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Now that a basic single site domain validation SSL certificate can be had for free, one of the most common questions we get is whether there’s a free multi domain SSL certificate. Yes, there is currently a free multi domain certificate available. But it doesn’t mean it’s actually the best choice for your website or your customers.
People tend to use multi domain SSL certificates because they have many domains to secure but they don’t want the hassle of dealing with a whole mess of individual SSL certificates. So, they can choose from a free multi domain SSL certificate or choose a paid one. However, the frequent (and inaccurate) assumption is that all commercial multi domain SSL certificates are expensive. You might be surprised by just how cost-effective some of Comodo CA’s multi domain solutions are.
This is a common question as well that usually follows the original question that prompted us to write this article. After all, a free multi domain SSL certificate offers the same 256-bit encryption as a commercial certificate. So, why should you fork over your hard-earned money when you could just use a free solution instead?
Well, there are several reasons why you should consider purchasing a certificate instead of using a free one. Let’s start with one of the key reasons why you should have an SSL/TLS certificate at all — asserting your identity:
Domain validation (DV) is the most basic form of validation for your website. It is an automated process that only takes a few minutes. Why? Because it just requires someone to verify an email account. Yeah, that’s it. That’s why DV certificates are the most common type of certificates used for phishing websites.
When you buy a commercial certificate, on the other hand, you have your choice of a domain validation, organization validation (OV), or extended validation (EV) multi domain SSL certificates. This means that you can show your site visitors and customers that you value their business enough to have an unbiased third party (a certificate authority, or what’s known as a CA) verify you and/or your organization to ensure that you are who you claim to be. With an OV certificate, your business name is listed on the certificate. And an EV certificate takes this a step further by listing your business name in the browser for site visitors and customers to see.
While 100 domains may sound like a lot on paper, it may not be nearly enough to cover all of your organization’s web domains. With paid SSL certificates, however, you can cover significantly more domains for a low cost. For example, Comodo CA and its sub-brands offer individual multi domain SSL certificates that secure 250 domains or could cover up to a total of 2,000 domains (with additional SAN purchases)! See the difference?
While a free multi domain SSL certificate doesn’t cost you anything upfront in terms of purchase costs, it could cost you more in the long run. Here’s what we mean: Even just one expired certificate on a single domain can cost your organization a lot of money. Imagine what that would mean if you have dozens or even 100 domains secured by that one certificate.
Staying on top of certificate expiry dates can be challenging enough with a one- or two-year certificate. Now, imagine how much more complicated it becomes when you have only a 90-day validity period. Yes, that’s correct: Free multi domain SSL certificates are only valid for up to 90 days. This means you continually must stay on top of getting your certificates renewed or reissued every three months!
While validity is still a concern with paid SSL certificates as well, a commercial multi domain SSL is valid for up to two years! This means you can spend more time focusing on your business and core mission and less time trying to keep up with certificate expiry dates.
Who doesn’t like to feel protected and secure? People who use free SSL certificates, apparently. That’s because free multi domain SSL certificates — and any other free SSL certificates, for that matter — don’t come with any type of warranty.
The same can’t be said for commercial certificates. With multi domain SSL certificates from Comodo CA and its sub-brands, for example, you can enjoy peace of mind with warranties that range from $50,000 to upwards of $2 million!
If you’re not a technical person, or you’re someone who likes to have their ducks in a row and wants to know that support is there if you need it, then a free SSL certificate likely isn’t the best option for you. That’s because a ree SSL certificate provider’s idea of “support” is to have documents that cover some topics, but that content may not answer your questions or help you solve your problems. This means you’re left dealing with web forums to try to find solutions — and we all know that isn’t the best route.
When you purchase a multi domain SSL certificate from a reputable certificate authority like Comodo CA, though, you get 24/7 access to support via phone, email, or even web chat 365 days a year! No more scrolling through frustrating documents or have having to read through seemingly endless web forum posts. Get real answers to your specific questions quickly from trained and knowledgeable SSL experts.
Simply put, the answer to this question depends on what validation level you’re looking for. Here’s the best value at each level:
The PositiveSSL Multi Domain SSL Certificate is the closest thing to a free multi-domain SSL certificate in terms of pricing, but it comes with all the extras the freebies don’t offer:
PositiveSSL is Comodo CA’s entry-level line. It features the lowest prices but doesn’t come with all the branding that you would get from some of Comodo CA’s higher end products. You won’t find a better price on a multi domain SSL certificate anywhere — we guarantee it!
Get a Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificate for as little as $18.81 per year!
The Comodo Multi-Domain SSL certificate is an affordable way to add business authentication to your multi domain solution. Comodo CA can typically validate this certificate within a single business day, though it may take up to three, making it quick and inexpensive to encrypt your entire portfolio of sites. And the best part? This certificate comes with:
Get an Organization Validation (OV) SSL Certificate for as little as $116.82 per year!
Back to the PositiveSSL line. The PositiveSSL EV Multi-Domain is the cheapest way to get extended validation on your website in the entire SSL industry. The lack of Comodo CA branding is rendered moot by the presence of your organization’s name in the browser. Not to mention, this multi domain SSL certificate comes packed with a bunch of other goodies:
Get this extended validation (EV) multi domain SSL certificate for as little as $129.05 per year!
While multi domain SSL certificates are available, now you can see why they may not be the best option for your business. And since Comodo CA offers very low-cost multi-domain options that fit any budget, it means that you can get the business validation, domain coverage, warranties, support, and other perks that paid certificates offer without costing you an arm and a leg.
We’ve got everything you need to know about a free multi domain SSL certificate — and why a low-cost solution is often still the best option