Is it an SEO problem if I change an SSL certificate from that of a large web hosting company to one that is free software?

I ask the following question while being a complete ignorant on the topic of SSL/TLS encryption technologies and “encryption certificates” so please excuse me for anything absurd.
I will further say that I have great respect for the Let's Encrypt project and have presented Let's Encrypt encryption certificates which I have reasily created with the beloved Certbot, several years in the past.

My question

Is it a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) problem to change an existing encryption certificate from a large domain registrar such as Namecheap or GoDaddy or Domain or Google Domains or Name or Hostgator or Bluehost or SiteGround etc. especially if such domain registrar defines this certificate as a "premium product", to those of a free/gratis encryption certification supplier such as the Let’s Encrypt project or any other free/gratis “rival” of Let’s Encrypt project?

Why I ask this question

I ask this question because I bought several ecryption certificates from my domain Registrar Namecheap but my website hosting provider is not Namecheap, rather, it is DigitalOcean and I was astound from how complex it is, at least in my mind, to use my domain registrar encryption certificates for my websites on DigitalOcean, compared to some other trivial action associating the two parties, such as Pointing DNSs from Namecheap to DigitalOcean.
There is no “Point certificates” simple action.

If it is that complex for me, perhaps I should switch from payed (possibly "premium") to free/gratis (possibly "non premium"), but is it an SEO problem?

No, it is not any sort of SEO problem. While some search engines will boost https over http, that's the extent of it. Paying more for a certificate doesn't give you any better security, or give any better signal to a search engine that the content is meaningful to its users. The only reason to pay more (or anything) for a certificate is if you want the extra features it provides you (such as a web console helping you organize your certificates, or a support number you can call to talk to someone if you have questions). It doesn't do anything different for your users. (With the possible exception of getting an OV/EV certificate, which might mean your users could have some confidence in what organization is hosting the site, but even then it wouldn't impact SEO or make anything more "secure" in any technical sense.)


I understand your general point and I think I enerally agree with anything you said although I never heard before about the terms OV (Organization Validation) and EV (Extended Validation) and I am not sure if I currently have the background knowledge to fully understand their meaning.

I'd assume that we could rely on the assumption that the "general type" of an encryption certificate (closed source or open source) doesn't effect SEO in the level of 99% but not 100% because we generally don't exactly know what goes in the mind of the developers of any of the major search engines (Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, and even self-declerated non tracking DuckDuckGo).
I would especially say this if encryption certifications are sold by Google LLC themselves via their "Google Domains" service which I never knew existing until today (it is unclear to me from their website if they sell or even gratisly provide any encryption certificates).
All I am saying is that sometimes, frequently or seldom, we just can't be sure how a certain search engine works.

Again I ask for pardon about anything absurd I wrote.

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Oh, sure. I mean, I certainly don't work for Google, and I suppose could be that they decide that anything using their own CA, or some other paid CA, or whatever should get a couple bonus points in whatever sort algorithm they're using. But I haven't heard of them doing anything like that, they don't advertise anything like that which I can find, and I can't really imagine why they would. The search engines care much more about whether they're providing relevant results (and thereby relevant ads), and whether a site is using a free certificate or a paid certificate doesn't really have any correlation to whether it's got the content that their users are looking for.


To those who didn't know like me, CA here means Certificate Authority.
I found this after searching CA certificate in Google.
Thank you @petercooperjr !


Just adding- most top publishers and wikipedia use LetsEncrypt. CloudFlare also uses LetsEncrypt for a large number of the domains on their CDN network.


Most browsers have effectively relegated these overpriced schemes to the dustbin of history. They are effectively dead in the minds of everyone in the TLS/SSL community except those still hawking them.


I noted in a thread a couple of years ago that people can, if they're curious, tell about how much you paid for your certificates (and for that matter other aspects of your web site technology), and they could choose to make judgments based on that. They might be more impressed if they see that you spent more money on the site, even if you didn't have to.

There isn't necessarily a way to predict this. Other people could also think negatively of you if they saw that you spent more money than you had to.

I think there are cases where seeing that someone spent resources on something builds credibility, and web site infrastructure is less and less often one of those cases.


If you want to increase or enhance your SEO presence you have to speak to your target audience,

Google and other search engines have figured this out, A TLS certificate wont help you in this matter. It helps, but it is not the answer to all.

Tell your story honestly, promote your cause, and you will climb on SEO.
Explain to your audience what you have to offer and why it makes a difference.
Stay current and communicate with your clients.
It is a big job, but somebody has to do it.

My 2 cents


Because this thread necroed anyway; Does multi-tenant certificate effects SEO score of sites using it?


I'm not aware of any aspect of the certificate having any effect on SEO for Google.


Oh Yeah... It started back in 2014

We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.

SEO ranking is also improved, as search engines like Google favor sites that use HTTPS over HTTP. This protocol is indicated in the address bar of the browser with a padlock icon or a green label, and search engines recognize these sites as more trustworthy and relevant.

SSL/TLS Certificates: How They Boost Your SEO and Trust?


@Rip That's more about HTTPS yes or no. And not the specifics of the certificate itself, which is what Aaron means I believe.

Perhaps some TLS stuff might affect the 2023 algorithms like key size, cipher suits allowed et cetera, but whether your certificate comes from Let's Encrypt, another free CA or a :moneybag::moneybag::moneybag: certificate: that doesn't matter.

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You are correct. It has no weight at all where your cert comes from relating to SEO.
Nor should it. TLS is considered in ranking though, and I do not believe it should be.
From where I sit, a site should be ranked on its content and relevance. If a site operator chooses NOT to secure his/her traffic... I have the choice NOT to visit the site. (Sorry off topic)
Thanks for your comment Osiris. I appreciate it.


Perhaps the Google search page should include a checkbox to include/exclude insecure sites.
Let the user decide.


I’m not sure that’s what advertising companies want,
usually they are trying to make the “buyer” feel bad about themselves and promote their products as the solution to the “buyer’” problems.


If we're gaming SEO using certs (which I don't think actually does anything, but who knows) then I'd suggest trying out Google Trust Services (who also do free certificates via ACME) because if there was ever any SEO advantage from choice of CA then it would logically be with them. Scientifically you'd probably have to run several sites with fairly static visitor numbers each with different CAs and monitor CA changes, as the only change.

Realistically though there are so many big sites using Let's Encrypt that there's not going to be any reputational difference for SEO based on choice of CA.


I'd say that without trying that experiment it's hard to say for sure that search engines never favor sites that use more expensive infrastructure over sites that use cheaper infrastructure. It would certainly be unpopular with various communities, but if they're using machine learning in their rankings, and if there is a noticeable correlation between money spent and site quality (which there might or might not be!), then the machine learning system might have learned about that correlation and might take it into account.

There are still parts of life where people spend money that they don't really have to in order to send a signal of trustworthiness to some audience. It's hard to know for sure from the outside whether search rankings are one of those areas, since they tend to be so secretive and change so much over time. (Remember the "Google dance"?) We can say that Let's Encrypt certificates are as "good" and as "secure" (technologically) as other certificates, and that their use is extremely mainstream, and that there's a trend for more and more kinds of sites to use them—all of which I'm confident about!—but that doesn't say whether search engines will take them as a signal. Any other part of web infrastructure could also factor into a ranking if it turned out to have a strong enough correlation with high or low quality of web content.


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