- Positive SSL for $19.99 per year
- Multi-Domain SSL for $79.99 per year
- Extended Validation (EV) SSL for $269.99 per year
While these have advanced features – such as the TrustLogo Site Seal or green address bar – for most sites, the free SSL certificate should be more than fine.
HostGator is the best hosting provider for dedicated hosting. In addition to the free SSL certificate, you get 8GB of RAM, unmetered bandwidth, 1TB of HDD storage, full root access, and more. This is just on the cheapest $119 per month Value Server plan. While it might not be the cheapest plan around, you really do get what you pay for!
Best for Money Back Guarantee
InMotion Pros and Cons
InMotion outshone its competitors in our research when it comes to WordPress hosting because it offers a free SSL on every WordPress plan it offers. InMotion is also the most consistently secure across all plans.
InMotion Security Features
What really put the icing on InMotion’s cake was the fact it offers free SSL certificates on almost all of its hosting plans. The odd one out is unmanaged cloud VPS hosting, which is really aimed at IT teams and coders.
For all other plans, you simply have to go to your settings and turn on your SSL certificate. Hey, presto – your site is encrypted!
There are slightly different rules for SSL security depending on which plan you choose. On the shared plan, for example, you simply get a private SSL included for free. On the managed VPS plan, you get something a bit fancier. What’s more is that you can install AutoSSL for free in your control panel.
AutoSSL makes it easy to manage your site’s security by automatically renewing your free SSL certificate. It also scans all the websites on your server, and installs SSL certificates for any unprotected active domains.
That’s pretty handy!
Along with this free SSL, InMotion’s VPS plans also include up to 360GB of storage, free backups, and up to 2TB of bandwidth. Prices range from $24.99 to $59.99 per month across its four VPS plans.
Best for Cloud Hosting
A2 Hosting Pros and Cons
A2 Hosting has partnered with Let’s Encrypt to bring its users free, automated SSL certificates. This makes your life easier because it means you don’t have to do the work of installing or configuring your certificate yourself.
And, if you do get a bit stuck managing your SSL security, you’ll be in good hands – A2 Hosting scores impressively in our research for its customer service. So if you ever run into problems, you can count on a speedy and helpful response.
A2 Hosting Security Features
If you want to add extra features, you can buy one of the three basic solutions that A2 Hosting’s SSL certificates offer in addition to its free Let’s Encrypt certificate. You can choose from:
- Rapid SSL from $49.99 per year – basic protection
- Quick SSL Premium from $79.99 per year – features for business sites
- True Business SSL from $179.00 per year – single certificate protects unlimited subdomains
You buy these through A2 Hosting to keep things simple and secure, but this is totally optional. You can stick with the free certificate included in your plan – your choice will depend on your specific security needs.
A2 Hosting Pricing
A2 Hosting promises speed and reliability, even on its most basic shared hosting plan. From $6.99 per month you get: unlimited storage, free site transfer, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
A2 Hosting Gallery
- Read our full A2 Hosting Review for full details
Best for Extra Features
GreenGeeks Pros and Cons
GreenGreeks keeps both your website and the environment secure, offering a generous 300% green web hosting matching guarantee on all its plans, apart from its VPS plans.
Standout Feature: Green Energy Matching
Green energy matching means your website will run on renewable energy, and GreenGeeks will match 3x that usage. GreenGeeks is, without doubt, the host that Mother Earth loves most.
GreenGeeks Security Features
In terms of security, GreenGeeks offers a free SSL certificate on all its shared, VPS, and WordPress plans (which includes WooCommerce).
More than just a giant, green web hosting machine, GreenGeeks also boasts an impressive 99.98% server uptime, which helps it score 3.5/5 overall in our hosting research.
GreenGeeks’ cheapest shared plan is the Lite plan, starting at just $4.95/month, and renewing at $10.95/month. For this price, you’ll get unmetered bandwidth, unlimited bandwidth, 50GB of storage, and free nightly backups – not to mention a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best for Discounted Prices
Hostinger Pros and Cons
Hostinger offers affordable shared and VPS hosting prices, but it doesn’t offer dedicated hosting plans. Although Hostinger’s uptime and customer support aren’t as impressive as Bluehost’s or HostGator’s, and renewal prices make it more expensive than Bluehost and Hostgator in the long run – you’ll still get a good amount of features at a big discount.
