10+ Ways To Get Free SSL Certificate : HTTPS Secure Your Blog Today

The more Google (and fellow bloggers) are pushing you to move to HTTPS, the more SSL market is blooming. The first thing that come to your mind is that why not a free SSL certificate. However I believe that free products are not less secure, they have their other limitations.

Almost all free SSL certificate products I have researched or listed below have at least one major drawback (described with each product). So, here we go.

We will discuss:

Totally free SSL certificates For everyone

  • LetsEncrypt
    • ZeroSSL
    • SSL For Free
    • certbot
  • StartCom’s StartSSL (read warning)
  • WoSign (read warning)
  • FreeSSL by Symantec (Coming Soon)
  • AlphaSSL by GlobalSign (working)

Free SSL certificates with condition

Free SSL with their free CDN service

  • Amazon’s AWS Certificate Manager
  • Cloudflare

Free with domain name registration

  • Gandi
  • EuroDNS
  • NameCheap

Free for startups or open source projects

  • Godaddy
  • FreeSSL.com
  • GlobalSign

Free Trials of Popular SSL products

  • Comodo InstantSSL Free Trial
  • Geotrust RapidSSL Free Trial
  • Geotrust QuickSSL Free Trial
  • Symantec Secure Site Free Trial

A few very cheap options

  • Comodo InstantSSL ($4.99)
  • Geotrust RapidSSL ($6.66)

Totally free SSL certificates For everyone

Let’s Encrypt

Key features:
Certificate Authority : Let’s Encrypt/Various.
Cost : Free (see limits page).
Validity : 90 days.
Free unlimited renewals (see limits page).
Supports automatic renewals.
Supports multiple domains in single certificate.
Very good browser compatibility.

Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority (CA). It is free because it is a nonprofit project supported by technology giants like facebook, Mozilla, Google Chrome, Cisco and several others. Let’s Encrypt is getting popularity very fast in the recent months with rise in demand of SSL security among webmasters. If your webhost features free SSL certificates, there are good chances that they have integrated with Let’s Encrypt.

Customers of compatible webhosts can quickly generate+install SSL certificates to any of their websites from within their cPanel in a few clicks. Other WordPress users can generate a certificate from within their WP dashboard using a plugin WP Encrypt. Which they can then install from their cPanel.

WP Encrypt plugin generates the certificate for you, without any effort. It also stores all the generated files in your server. From there you will need to retrieve these files (.pem) and install them from your cPanel. There is a good guide for here. If your cPanel does not features the TLS/SSL option, you will have to ask your hosting support to install it manually.

Note: Technically speaking, the below providers are not Certificate Authorities themselves. They integrate with Let’s Encrypt and make it easier for you to get a certificate from let’s Encrypt. So all features of Let’s Encrypt apply.

StartCom‘s StartSSL (read warning)

Key features:
Certificate Authority : StartCom Ltd.
Cost : Free.
Validity : 3 Years.
Restriction : For personal (non commercial) use.
Renewal process is questionable.
Certificate revocation is not free.
Supports 10 domains in single certificate.
Browser compatibility is questionable. (read warning)

StartCom is a Certificate Authority based in Israel. StartCom ‘s Free StartSSL certificates used to be cool before letsencrypt. They issue a multidomain Class 1 certificate which is valid for 3 years within minutes. However the free SSL is restricted for personal or non profit use only. For commercial use you have to get a class 2 or above which is not free. But there has been no report of any action against this policy. Here is a guide for getting your StartSSL certificate for free.

WoSign (read warning)

Key features:
Certificate Authority : WoSign CA Ltd.
Cost : Free.
Validity : 1/2/3 Years.
Renewal process is questionable.
Supports 100 domains in single certificate.
Browser compatibility is questionable. (read warning)

Chinese company Wosign has also been issuing free SSL certificates for years. It has recently made its website friendly for english users too. They issue multidomain SSL certificates valid for upto 3 years within 15 minutes. Here is a tutorial for downloading and installing your free certificate.

Warning: It has emerged that StartSSL is acquired by WoSign in 2015 and the deal has been intentionally concealed. Wosign has itself involved in violations of guidelines of major browsers in past. So, as on today SSL certificates issued by StartCom and Wosign have recently been distrusted by Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari browsers. The decision has been taken after repeated violations of baseline requirements by StartCom and Wosign .

The top browser companies have announced staged removal of CA trust for these companies. Which means that they will stop trusting all SSL certificates issued by these 2 CAs in staged manner, starting with distrusting all the certificates issued after 21st of Oct, 2016, giving their customers an opportunity to only to move to other CAs in the period of transition.

It is highly unlikely that a negotiation will be arrived. Hence it is not recommended to get an SSL certificate from these 2 CAs either paid or free.

FreeSSL by Symantec (Coming Soon)

Symantec has in March 2016 announced a Free SSL certificate for everyone under their Encryption Everywhere program. . However they have partnered with a few web hosting companies like name.com for their free SSL product. Their official portal FreeSSL.com is since then showing no progress. There is a coming soon tag on that page and an option to join the waiting list.

