A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is often needed if you want your business Web site to be successful.A SSL certificate provides protection for both you and your customers. It prevents hackers and identity thieves from stealing sensitive personal payment information by encrypting it so that only approved users can have access to it. It is a way for you to protect your business information – and a way for your customers to feel confident engaging in transactions with your ecommerce website over the Internet.
However, most SSL certificates cost money. They require a fee. A third party certifying organizations vouches for you, providing encryption services and independently verifying your identity. Because of this, you can be trusted that you are who you claim to be, and that transactions really are secure. It is important to realize that the third party must be trusted in order for the SSL certificate to be effective. In order to get a certain level of security and recognition, it becomes necessary to pay for an SSL certificate in many cases. There are, though, some free SSL certificates.
Free SSL certificates
There are ways to get free SSL certificates. If you search for free SSL certificates online, you are most likely to come across free trials. You can usually get a free SSL certificate for a period of 30 to 60 days in order to test it out and see how you like it. Of course, once your free trial period is up, you will have to start paying for the use of the SSL certificate again. But there are other ways to access free SSL certificates:
1. Shared certificates from your Web host. Most ecommerce Web hosts have their own SSL certificates. These may be shared SSL certificates or even wildcard SSL certificates. In either case, the Web host may decide to let you use its SSL certificate free of charge. Or, more likely, the price will be wrapped up into your monthly hosting charges. In any case, the drawback to this type of free SSL certificate is that if something happens and you migrate your business website or the host goes down, you lose your SSL certificate.
2. Communities that issue SSL certificates. There are a number of communities that issue free SSL certificates. If you join the community, you can receive SSL certificates free of charge. The main drawback to this setup is that the community may not be widely recognized as a trusted provider of SSL certificates. If an especially savvy online shopper checks to see who is issuing the SSL certificate, and is unimpressed, you might not close the sale. Many of these communities also solicit donations to keep things going, since there are expenses associated with providing secure sockets layer (SSL) certificates.
Using free SSL certificates
You have probably heard the old saying “you get what you pay for.” Many ecommerce website operators regret using only a free SSL certificate at some point. The security is not always as good as you would like it to be. Rarely will you find a free SSL certificate that offers 128 bit or higher protection. Instead, you are far more likely to get 56 bit protection. Additionally, few providers of free SSL certificates offer the kind of support and guarantees that you will find with major providers of paid SSL certificates. If you want true independence, you might have to buy an SSL certificate from a trusted and well-known source. However, it might be necessary to start out with a free SSL certificate.
Many online business owners start with free SSL certificates (especially if they need to cover more than one domain name due to the presence of subdomains). They go ahead and install free SSL certificates to tide them over until they make enough money in sales to replace the free SSL certificate with a better recognized (and sometimes more secure) company. Some business owners try two or three free trials from respected companies while they decide which to use – and they get a few months of free secure sockets layer certificates before they are forced to buy an SSL certificate.
It is important to carefully consider your needs before deciding on SSL certificates. You need to have a good idea of what you need, and what your company will work best with. Like with free web hosting, remember that sometimes – even though it costs much less – free is not the answer. Sometimes free can cause more problems, since you might run into problems that become worse.