Hostinger Security Features
Hostinger offers a free SSL certificate on all its shared, cloud, and WordPress plans, as well as a generous range of features, too. On its most basic WordPress hosting plan ($4.99/month), you get 100 email accounts, access to WooCommerce, a free domain name, and 100GB of bandwidth.
If you’re looking for a great deal on your hosting, then Hostinger shouldn’t be discounted. It offers shared hosting from $2.99/month (which becomes $6.99/month when you renew after one year), and you get unmetered traffic and free, weekly website backups.
Best for Reliability
SiteGround Pros and Cons
You can count on SiteGround because it is the most reliable hosting provider in our research. It’s not the cheapest host on this list, but it offers automated daily backups for free, and excellent knowledge base pages (in addition to phone and live chat support).
SiteGround Security Features
SiteGround provides Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for free with all of its plans, and also offers Premium Wildcard and Premium SSL certificates as optional paid extras. Your free certificate will be automatically applied to your domains and automatically renewed – saving you a whole lot of time.
The Premium Wildcard certificate is designed for medium-sized websites, comes with free installation, and costs $90 per year through SiteGround. If you’re a large business site, you might want the Premium SSL, which comes with extended validation, and costs $499 per year.
As long as you have a SiteGround account, you’re all set to issue as many free Let’s Encrypt certificates as you need, no matter which plan you’re on!
SiteGround is officially recommended by WordPress due to its one-click installation and managed updates available for WordPress users. It has three WordPress specific plans, ranging in price from $2.99 to $7.49 per month, and all come with free SSL, daily backups, and a free WordPress migrator.
SiteGround’s shared plans also cost $2.99 to $7.49 per month, and include WordPress-specific features, free professional email, and, of course, free SSL! Just remember that, after the year is over, the prices are renewed at between $14.99 to $39.99 per month.
Best for Cheap Prices, but at the Expense of Speed
iPage Pros and Cons
iPage only offers one “one-size-fits-all” shared hosting plan, starting at $2.99/month. Hostinger can offer you similar discounts with stronger features but, if you like the convenience of iPage’s all-in-one shared plan, as opposed to different tiers of shared plans with increasing prices and features, then this provider is worth considering.
iPage Security Features
This shared hosting plan includes a free SSL certificate. This is fairly basic, and won’t protect multiple subdomains, like other providers, but it will still do the job. You also have three premium SSL certificates to choose from if you want a higher level of security.
All iPage hosting plans include this basic free SSL certificate, so it’s up to you if you want to pay extra for those advanced features. Either way, you can sleep soundly knowing your site is secure.
iPage may only offer one shared plan, but the price depends on how long you’re willing to sign up for in advance. For example, the introductory price is $2.99 per month for 12 months, and then the renewal is $9.99 per month.
Best for Uptime
DreamHost Pros and Cons
DreamHost is a feature packed provider that includes free SSL certificates in its hefty toolbox. It’s also officially recommended by WordPress, so it has an extra interest for any WordPress users out there.
DreamHost Security Features
All of DreamHost’s hosting plans come with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, and there are two types of SSL you can add to your domain – the free, Let’s Encrypt SSL, or the $15 per year Sectigo verified SSL.
The main difference between them is that the paid option displays a certificate seal of trust, making it as obvious as possible to visitors that your website is safe. Because of this, the paid SSL is mostly recommended for online stores.
DreamHost doesn’t support WildCard SSL like some other providers do, so you need to install separate SSL certificates for each of your domains and subdomains for them to be protected.
So what else does DreamHost offer? For starters, it provides all the main hosting types:
- Shared hosting
- Shared WordPress
- Managed WordPress
For anyone just starting out, its shared hosting plans are the cheapest, starting at $2.95 per month. This plan gives you a free SSL certificate, as well as unlimited traffic, a free domain, and WordPress pre-installed.
If you use WordPress, it’s worth looking at the $16.95 per month DreamPress plan – this gives you daily backups and 24/7 WordPress support, and a free SSL certificate!
