How to get a free SSL Certificate for Website
Technological advancements have also led to the spread of the dark web. The number of successful data breaches by hackers has been increasing. According to Varonis, around 7 million data records are being compromised every day. The average cost of a breach is around US$ 3.26 million. It has made visitors wary of the websites they are visiting while businesses boost their cybersecurity defenses.
One of the primary ways to protect your site is to install an SSL certificate. It can help you by enthusing a sense of trust in the minds of the visitors. Most of them check the padlock on the address bar before visiting a website. Again, most web browsers like Google have been marking insecure sites as “Not Secure,” making it necessary for businesses to install them.
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What is an SSL certificate?
The SSL certificate uses the underlying SSL/ TLS technology to secure the communication between the visitor’s browser and the webserver. The necessity because the interaction would contain sensitive information like personal details as well as financial information. Using an insecure HTTP connection can lead to data breaches by hackers.
HTTPS sites can thwart any unauthorized user from gaining access to information transfer between the two parties. Moreover, search engines like Google use it as a lightweight ranking parameter during keyword search rankings. It becomes necessary to procure the certificate from a recognized Certificate Authority (CA).
How does SSL work?
The SSL certificate ensures secure communication by encrypting the data transfer taking place with the webserver. When you visit the HTTPS website, the browser checks if it has a valid SSL certificate. The browser requests the public key of the webserver. It will help to encrypt the message that will be shared.
The server will receive the message and is decrypted using the private key. The communication continues with the message being encrypted with the public key that the browser has generated.
Why do you need this certification?
It is suggested that you move to the HTTPS protocol to ensure that your visitors believe they are on a trusted website. You may feel that the pricing is too heavy on your budget, but several brands offer a free SSL certificate. These options are ideal if you run a website for an NGO.
Using it will ensure that your site enjoys positive brand equity among your audience. With an increase in the number of data breaches, visitors need visible cues to confirm that they are on a secure site. It can prevent phishing attacks as these certificates cannot have a duplicate. Moreover, you can also have more visitors once they trust that the site is a genuine one.
The certificate allows the visitor to confirm that the conversation is being made with an authentic web server. The visitor may be sharing sensitive personal information, and it is necessary to verify that they are not being tricked into sharing their data. It will help to enthuse a sense of trust and ensure that visitors stay on the site. Moreover, a non-HTTPS site has the risk of being breached by hackers, and loss of visitor information can have severe consequences.
Through an SSL/ TLS connection, the information is encrypted and cannot be read by any third party who is not a part of the conversation. It cannot be done through the HTTP connection, and anyone can access the information that is being exchanged. The personal data and user credentials must be encrypted to ensure failsafe security.
How can you get a free SSL certificate?
The price associated with SSL certificates
Before buying one, you must understand your requirement. The background of your operations and the activities undertaken can also occupy a critical factor in deciding the type of certificate you need. The price can vary based on various parameters, viz. the kind of certification, the number of years for issuance, and various other add-ons.
Most CAs have cheap products, and you can also buy cheap with some DV certificates coming at around US$ 7 per year. The advanced ones can cost around US$ 250 as annual fees. These certificates also come with a warranty depending on the type of certification. The EV SSL certificates can be costlier.
What about free SSL certificates?
Do NGOs or bloggers need to buy such expensive certificates? No, they need not. There are free SSL certificates that NGOs can use for website security.
To get one, you can visit the Free SSL website (https://www.freesslcertificate.org). You must fill a form and connect with them. The request will be reviewed and checked for eligibility, and the need for SSL security will be assessed. Once everything is found to be in order, the non-profit organization will be secured using one of these certificates.
Various options for free SSL certificate
We will discuss some of the other options you have to get a free SSL certificate.
#1. Let’s Encrypt
It is sponsored by major brands like Cisco, Mozilla, Facebook, etc. You can save time by not having to create and send the CSR to the CA for approval. They have provided certificates to over 240 million websites.
#2. Zero SSL
You must provide the required details and go through a rapid verification process. It gives your free certificate within a short time.
They provide a free plan for personal websites and blogs. You can enlist any number of websites, and there is no limit on bandwidth too.
If you run an NGO, you can cease to worry about investing heavily on SSL certificates by getting yourself a free one from Freesslcertificate.org.
Setting up the free certificate on WordPress
After installing the certificate, you must change the website’s settings and use the URLs’ HTTPS version. While it can be done manually, it is better to use WordPress plug-ins to help you.
One of the plug-ins you can use is the Really Simple SSL plug-in. It can change the site settings and help you start using HTTPS. It can also help by checking the presence of any mixed content.
You can also use the Better Search Replace plug-in to ensure that all the URLs are using the HTTPS protocol. It can search the HTTP URLs and change them with the HTTPS version.
Businesses are always faced with the risk of data breaches. While the industry behemoths can spend enormous resources towards data security, small websites and non-government organizations may find it challenging to accommodate these security procedures within their meager budget. They may choose a free SSL certificate that is available online.
The procedure to get one is relatively easy. You can choose a certificate from one of the entities that we have mentioned in this article. They have a simple validation process, and you can receive the certification within a short time.