Wednesday 23rd January 2019

Compare hosts

We compare 18 web hosts against 56 metrics, including monthly and annual pricing and bandwidth, CPU, read/write, storage and database restrictions.

Listed below is a comparison table that details whether each of the 18 web hosts we’ve reviewed offer free SSL.

What is SSL and why do I need it?

An SSL certificate facilitates the encryption of data transferred to a web server. While SSL has always been an essential component of websites that handle sensitive transactions or information, in recent years it has become more commonplace, even on predominantly informational websites.

The rate of adoption of SSL has increased partly as a consequence of the increased onus placed on it by internet platforms like Google.

In one of its latest updates to its flagship Google Chrome browser, the search giant started sending “not secure” notifications into the address bar on non-HTTPS websites.

In the aftermath of the announcement about the update to Google Chrome, numerous web hosts, including Bluehost and GreenGeeks, began offering free SSL.

HTTP/2 is another reason why SSL has increased in popularity in recent years (you can read more about HTTP/2 here). While the specification for HTTP/2 doesn’t mandate the use of SSL, browsers have come to treat it like a de facto requirement.

In other words, to take advantage of HTTP/2 and the benefits many claim it offers, you’ll need to employ SSL on your website.

Free SSL?

The table below indicates which of the web hosts we’ve reviewed provide free SSL.

N/A = Not applicable NS = Not specified RBNS = Restricted but not specified

Click on a host to read the full review.

Web hostFree SSL?Visit
GoDaddyNoVisit
Heart InternetNoVisit
1&1YesVisit
NamecheapNoVisit
HostingerNoVisit
FatCowNoVisit
Just HostNoVisit
GreenGeeksNoVisit
FasthostsNoVisit
A2 HostingYesVisit
DreamhostYesVisit
HostGatorYesVisit
InMotion HostingYesVisit
iPageNoVisit
Host PapaYesVisit
BluehostNoVisit
SitegroundYesVisit

How easy is it to implement?

Unfortunately, not all SSL implementations are equal. Some web hosts, like Siteground, offer SSL through Let’s Encrypt; implementation is merely a matter of clicking a toggle in your admin panel (they’ll also automatically handle the redirection of all HTTP to HTTPS URLs).

However, others, like 1&1, make it slightly more challenging e.g. you have to manually configure .htaccess to set up appropriate redirects.