Asking about the SSL certificate price you should pay while buying one is a little like asking, “how long is a piece of string?” The exact number will depend on numerous factors. However, we can guide you on what you should be looking for when buying an SSL and whether SSL is something you should pay more for or if you can afford to go cheap.
Let’s dive in!
Cheap vs. expensive SSLs
Let’s start with what you’re really dying to know. The price of SSL can vary dramatically from upwards of a hundred dollars to a small fraction of that. Do you really have to pay the former for a quality product? Or will the cheaper option be just as good?
If we’re judging purely on the merits of the SSL itself, we can confidently say that a cheap SSL works just as well as a more expensive one. In fact, they’re the exact same! This is because all SSL certificates on the market are essentially the same product. They are small digital certificates with an encryption potential of 256 bits, the highest encryption available on publicly sold certificates. This means that data transferred between a client (such as a web browser) and a server (where your website is hosted) is encrypted and decrypted using 256-bit keys. Keys that long are virtually impossible to crack, and currently, the strongest supercomputer would take billions of years. So, yeah. Your data is safe.
But you might have noticed the words “encryption potential.” That’s because this will ultimately come down to your server settings. To protect with 256 bits, you’ll need to ensure your server is set up for that.
So, from the previous few paragraphs, you should be able to deduce that any marketing that claims an SSL has the most powerful encryption; it’s just that — marketing. No SSL is stronger than another inherently. You should be able to get just as good protection from a cheap one as you do an expensive one.
What to look for when buying an SSL
So, how the heck do you pick an SSL, then? A few key factors should help you choose the best vendor for you.
First, just as you likely do with any other online purchase: read reviews. Reputation is so important. Reading reviews to find out people’s experiences with a particular store will help you gauge whether they’re worth investing in.
Then, the most essential thing — look into the Certificate Authorities (CAs) the store is partnered with. CAs are responsible for issuing, revoking, and managing SSLs across the industry. It’s paramount that they have a trustworthy reputation. If not, your SSL will be useless, especially if major browsers don’t trust your particular CA. When visitors try to access your site, it will likely be flagged as “not secure,” even though you have an SSL. So research the CA’s reputation first before buying.
Lastly, check what else the SSL store has to offer. Do they have guides to things like activation and installation? Do they have attentive customer service that replies promptly? SSL certificates can be confusing, so you must have the help you need to hand if you encounter any trouble along the way.
While we may not have answered the exact question of how much you should pay for an SSL, this article should give you some food for thought when it comes to where to buy your SSL. In the end, choosing a store with a good reputation, a reputable CA, and excellent customer service is your best bet for having a smooth SSL journey.
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