There are many different types of certificates and they vary in price. The main types are dedicated, shared, wildcard and free. With lots of suppliers of SSL online it pays to shop around. Neilpates has a very good guide how to get a certificate.
Dedicated SSL Certificates
Dedicated SSL’s are assigned specifically to the domain name of your website. So in order to obtain a dedicated certificate you have to have your own unique domain ending, for example, in.com or.co.uk. Prices of domain names vary but there are plenty of domain registrars online. With a dedicated certificate it is not shared with any another domain name, and these do not usually provide SSL protection for website sub-domains other than www.
A Dedicated SSL is one of the most expensive to purchase.
Shared SSL certificates
Unlike the dedicated certificates. Where you have your own domain name and your own unique certificate. Shared certificates are exactly what they sound like: Shared.
You will normally find shared SSL’s are supplied by web hosts for their customers to use. They tend to have a generic name. And as such your domain wont be displayed when this type of shared is in use. Web hosts do tend to offer these for free.
You can also attach your website to someone elses certificate. This does mean that when a visitor to your website wants to check the authenticity of your site the SSL of your website and the name on the certificate will not match. Who ever owns and purchased the certificate will have his or her details shown. In most modern browsers this will normally cause the browser to show an error page.
Please note that you can’t “just use” another website’s SSL.
Another issue will arise if you wish to change your website host. The likelihood of being able to transfer you websites SSL protection with you may not be possible.
Wildcard SSL certificates
A wildcard SSL will allow you to protect unlimited subdomains with just the one .
If you don’t need to secure multiple subdomains and now exactly what subdomains you need it may be cheaper to have these added to a normal SSL certificate. Any reputable supplier/reseller will advise you of this.
It is possible to get free ones but please note that you get what you pay for and a free SSL certificate may not be as secure as a paid version. Free SSL’s do not always have the necessary level of encryption or service to keep your website secure that the paid for certificates have.
Another thing to consider is be careful where you obtain a free one from as they may not be legitimate and may only cause more harm than good!
There are some very reputable companies that offer free ones but just keep it simple and do your research.