Let's Encrypt certificates - free of charge to more security | Xelon AG

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Servers representing let's encrypt certificates

Author: Matias Meier

Category: Cyber-Security

February 19, 2019

At the end of 2015, the now widely known certification authority Let's Encrypt began operations. Lets Encrypt issues SSL certificates free of charge and aims to make encrypted connections on the Internet the standard. But what are the differences between Let's Encrypt and paid certificates?


Encryption is on everyone's lips today, especially when it comes to web traffic. With SSL certificates to give online users the assurance that their information is handled securely is the goal. Here the companies, whether SMEs or large corporations, must take responsibility themselves. It is not only a matter of complying with legislation, but also of the general feeling of security among customers.

This security with the handling of customer data of online users is important for companies and that not only since the entry of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018. You can find everything on this topic in our blog "EU-DSGVO: 3 main points - simply explained!

Today, however, we are primarily concerned with the most important questions concerning the use of Let's Encrypt.

Questions and answers about Let's Encrypt

Is it really free?

Are there differences in the duration?

  • Yes, Lets Encrypt only offers SSL certificates with a validity of 90 days. Purchased certificates are usually issued for one or two years.

How does the certificate renewal after 90 days work?

  • Lets Encrypt offers automatic renewal so that certificates do not have to be added manually. Thus, the certificates actually have an "infinite" validity. This can be set up for self-managed servers, for example, using Certbot or acme.sh. Our managed Plesk servers are already equipped with a plugin so that the certificates are renewed automatically.

What kind of certificates does Let's Encrypt offer?

  • Lets Encrypt only offers DV (Domain Validation) certificates, this is comparable to the paid "Standard" certificates.

What doesn't Let's Encrypt offer?

  • However, if certificates with a green address bar/company name in the address bar are required, an EV (Extended Validation) is necessary. Such certificates are not supported by Lets Encrypt.

Is the encryption with Let's Encrypt worse?

  • No, the encryption strength is set by the web server.

Where can I get more information about Let's Encrypt?

  • You can find more information about Lets Encrypt, as well as good documentation, on the official website:https://letsencrypt.org.

By the way, there are currently almost 88 million active Lets Encrypt certificates. These statistics, as well as other interesting facts and figures, can be found on the Lets Encrypt website: https://letsencrypt.org/stats/

Many reasons, but...

There are therefore many good reasons to use the free SSL certificates. But there are also exceptional cases in which companies cannot avoid using paid certificates. The goal that Lets Encrypt has set for itself has not yet been reached, but thanks to the support of new laws with handling data, it is quite realistic.


Matias Meier

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