A lot has changed on the Internet since I got my start in the late 90’s.
Back then, it cost upwards of $100/year for a domain registration and the “cheapest” you would find quality web hosting would be around $25/month.
To add an SSL certificate (https support) would be even more as you had to first have a dedicated IP address and then purchase a valid certificate.
Up until recently this has been a major upsell for many web hosting companies. Even since I started NameHero in 2015, our biggest upsell of all time was our dedicated SSL certificate for $29.95/year.
Why is SSL so important?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers.
In previous years websites would install a SSL certificate if they processed user’s personal information including credit cards to purchase products. It’s always been discouraged doing business with a website that doesn’t have one.
In recent years, Google has placed a priority on SSL certificates requiring that websites have them. Websites that don’t will actually rank lower in their search results and will display as non-sure in the Chrome browser.
Why we decided to make SSL free
Last year I was blown away by the launch of the Let’s Encrypt project.
Launched on April 12, 2016, Let’s Encrypt provides free X.509 certificates for Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption via an automated process designed to eliminate the current complex process of manual creation, validation, signing, installation, and renewal of certificates for secure websites.
Automated and free – two of my favorite words!
While from a business standpoint it hurt losing all the revenue we were making from SSL certificates, the bigger picture of creating a safer web hosting infrastructure, made me feel confident in getting it integrated with our servers.
Therefore, last summer we worked our butts off creating an automatic integration with Let’s Encrypt for all our customers, regardless their hosting package. Eventually, we worked with cPanel where they helped us out, offering it automatically now on account setup.
Not all web hosting companies feel the same
While a lot of web hosting companies see the “bigger picture” many are still leveraging the SSL upsell. Blue Host recently announced they would be including it, but Host Gator still only offers it with their business package [Both owned by EIG]. Here’s a live chat I had with them today:
Larger companies, especially publicly traded ones, will take a big revenue hit from this. Somewhere between 80 – 90% of all new basic hosting customers that joined Name Hero ordered one!
SSL is 100% free and automatic at Name Hero
I’m proud that we were one of the first web hosts to fully integrate Let’s Encrypt 100% free in all of our hosting packages. Regardless which one you decide to go with, you can feel confident all your domains / sub domains / and even Reseller customers will have automatic SSL.
Since it’s automated, all our server needs to generate the certificate is for you to change over your name servers and allow for propagation. The cron-job runs nightly to check and make sure the expiring certificates are also automatically renewed.
Regardless your website, we’ve got you covered, all starting at $3.47 per month!
How to get a free SSL certificate
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.