Are free multi domain SSL certificates available in the market?
While it’s true that there are some free multi domain SSL certificates available in the market, the million-dollar question is why do people still prefer paid multi domain SSL certificates? What’s the catch? Sure, it’s your website and your financial investment — hence, the final decision is yours as to whether you want a free product or paid one. But you have all the rights to know the aspects involved with free multi domain SSL certificates. So, let’s explore some crucial points that you must take into consideration before deciding whether to buy or install one.
Why You Should Avoid Free Multi Domain SSL Certificates
You won’t get free organization validated (OV) and extended validated (EV) multi-domain SSL certificates for free. Period. And this is a major concern because OV and EV SSL certificates are preferable for medium and large-scale organizations that handle users’ financial information (credit card/debit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc.), personal, and health-related information.
Certificate authorities are required to follow strict guidelines stipulated by the CA/B Forum to issue OV and EV SSL certificates. The entire verification process is manually performed by each CA’s staff, and they need proper infrastructure, resources, and training for the same. They must log everything, too. This process requires massive investment from a CA, and that’s why no certificate authorities can afford a free OV/EV multi domain SSL certificate.
You won’t get any warranty with free SSL certificates. If a user becomes a victim of data theft or any kind of cybercrime due to unlikely event where the encryption somehow fails, the certificate authorities must pay the penalty up to the warranty amount to the victim. In other words, the liability to pay reimbursement to the victim is shifted from the website owner to the certificate authorities. So, the SSL warranty works like a type of insurance in a sense.
However, free SSL certificates don’t come with any such warranties. All the commercial multi-domain SSL certificates, on the other hand, offer generous warranties. For example, our PositiveSSL Multi Domain SSL certificate, which costs only $29 per year, comes with a $50,000 warranty. This warranty covers all the additional websites (SANs) you have installed under a multi-domain certificate along with a fully qualified domain name (FQDN).
Certificate Validity Period
Free multi domain SSL certificates offer a certificate validity that lasts up to 90 days, whereas a commercial certificate validity period is two years. In other words, you need to renew your SSL certificate manually every 90 days. If you forget to renew, all the browsers would show a” your connection is not secure” warning page with the SEC_ERROR_EXPIRED_CERTIFICATE error. There is only one client — certbot — that allows autorenewal for free multi domain certificate. However, it involves you having to add complex scripts. If you’re a non-technical user, this might not be your cup of tea.
With paid SSL, on the other hand, you only need to reissue your certificate every two years. The reissuance process is easy. You can use even your old certificate signing request (CSR). You just need to revalidate your SSL certificate (this just involves clicking on a validation link on your email) and reinstall it, which makes it ideal for non-technical users.
Not all hosting platforms support free multi domain SSL certificates. Some of the major hosting providers such as hostmonster.com, inmotionhosting.com, namecheap.com, 1and1.com, netsons.com, 247-host.com, hostripples.com, GoDaddy etc., don’t support free SSL certificates. So, either you ended up buying their expensive SSL certificates, getting free self-signed certificates (not preferable), or getting free SSL certificate for one year and paying unreasonably higher renewal rates for subsequent years.
But these all platforms accept paid SSL certificates from any third-party certificate authorities. So, if your webhosts don’t support free SSL certificate, the only option you have is to buy one from an outside provider.
You will get free attractive site seals (what are sometimes known as trust logos or trust seals) with all our multi-domain SSL certificates. You can upload it on your footer and checkout pages to boost users’ trust and to help them feel more comfortable sharing their information with you. A site seal is a visual indicator that confirms your website is protected by Sectigo, who are recognized among the leaders of the cyber security industry.
24/7 Live Support
You’re not going to get any type of support with free SSL certificates. This is unfortunate considering that the SSL certificate installation can be a bit of a daunting process for new users. When it comes to multi domain certificates, if you make a single mistake while adding the new SAN, the browsers will start showing pesky SSL related warning pages. Thankfully, SectigoStore.com offers 24/7 live customer support via chat, phone, and email to assist you in the entire installation process. No free multi domain SSL certificate provider does that.
Let’s Encrypt’s free multi domain SSL certificate offers the option of covering up to “100 names per certificate,” but that will only take you so far.
This is where a commercial certificate really shines. For example, our PositiveSSL Multi-Domain SSL certificate allows you to secure up to a total of 2,000 domains under a single SSL certificate. That means you need to go through the entire lengthy certificate management process just once.
Multi-Domain SSL Certificate Comparison
Check out our latest multi-domain SSL certificates and their features.
|Free Multi-Domain SSL Certificate||PositiveSSL Multi-Domain||Sectigo OV UCC SSL Certificate||Positive SSL EV Multi-Domain|
|Lowest Available Price||$0||$25.6/year||$140/year||$144.86/year|
|Validation Level||Domain Validation||Domain Validation||Organization Validation||Extended Validation|
|Issuance Time||Within Minutes||Within Minutes||1-3 Days||1-5 Days|
|What the Certificate Includes (Domain Coverage)||Up to 100 names per certificate.||1 main domain FQDN+ 2 different SANs+ with the option of purchasing additional coverage for up to a total of 2,000 additional SANs.||1 main domain FQDN + 4 different SANs with the option of purchasing additional coverage for up to a total of 250 domains.||1 main domain FQDN + 2 different SANs + up to 250 additional SANs at an extra price|
|Browser Security Indicators||It enables a padlock icon to appear in the web address bar.||It enables a padlock icon to appear in the web address bar.||It enables a padlock icon to appear in the web address bar and your organization’s name to be listed in the certificate information.||It enables a padlock icon to appear in the web address bar and your organization’s name to display more prominently in the browser.|
|Eligibility||Any website that doesn’t collect or handle users’ personal information. Most suitable for freelancers, bloggers startups, small businesses, etc.||Any website that doesn’t collect or handle users’ personal information. Most suitable for freelancers, bloggers startups, small businesses, etc.||Only legally registered business organizations with a physical address.||Only legally registered business organizations with a physical address + a minimum of 3 years in operation.|
|Are Subdomains Included?||Subdomains can be added if they are specified as SANs.||Subdomains can be added if they are specified as SANs.||Subdomains can be added if they are specified as SANs.||Subdomains can be added if they are specified as SANs.|
|Cost to Include Additional Domains and Subdomains||$0||$7.92/year per additional domain||$31.2/year per additional domain||$63.20/year per additional domain|
|Encryption Strength||256 bits||256 bits||256 bits||256 bits|
|Type of site seal||Not Provided||Dynamic||Dynamic||Dynamic|
|Support||No Support||24/7 Live||24/7 Live||24/7 Live|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
Final Thoughts on Free Multi Domain SSL Certificates
It’s okay to use free SSL certificates if you have a tight budget (so long as you don’t collect or handle users’ personal or financial information). But as stated above, there are many other things you are missing with free SSL certificates. Plus, paid multi domain SSL certificates are not that expensive. Starting for as little as $25.6/year (just $2.13/month), you can have access to a free site seal, warranty, 24/7 live customer support, and an easy certificate management experience. This make it not only a totally affordable deal but a smart investment on your part.