What is the difference between Let’s Encrypt and paid SSL in terms of security and protection?

Tomas Bem
3 min readMay 27, 2024


When looking into security and protection provided by Let’s Encrypt and paid SSL certificates, we will see some key differences. However, both options provide basic SSL/TLS encryption to ensure the security of data transmitted using the website.

Validation levels

Let’s Encrypt: this service you can get only domain validation certificates that verify domain ownership. However it lacks additional validation as organizational or extended. This level of validation is usually suitable for personal sites, blogs, and small companies but it should not be used for bigger companies.

Paid SSL certificates: these certificates have three types. Previously mentioned domain validation, organization validation, and extended validation. Organization and extended validation stand for more thorough validation process to confirm the legitimacy of the organization. We can say, extended validation certificate provides the highest level of trust. The user confidence can be further increased thanks to a green address bar or company name in the browser.


Let’s Encrypt: using this free ssl certificate grants no guarantee. If a Let’s Encrypt certificate fails, you cannot expect financial compensation for damages or losses incurred as a result of the breach.

Paid SSL Certificates: it usually includes a warranty that varies based on the type of certificate. You can expect warranty from $10,000 to $1,500,000. This warranty works as an insurance policy which covers financial losses caused by certificate failure or data breach.

Support and trust seal

Let’s Encrypt: with this free service comes no dedicated technical support. However, it has a robust community and extensive documentation. You also cannot get a trust seal, which is good for verifying trustworthiness of a website. This can be seen as a disadvantage, especially for companies looking to build customer trust.

Paid SSL certificates: as paid service, it offers additional techninal support usually including aforementioned trust seal in the price. This seal can be placed on the website to increase customer trust. By placing the trust seal on the website, company can increase trust from a customer perspective and this leads to improved conversion rates.

Validity and management of certificates

Let’s Encrypt: these certificates are only valid for 90 days and need to be renewed frequently. However, this process can be automated, it still posses a risk if renewals fail and leads to further administrative expenses.

Paid SSL certificates: have a longer validity period, usually one or two years. This helps to reduce the administrative expenses from frequent renewals and mitigates the risk of failure due to certificate expiration.

Security and features

Let’s Encrypt: the level of encryption is exactly the same as provides the paid certificates. However, free ssl certificate lacks advanced security features and further validation of company. It’s a logical choice for basic websites that handle sensitive data and need to use https protocol instead of http but the high level of user trust is not needed.

Paid SSL certificates: include broad possibilities in company validation and additional security features. These can be malware scanning and vulnerability assessments etc. Furthermore, with paid certificated you can choose other types of certificates, such as wildcard certificates. This type of certificate helps with multi-subdomain security and Let’s Encrypt offers only limited support of wildcard certificates.


For smaller websites, personal blogs, and small companies the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates is an excellent choice as it is affordable and easy to use. However, bigger sites that need higher trust of their customers or handle sensitive user information, such as e-commerce sites, large businesses websites, paid SSL certificates are the perfect fit, because they provide advanced security features, validation, and previously mentioned trust benefits. These are the key to maintain high level of protection and trustworthiness.



Tomas Bem

Seasoned tech pro with legal-economic acumen. Efficiency advocate, analytical problem solver, data-driven thinker. Motivator. Workaholic yet peace seeker.