The 15 Cheapest SSL Certificates: Are They Worth It?

SSL
gmutlu / Getty Images

We are committed to researching, testing, and recommending the best products. We may receive commissions from purchases made after visiting links within our content. Learn more about our review process.

We evaluated more than 80 of the cheapest SSL certificate services available from 15 different certificate authorities (CAs). All prices are based on one year of service, paid annually. Many CAs offer discounts (sometimes very significant ones) for multiyear purchases.

The evaluations are based on:

  • Speed to issue
  • Seal provided
  • Wildcard SLL support
  • Warranty
  • Refund policy

All but one of the CAs list encryption at 128/256 bit, and all claim 99-percent browser ubiquity.

A note on resellers: Namecheap appears on this list several times. As a reseller of SSL certificates, the company offers cheaper prices than the originators of the certificates.

CACert free certificate

  • Price: Free
  • Issuance: Immediately
  • Seal: None
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: None
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: Not applicable

Recommendation: Use for Testing Only

The only thing going for CACert is the price. The company doesn't indicate what the encryption rate is for its certificates, and in fact, the browser used for testing did not accept its site as using a valid CA.

This one is fine if you're just testing and don't want to use a self-signed certificate, but otherwise, avoid.

Namecheap (Reseller): Comodo Positive SSL

  • Price: $8.88 per year
  • Issuance: Less than 15 minutes
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $10,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: A Cheap Way to Get Comodo

If your company doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

Namecheap (Reseller): Comodo Positive SSL Multi-Domain

  • Price: $29.88 per year
  • Issuance: Less than 15 minutes
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: Unknown
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: Seven days

Recommendation: Good for Multiple Domains on One Certificate

If your company doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

Namecheap (Reseller): Comodo InstantSSL

  • Price: $20.88 per year
  • Issuance: Two business days or fewer
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain and company
  • Warranty: $50,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: Get Your Company Validated Along With the Domain

If your company doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

  • Price: $59.00 per year
  • Issuance: Within minutes
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $10,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: Seven days

Recommendation: Fine for Low-Volume Sales

RapidSSL offers a single server certificate for a reasonable price. Be aware that RapidSSL also resells GeoTrust certificates for higher-volume sales, but for low-volume sales, this certificate is fine.

  • Price: $59.99 per year
  • Issuance: Within minutes
  • Seal: No
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $10,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: None

Recommendation: Low-Volume Sales With the Network Solutions Brand

Network Solutions will verify your domain with the Network Solutions brand standing behind it — good for low-volume sales.

Reseller: Comodo InstantSSL Pro

  • Price: $38.88 per year
  • Issuance: Two business days
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain and company
  • Warranty: $100,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: A Cheap Way to Get Comodo Company Validation

If your company wants the Comodo brand, needs company validation, and doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good choice.

  • Price: $199.50 per year
  • Issuance: Within minutes
  • Seal: None
  • Validation: Domain and company
  • Warranty: $250,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 30 days

Recommendation: Get the Comodo Brand Without Using a Reseller

Comodo offers a cheaper option with a decent warranty and both domain and company verification.

This certificate is great for a small ecommerce business or a site that sells just one or two services. The warranty is not the best in the industry, but it's great for the price.

Protect One Website

  • Price: $59.99 per year
  • Issuance: 10 minutes
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain
  • Warranty: $1,000
  • Wildcard: Yes
  • Refund: None

Recommendation: Good Add-On

If you already have a GoDaddy hosting or DNS account, then adding SSL is easy. The company offers only domain validation, so it's not as good of an assurance provider as others on this list. If you want to keep all your things in one place, however, GoDaddy makes this easy. The company reduced its warranty at a time when other CAs are increasing them.

Reseller: Comodo PremiumSSL

  • Price: $79.00 per year
  • Issuance: Two business days
  • Seal: Yes
  • Validation: Domain and company
  • Warranty: $250,000
  • Wildcard: No
  • Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: A Cheap Way to Get Comodo PremiumSSL

If your company doesn't do a lot of business through the SSL server, this might be a good option.

Thawte SSL Web Server

Price: $199.00 per year
Issuance: Unknown
Seal: Yes
Validation: Domain and company
Warranty: $1,250,000
Wildcard: No
Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: Very good warranty

If your company needs a strong warranty, this is the best available for the price. 

Comodo Multi-Domain SSL

Price: $149.00 per year
Issuance: Two business days
Seal: Yes
Validation: Domain
Warranty: Unknown
Wildcard: Yes
Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: Good for Multisites

If your company has many domains, this might be a good choice. 

Comodo Positive SSL Wildcard

Price: $89.00 per year
Issuance: Less than 15 minutes
Seal: Yes
Validation: Domain
Warranty: $10,000
Wildcard: Yes
Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: Cheapest Wildcard

This is the cheapest we found that includes Wildcard SSL.

GeoTrust True BusinessID

Price: $199.00 per year
Issuance: Two business days
Seal: Yes
Validation: Domain and company
Warranty: $1,250,000
Wildcard: No
Refund: 15 days

Recommendation: A Good Choice for Businesses

If your business wants the GeoTrust name and needs business verification as well as domain, this is a good choice.

Network Solutions Basic

Price: $124.50 per year
Issuance: Two to four business days
Seal: Yes
Validation: Domain
Warranty: $50,000
Wildcard: No
Refund: None

Recommendation: Get the Network Solutions Name

This certificate is the most expensive on this list, but carries with it the trusted Network Solutions brand.

The warranty is OK for a small ecommerce site.