Best Tailor Made VPS & Dedicated Plans
Hostwinds Pros and Cons
Hostwinds doesn’t impress us as much as the other providers on this list because it’s lacking in features – especially in help and support options. It only has a knowledge base, live chat, and email. Even so, it does have a wide range of hosting plans and a free SSL certificate.
Hostwinds Security Features
Hostwinds offers free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates on its shared and dedicated plan – but, on their VPS hosting plan, it costs $75 a year. It also doesn’t have WordPress hosting.
So, Hostwinds is only good value for those looking for shared or dedicated plans that have a free SSL. We are impressed that by the shared plan as you get 24/7 monitoring with your free SSL, daily automatic backups, and unlimited subdomains – ideal for those who aren’t considering growing their website.
Hostwinds hosting plans are designed for small websites, and start with a $5.24 per month Basic plan (renews at $6.99 per month). The Advanced plan is the next level up, starting at $6.99 per month. The Ultimate plan is the highest price plan for shared hosting, starting at $8.24 per month (renews at $10.99 per month).
These three plans give you unlimited storage and bandwidth per month. It also comes with 99.99% uptime guarantee, daily automatic backups, and cPanel and Softaculous.
Hostwinds have a huge range of dedicated hosting plans, ranging from $122 and $223 per month.
We’ve mentioned Let’s Encrypt a number of times throughout this review, so let’s take a quick dive into what makes this initiative tick.
What Is Let’s Encrypt?
Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated certificate authority with the aim of making the web a secure place. That’s why it gives people free SSL certificates to encrypt their sites with, and in a user-friendly way.
You can get your SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt yourself, so you don’t have to rely on your hosting provider.
There are several types of SSL, but the three main ones are:
- Domain Validation (DV) – standard level of security
- Organization Validation (OV) – intermediate level of security
- Extended Validation (EV) – advanced level of security
Let’s Encrypt only provides you with DV certificates. These are solid, secure, and basic – but not in a bad way! They will protect your site, and encrypt any data being processed.
However, if you need advanced security, then Let’s Encrypt is not the best option for you.
Is Let’s Encrypt Right for Me?
If you’re running an online store, or are processing very sensitive information, then you will need a private SSL, which Let’s Encrypt cannot provide you with.
As you’ve seen, you can usually buy these advanced SSL certificates straight from your hosting provider, making life simpler!
Let’s Encrypt gives you the standard level of security your site needs. Many hosting providers offer a free Let’s Encrypt SSL as part of their hosting plans, so you don’t need to worry about sourcing it yourself.
- Find out Why Your Site Needs HTTPS in our helpful article
This article has taken you through the very best providers offering free SSL certificates, and shone a light into the dark corners of web security.
If you can’t decide on a single provider – if you value both support and uptime equally – then Bluehost is the most well-rounded host available. We recommend Bluehost as the best free SSL host for most websites.
Don’t leave your website out in the cold, unprotected and alone – choose one of these hosting providers, and give your site the warm glow of a fresh SSL certificate today!
There are unreliable and unofficial SSL certificate providers out there, which you shouldn’t trust to give you a secure SSL. However, as long as you choose an established and reliable provider – like Let’s Encrypt, Cloudflare, or any of the hosting providers from our list – then a free SSL can be trusted to keep your site safe.
A Domain Validation (DV) certificate is the most basic type of SSL, and it’s what you get for free. This is fine for most websites, but is not recommended for business or ecommerce sites. For those you’ll need an Organization Validation (OV), or for even more advanced security, an Extended Validation (EV) certificate.
This will depend on the provider you choose. Most SSL certificates are charged yearly, but others like SiteGround renew every three months. Automatic renewal is a great option to make sure your site always stays protected, so you don’t have to worry about doing it manually.
Most hosting providers will install your free SSL certificate for you. For example, Bluehost will install and activate your SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt, with no work necessary on your part, while every HostGator site has SSL enabled by default. If you upgrade to a more advanced SSL certificate, installation is often included in the price.
You’ll be lacking an important trust signal for your visitors, which means you’ll lose visitors (and sales, if you’re an ecommerce store). You’ll be untrustworthy in Google’s eyes, too, which means a decline in rankings and traffic. Worse still, your visitors will be at a higher risk of having their data stolen if your site has no SSL.