Is It Possible to Get a Free EV SSL Certificate for an Ecommerce Site?

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Get the scoop on free EV SSL certificates and what alternatives you can consider for your ecommerce site

Looking for free EV SSL certificates? Sorry to disappoint you, but they don’t exist.

That’s because extended validated (EV) SSL certificates are premium business validated certificates — and as you likely know, no premium things in life are free (especially not in the world of technology)!

All free software, plugins, themes, apps, and media channels have premium versions, i.e., some high-ended facilities or features that are available only to paid members. It’s the same with SSL/TLS certificates. Domain validated (DV) SSL certificates are basic SSL certs, which some non-profits provide for free but with significant limitations as well. As such, EV SSL certificates are premium certificates that are only available to eligible paying users.

So, while there is no free EV SSL certificate on earth — there are least some cost-effective options to consider.

Why No CAs Offer Free EV SSL Certificates

There are actually two related reasons why no certificate authorities will issue free EV SSL certificates: validation and costs.

1) CAs Have to Meet Strict EV Validation Requirements

The CA/B Forum, a body of certificate authorities, browsers, and device manufacturers, has stipulated strict guidelines for the extended validation process. If the CA issues an EV SSL certificate without following a proper verification process, it can lose its membership from the CA/Browser Forum (CA/B Forum). Plus, the browsers won’t trust the other millions of digital certificates that were issued by that CA previously.

The risk is too high — no reputable CA would leave any stone unturned to verify the applicant business’s identity before issuing an EV certificate.

2) The EV Validation Process Is Too Costly to Perform for Free

The entire validation process is manual. That means the CA not only has to hire and train staff to perform the validation tasks, but they also have to provide the infrastructure so that the staff can perform their duties. All the details must be logged and documented per the CA/B Forum’s guidelines. As you can imagine, all of this takes a substantial financial investment on the CA’s end. That’s why no CAs can afford to offer free EV SSL certificates.

Some non-profits offer free domain validated (DV) SSL certificates because the validation process is automated and no staff is required. But these organizations don’t provide any customer support or warranties for their SSL certificates. Furthermore, they offer SSL certificates with a validity of only three months due to the security issues.

Commercial CAs, on the other hand, offer 24/7 live customer support, generous warranties, free site seals and certificates with two years of validation period. That’s why they can’t afford even free DV SSL certificates. You don’t get any of those things with free SSL certificate providers.

Why Are EV SSL Certificates Considered Premium Certificates?

Why do people buy Rolex instead of a $10 watch even though both show the same time? The answers are “brand name recognition” and “higher quality products.” In the same way, an EV certificate represents a robust identity verification. It speaks for the organization’s highest commitment towards its customer’s data security.

There are two main security pillars of an SSL certificate. 1) Encryption and 2) Identity Assurance. Although, all the SSL/TLS certificates provide same level of encryption, the identity verification process differs up to a great extent. An EV SSL certificate is all about asserting the highest level of identity. Plus, you also get the added benefit of higher warranties as well. Research from Georgia Tech’s Cyber Forensics Innovation (CyFI) Lab indicates that 99.99% of domains with EV certificates are legit and aren’t involved in malware/cybercrime activities due to their rigorous verification processes.

“But isn’t extended validation unfair to businesses that can’t afford an EV SSL certificate?”

No offense, but an EV SSL certificate isn’t necessarily intended for businesses that can’t afford an $80 per year investment in their security! No individual developers, freelancers, bloggers, or startups are eligible to get an EV SSL, either.

To get qualified for an EV SSL, an organization must:

  • have physical address,
  • be legally registered,
  • have been in the business for three or more years,
  • be in good standing,
  • have registered on online government databases, and
  • be able to provide Dun & Bradstreet credit report, bank confirmation letter, notarized professional opinion letter (POL) from a lawyer or accountant vouching for your company’s legitimacy (if required).

As you can imagine, only medium and large-scale organizations, healthcare institutions, government organizations, educational institutions, and ecommerce companies are eligible to get an EV SSL certificate. It is crucial for these entities to let people know that their websites are tied to the legitimate organizations/institutions.

Is There Any Less Expensive Alternative to An EV SSL Certificate?

Since there’s no such thing as a free EV SSL certificate, it’s time to consider your other options. The least expensive EV SSL certificate you can get through starts as low as $79.84 per year. Now, mind you that this certificate comes with a $1 million warranty and is issued by a company with a brand name you can trust.

But if you’re a legitimate business that’s facing monetary constraints, or your business isn’t eligible to get an EV SSL you can choose to go with an organization validated (OV) SSL certificate instead. Even though it’s also a business validated certificate, OV SSL certificates start for as little as $30.80 per year.

Check out our popular OV SSL certificate, which people buy as an alternative to an EV SSL certificate:

SSL Certificate Type SSL Certificate Name Price/Year Warranty Product link
Single Domain OV InstantSSL Certificate $33.69 $50,000 READ MORE
Multidomain OV Sectigo OV Multi-Domain SSL Certificate $149 $1,000,000 READ MORE
Wildcard OV Sectigo OV SSL Wildcard $415.83 $1,000,000 READ MORE
Multidomain Wildcard SSL OV Sectigo OV Multi-Domain Wildcard SSL Certificate $744 $1,000,000 READ MORE