The developments since 2018 have dealt the death-knell for pretty much all paid SSL certificates. First the big news towards the end of 2018 that Google would be giving some (small) weightage to HTTPS websites in their search rankings. The second piece of news was from mid-2020, when Google and Apple decided to limit the validity of security certificates to one year before they started showing browser warnings.
The combined impact of these two moves means that it’s useless to pay for SSL anymore. There was even a time when a paid SSL cert would give you a “green” address bar to inspire more trust in your users. But now even that distinction doesn’t exist anymore. So companies who used to make obscene profits by selling SSL certs are sure to lose massive amounts of revenue.
NameHero free SSL certs have been a thing right from the time that the Let’s Encrypt project began to allow cPanel integrations. They did this way before it was necessary and before other big brands followed.
Paid SSL Certs Don’t Make Your Site “Special” Anymore
One of the selling points of an extended validation certificate, was that browsers would display your site differently and differentiate it with a “green address bar”. This was supposed to give visitors additional trust in your website, and make you appear more legit. However, browsers have since stopped making that distinction. For example, here’s a screenshot of the address bars of my site WP-Tweaks.com side-by-side with PayPal, which presumably has the strongest possible SSL certificate:
This is on Firefox. Note that you can see no difference in the lock screens of the two sites. Visitors are thus shown that PayPal is not any more secure than my own personal site. The only difference is that PayPal has a blue shield icon, which is actually telling users that Firefox is blocking trackers on PayPal, but that my site doesn’t have any such issues!
So in a way, Firefox is telling users that PayPal is slightly less trustworthy than mine :). With browsers jettisoning the differences in appearance between SSL certs, there’s no real reason for people to prefer paid and expensive SSLs.
The Security Between Free and Paid is the Same
Widespread and open-source encryption tools have democratized security. Now the same levels of encryption are available to the most secure systems like banking, as well as everyday website owners like me. From a security point of view, there is no distinction between a free SSL cert from NameHero and an expensive extended validation certificate. The math of encryption behaves the same, regardless.
Don’t Listen to Fearmongers
Paid SSL certs are expensive. So much so, that the renewal cost can easily exceed even the cost of your web hosting itself! As a result, there’s plenty of incentive for web hosts to upsell you on a more expensive extended validation certificate. Don’t listen to these warnings! A free SSL certificate like the one offered by NameHero via Let’s Encrypt is every bit as secure as the others. So stand your ground, hold out your hand and say “no”! In this day and age, no one should ever have to pay for SSL anymore.
And like with other things, NameHero will always ensure that you get the best value for your money. Whether it’s the amazing security features like Imunify360, or the useful offsite backups, we will provide you with the best-in-class features that other hosts either don’t offer, or for which they charge you extra.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!