A Beginner's Guide to Seting Up a Free SSL Certificate on WordPress

SSL certificates are essential for every business’s website. Websites that have SSL certificates have been prioritized by Google for better search engine rankings. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) secure connections between users’ web browsers and web servers through encryption technology. Websites with SSL certificates properly installed on servers will show a trust indicator such as a green padlock icon. They secure logins, data transfers, credit card transactions and other personal information.

Difference Between Free and Paid SSL Certificates

SSL certificates can be issued for free by a Certificate Provider like Let's Encrypt or purchased from a paid certificate authority. Paid SSL certificates that are verified come with added security features like extended validation, site seals and increased protection. Prices for a paid certificate can vary from $50 to $200 per year. After purchasing the certificate, the hosting provider can install it for you.

Find a Paid SSL Certificate with the SSL Wizard

Free SSL Certifiates provide some of the trust indicators that will help visitors stay on your site. In this article, we will guide you through setting up and installing a free SSL certificate on your WordPress website.

How to Install a Free SSL Certificate on Your WordPress Website

Many hosting companies that host a WordPress website offer free SSL certificates with their hosting plans. In most of these hosting websites, you can turn on the free SSL certificate from the hosting dashboard. Find your web host below for instructions on how to install an SSL certificate.

Bluehost

  • Log into your Bluehost dashboard and click on my Sites then Manage site. Click on Security to access the SSL options panel.
  • In front of "Free SSL Certificate", toggle the button to On.  This will start installing the free SSL certificate on your Bluehost hosting account.

SiteGround

  • Login to your SiteGround user portal.
  • Navigate to cPanel.
  • Click on the "My Accounts" tab.
  • Then, click the "Go to cPanel" button.
  • Look for the Security section in the cPanel, and click on "Let's Encrypt."
  • There is a dropdown list of all the domains you have setup in cPanel. If you only have one website hosted with SiteGround, you should see one domain. If you are hosting multiple domains and have added "addon domains," you'll see them all listed in the dropdown.
  • Choose the domain on which you'd like to install the SSL
  • Enter an email address where you can be contacted. This is required for the SSL setup.
  • Click the "Install" button
  • The process takes about 30 seconds to complete.
  • You should now see your SSL certificate listed under "Installed Certificates."

HostGator

  • Log in to your cPanel account at HostGator
  • Find the "Security" section.
  • Find the "Let's Encrypt" icon displayed as a shining padlock. Click it and continue with the next step.
  • In the manage Let's Encrypt Certificates page all the domains currently available will be shown. If you don't have any activated SSL certificates, then the "Get Wildcard" / "Issue" button will be displayed. This has been available since January 2018.

WPEngine

  • SSL certificates included in all plans.
  • Click on "Installs" in the top navigation
  • Click on the install that you want to add an SSL to
  • Click on "SSL" in the left sidebar to access the SSL options for that site
  • Look for the "SSL certificates" section
  • Click the "Add Certificates" button
  • Click the "Get Let's Encrypt" button
  • Read and agree to the terms and conditions.
  • Click the Request SSL Certificate button

Dreamhost

  • Navigate to the Secure Hosting page. A domains list is displayed.
  • Click on Add for the domain you wish to add the SSL cert.
  • On the next page click the 'Select this Certificate' button of the free SSL certificate.

Using HTTPS in WordPress

After enabling the free SSL Certificate, you need to set up WordPress to start using HTTPS instead of HTTP in all URLs. An easy way of doing this is installing and activating the Really Simple SSL plugin on your website.

The plugin will check to see if your SSL certificate is enabled. After that, it will turn on HTTP to HTTPS redirect and change your website settings to start using SSL/HTTPs.

To ensure complete security of your website, all website URLs need to load through the HTTPS protocol. This is done automatically with the Really Simple SSL plugin.

 

About the Author: These methods have been tested to be 100% working by the TechiesPad team.

Originally posted on Tue Feb 5, 2019