When it comes to creating a website and securing it, prices can vary wildly depending on where you look. SSL certificate cost is no exception. Is it worth paying an arm and a leg for one, or can you afford to go cheap? In this article, we’ll go into why price shouldn’t factor into where you buy your SSL and what you should actually think about.
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Why pay more for the same product?
One of the biggest tricks SSL stores play is implying that the SSL certificates they offer are somehow better or more powerful than those offered elsewhere, particularly in cheaper stores. This simply isn’t true. We know this because all modern SSL certificates on the market today provide the same encryption level: 256 bits. This means it uses a 256-bit encryption key to encrypt and decrypt communications over a connection it secures. This key length makes it impossible to figure out by the world’s most powerful computers, let alone hackers using brute force. If your SSL isn’t giving you this level of protection, it’s likely not an issue with the SSL itself, but with your website’s server settings.
So, when both expensive and cheap SSLs have the same level of protection, why pay more? However, that isn’t to say that you should buy an SSL from just anyone.
The issuing Certificate Authority matters
Certificate Authorities, or CAs, are the organizations in charge of managing SSL certificates on the Internet. They’re the ones who issue certificates and revoke them. When choosing an SSL, not just any CA will do. This is because trust plays a huge role in whether an SSL will work. Each SSL has a signature from the CA when it is issued. When a user tries to load your site on their browser, the browser will check the SSL’s CA signature against a list of trusted CA signatures. If the CA isn’t found, the browser will choose not to trust your CA, and the SSL won’t work. Essentially, having an untrustworthy CA is like not having an SSL at all.
That’s why researching your SSL provider is so important. Beyond checking whether a CA is trustworthy, read the reviews for the store you’re buying from. What kind of support do they offer? What is their returns policy? SSL activation and installation can be a complicated process, so you want to make sure that they will give you any help you need throughout.
SSL certificates really don’t need to break the bank, especially when all modern SSLs are basically created equal. By making sure the issuing CA is trustworthy and the store you’re purchasing from is reputable beforehand, you should be good to go.