Note: For startups and open source projects they do have a free SSL product which is covered later in this article.

AlphaSSL by GlobalSign

Key features:
Certificate Authority : GlobalSign
Cost : Free.
Validity : 1 Year.
Renewal questionable.
Very good browser compatibility.

Globalsign is another trusted CA based in Belgium. GlobalSSL’s AlphaSSL was available for free on their website but later the free offer was officially removed from their website. But AlphaSSL is still provided for free with EuroDNS domain name registrar (described later in this article). And this forum talks about availability of free certificate through a script a user has created. I have not tested it myself, but even as on today the script seems to be working.

Free SSL certificates with condition

Free SSL with their free CDN service

Amazon’s AWS Certificate Manager

Key features:
Certificate Authority : Amazon.
Cost : Free upto 100 certificates.
Validity : 13 months.
Free unlimited and automated renewals.
Supports 10 domains in single certificate.
Supports wildcard domains.
Very good browser compatibility.

This option is reserved to Amazon Web Services (AWS) users. AWS is a suite of cloud services from Amazon. And one of the latest addition to their services is AWS Certificate Manager. You can create and deploy SSL certificates for use with AWS services such as Elastic Load Balancers or Amazon CloudFront distributions. Not only the certificates are issued for year long, they are also automatically renewed by AWS Certificate Manager. Only restrictions are that they are meant for inhouse use only.

However, it is easy to integrate your WordPress blog with Amazon Cloudfront using one of the several free caching plugins. Cloudfront is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service by Amazon. It is not free completely but you can get upto 50GB of storage and 2 Million request free for first year. After the first year you will only pay for the actual usage. Here is a tutorial on how to use custom domain with HTTPS with Amazon Cloudfront.

Cloudflare

Key features:
Certificate Authority : Comodo CA Ltd.
Cost : Free.
Validity : flexible/unlimited.
Free unlimited and automated renewals.
It is a multiuser SSL shared with other users.
Very good browser compatibility.

Cloudflare is the most popular free CDN available out there. As it is free. A lot of people use it already for free CDN and Free SSL. It is the easiest option among all others described here. And provides more than just CDN and SSL. Read more about cloudflare and our step by step installation guide for cloudflare.

Free SSL certificate with domain name registration

Gandi

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : Gandi.
Cost : Free for first year
Renewal : $16 per year.
Validity : 1 year.
Supports multiple domains in single certificate.
Good browser compatibility.

EuroDNS

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : GlobalSign.
Cost : Free for first year
Validity : 1 year.
Renewal : Free until domain is with EuroDNS.
Supports multiple domains in single certificate.
Good browser compatibility.

NameCheap

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : Comodo.
Cost : Free $1.99 with domain registration.
Renewal : $9 per year.
Validity : 1 year.
Supports multiple domains in single certificate.
Good browser compatibility.

Free for startups or open source projects

Godaddy

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : Godaddy.
Cost : Free for first year
Validity : 1 year.
Renewal : Existing prices on Godaddy, currently $69.99.
Very good browser compatibility.

FreeSSL.com

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : Symentec or GeoTrust.
EV certificate available for free.
Cost : Free for first year
Validity : 1 year.
Renewal : Free (?).
Very good browser compatibility.

GlobalSign

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : GlobalSign.
Cost : Free for first year.
Validity : 1 year.
Renewal : Free (?).
Very good browser compatibility.

Free full featured trials of popular SSL products

Comodo InstantSSL Free Trial

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : Comodo.
Cost : Free.
Validity : 90 Days.
Very good browser compatibility.

Geotrust RapidSSL Free Trial

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : Geotrust.
Cost : Free.
Validity : 30 Days.
Very good browser compatibility.

Geotrust QuickSSL Free Trial

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : Geotrust.
Cost : Free.
Validity : 30 Days.
Very good browser compatibility.

Symantec Secure Site Free Trial

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : Symentec.
Cost : Free.
Validity : 30 Days.
Very good browser compatibility.

 

A few trusted very cheap options

Comodo InstantSSL ($4.99 )

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : Comodo.
Validity : 1/2/3 year options available.
Very good browser compatibility.
Buy for $9 on Namecheap $1.99 (1 year) with domain purchase.
Buy for $4.99 on CheapSSLSecurity.com

GeoTrust RapidSSL ($6.66 )

Key Features:
Certificate Authority : Geotrust.
Validity : 1/2/3 year options available.
Very good browser compatibility.
Buy for $6.66 on CheapSSLSecurity.com

Conclusion:

This list has been prepared after a lot of research. The irony is that the more I researched, the more I felt uselessness of almost all the available free options. After providing you all the ways you can use to get a free SSL certificate for your blog, I highly recommend to not use a free SSL as none of those products is good/flexible enough (even Letsencrypt and Cloudflare). If you are a website owner you afford a domain name and a hosting account. Do yourself a favor by affording a cheap SSL certificate.