Like what the title has said, the SSL certificate is free, it does not have a price tag. The purpose of the free certificate is to make HTTPS available for the website with secure connections.
Free SSL certificate comes in 2 types, The Self-Signed Certificate is the one without for any Certificate Authority to sign them. They are signed by the issuer himself or herself. The second type of free SSL certificate available is signed by a Certificate Authority in cPanel and Plesk control panels. The encryption level is the time as the paid ones.
A website with a paid SSL certificate, you buy them. A paid SSL certificate is issued and signed by a trustworthy CA. As far the level of encryption is the same as the free SSL certificate. If you are wondering why should you buy an SSL certificate? Well, there are major differences between these two.
Types of an SSL certificate
You can’t protect an organization with free SSL, while a free SSL certificate is domain validated. If you need organization valuation or extended validation which are offered only in paid SSL
Level of Validation
The CA will validate and authenticates a DV, OV or EV SSL certificate but not the free SSL certificate. Visitors are able to view the organization details on the SSL certificate signed by the CA.
Free SSL certificates usually have a shorter validity period like 90 days while the paid SSL certificates can be as long as 24 months.
It is almost not possible to ask for a re-issue or any support if you are using a free SSL certificate. Unlike, a paid SSL, most reputable CAs provide round-the-clock support using live chat and email.
Level of Trust
A paid SSL certificate offers a site seal and the options to choose it is OV or EV validated. This has greatly increased the confidence of your visitors, If you are selling things online, you gain trust.
A paid SSL certificate has a warranty from the CA, if anything goes wrong using this paid SSL, your losses are covered by the warrantied amount to its maximum value
We will not recommend using the free SSL certificate. Actually, it has not only reflected the organization that it is less serious about her business but the trust is lesser. A free SSL certificate is only domain-validated. For an e-commerce website, I suggest Extended Validated and this is only available to a paid SSL certificate. The green bar which is unique to the EV SSL certificate has increased greatly on the level of trust and authenticity.