There are many scenarios when it is required that we test our website(s) for the security. The top most item which comes in mind is SSL. Every Web administrator would like to secure his/her website using SSL certificates so that the end users can trust the website and can transact safely.
But how does it work exactly? When a browser is used to connect to a secure website (https://), an SSL certificate is received by the browser and its identity is verified against the preconfigured CA database of that browser. It is only that Certificate Authority that can guaranty the authenticity of the SSL certificate and hence can ensure safe communication with the Web server.
Certificate Authorities charge money to give you a signed SSL certificate and hence it becomes costlier when a web administrator or the developers responsible for building the Web Service needs to test the ‘secured’ changes on their local Dev or Staging environments. Even on small scale production website or for your personal website, sometimes you do not want to shell out money for SSL certificate.
Well, what is the solution then! One free solution is to go with Self Signed Certificates where you can sign the certificate by yourself and encryption will work the same way as it works with CA signed certificates. However, there are major chances that end users will not feel safe to transact with the website since they will get a WARNING message about unsecured connection.
Other option is to go for free SSL certificates. Yes, you heard it right. There are few Certificate Authorities which gives free basic SSL certificates for such scenarios. I am going to list down few of ‘em:
The famous US Certificate Authority – Comodo gives 90 days free SSL certificate for a single domain.
StartCom gives their StartSSL Class 1 DV SSL Certificates Unlimited for 3 years!
Why they provide it free? Here’s what they say: Since Class 1 certificates are domain and/or email validated only and the process is performed mostly by electronic and automatic means, StartCom doesn’t apply any fees for this type of certification.
So, if next time, you need a Free SSL certificate for your environment you can easily pick one up as per your needs with some limitations which come with each of them. But encryption will work for sure along with green address bar.