The Evolution of SSL Certificates: Embracing the Power of Free

18 May, 2023

The Evolution of SSL Certificates: Embracing the Power of Free

What you need to know

As an IT managed service provider, we've shifted all our educational clients to free, robust Let's Encrypt SSL certificates, reducing costs and improving efficiency without compromising online security.


As schools and educational institutions increasingly rely on online platforms for teaching and administrative activities, the significance of secure online connections has never been more evident. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates have become a critical component in ensuring this safety. In the past, these certificates represented a necessary cost. However, we're here to share that this financial outlay is no longer required, especially when you partner with an experienced IT managed service provider (MSP) like us.

The Changing Landscape: Paid SSL Certificates Vs. Free SSL Certificates

Historically, paid SSL certificates were considered the standard. These come in three main types: Domain Validation (DV), Organization Validation (OV), and Extended Validation (EV) certificates. Each offers a varying level of validation and security, with DV being the simplest and EV providing the highest level.

While OV and EV certificates offer enhanced security and validation processes, they are often most beneficial to commercial entities like online retailers or financial institutions, which require a high level of trust from their users. In contrast, schools and educational institutions typically don't require this level of validation from their users—students, parents, and staff are already familiar with the institution. Therefore, while these certificates have their place, they often represent an unnecessary expense for educational entities.

Enter the age of free SSL certificates, notably Let's Encrypt. This non-profit authority offers SSL certificates for free and has opened up new possibilities for schools and educational institutions. As an MSP experienced in the educational sector, we've successfully transitioned all our clients to these free, Let's Encrypt based certificates.

This shift is not merely a cost-saving measure. It also reduces unnecessary downtime during certificate replacements, ensuring that your digital classrooms and administrative portals are always up and running.

The Benefits of Let's Encrypt Certificates

Let's Encrypt is lauded for its simplicity. The deployment, renewal, and maintenance of these certificates are fully automated. This ensures a smooth experience for educational institutions, allowing you to focus more on your primary mission - educating our future generations.

In our extensive work with schools and educational providers, we've found that the robust security offered by Let's Encrypt is more than sufficient to meet the needs of the educational sector, negating the need for the additional features of paid SSL certificates.

Embracing Change: The Role of the MSP

In the dynamic world of IT, adaptability is key. As an MSP, we pride ourselves on keeping up with the changing digital landscape and aligning our practices accordingly. Our decision to shift towards free SSL certificates showcases our dedication to prioritizing our clients' needs and the educational community's overall well-being.

Unfortunately, some MSPs still recommend paid SSL certificates. This not only leads to unnecessary expenses for schools but also overlooks the efficiency and benefits of modern, free SSL certificates.

Partnering with the Right MSP

In 2023, schools and educational institutions no longer need to bear the burden of paying for SSL certificates. Free SSL certificates, like Let's Encrypt, can provide a secure, user-friendly experience.

When choosing an MSP, it's crucial to consider whether they are abreast of these changes. If they're still selling paid SSL certificates, it could be a sign that they're not keeping pace with the most efficient and up-to-date technologies.

We, as an MSP, are committed to serving the educational community with state-of-the-art solutions that align with the latest technology trends. Our transition to free SSL certificates demonstrates this commitment.

To conclude, the right MSP can not only save your institution money but also improve your digital experience through industry best practices. We believe that every educational provider deserves an MSP that is not just a service provider, but a partner in their mission to educate. Challenge the status quo and demand the best for your institution. Your school deserves a tech-savvy partner that is in step with the latest developments and committed to ensuring the best online security practices for your institution.