SSL is a security protocol that provides a secure connection between a user’s browser and a website. It is used to protect user data and ensure that the user is communicating with the correct website.
It’s important to have SSL enabled on your website because it encrypts the data sent between your browser and the server, preventing bad actors from snooping on your traffic and stealing sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers.
When you visit a website that has SSL enabled, you’ll see a lock icon on the left side of your browser. This indicates that your connection is encrypted and secure. The URL will also change from “HTTP” to “HTTPS.”
Difference between HTTP and HTTPS
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) are communication protocols used on the internet. HTTP is an unsecured protocol that sends data in clear text, which means that anyone who can see your traffic can see what you’re sending and receiving.
On the other hand, HTTPS is a secured version of HTTP that uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt all communications between your browser and the website you’re visiting. This means that anyone who tries to intercept your traffic will not be able to see what you’re doing online.
The main difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that HTTPS provides a secure connection between your browser and the website you’re visiting. This helps keep your data safe from prying eyes, so it’s important to use HTTPS whenever possible.
Let’s Encrypt is a certificate authority that makes it easier for website owners to get SSL certificates. This authority offers free SSL certificates that can be used with cPanel hosting providers and other servers or VPS providers. The main steps are: Install a free SSL certificate using your current hosting provider, update WordPress URLs, and deploy your website on HTTPS.
SSL certificates have a limited lifetime and must be renewed before expiration. If you are a WordPress website owner, you may be interested in using Let’s Encrypt to get a free SSL certificate.
Using Let’s Encrypt to get a free SSL certificate
Due to the growing popularity of Let’s Encrypt, several WordPress hosting companies have already begun offering built-in quick Let’s Encrypt SSL setup.
The most straightforward approach to integrate a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt into WordPress is to sign up with a web host that has a built-in interface.
Regrettably, not all web hosting providers offer Let’s Encrypt. The following is a complete list of hosting companies that support Let’s Encrypt currently.
If your hosting provider offers automatic Let’s Encrypt integration
It’s simple to integrate Let’s Encrypt with your website if your hosting company supports it. It is not even necessary for it to be a hosting provider.
Additionally, you will not need to worry about certificate renewal with Let’s Encrypt as it will be handled automatically.
- Log into your cPanel administration panel and scroll down to the security area. Once there, you’d select the Let’s Encrypt symbol.
- This will take you to the installation page for Let’s Encrypt. You’ll need to choose the domain name you’d like to use the SSL certificate with.
- You now have the option to click the install button. Let’s Encrypt will create an SSL certificate specifically for your website. When the process is complete, you will get a success message.
That’s it! Pretty easy. You have successfully installed a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt onto your WordPress site, and you are not required to do much else.
Nevertheless, your WordPress website is not yet fully functional. To begin, you’ll want to modify existing WordPress URLs and address any issues with insecure content afterward. You may read all about it below in this article.
If your hosting provider doesn’t offer automatic Let’s Encrypt integration
If your web hosting provider does not already integrate Let’s Encrypt, you will need to follow a relatively lengthy approach.
However, there is no reason to panic. I’ll demonstrate an easy method for adding SSL to your WordPress website even if your hosting or CDN does not support integration.
This approach varies according to the site host. The majority of hosting companies include support documentation that details the process. Additionally, you may contact their support team for comprehensive instructions or have them perform the task for you.
Certain hosting providers will handle the SSL certificate installation for you, and you only need to provide them with your private key, certificate and certificate authority.
You must supply them with a certificate for every domain. And in the case of Let’s Encrypt, you must contact them every ninety days to renew each site’s certificate.
Installing a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate manually via cPanel
If your web hosting provider doesn’t offer automatic Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, you can still install them manually on your website. Here are all the steps:
- To begin, navigate to SSL For Free. It is entirely secure to use, and they collaborate with Let’s Encrypt to provide certificates. Please enter your domain name, including or without the www. SSL For Free will also add an alternate version to the certificate; therefore, it is not that important.
- Then click the button Create a Free SSL Certificate. You will next be prompted to confirm that you control the domain to which the certificate is to be added. You have the option of using Automatic FTP Verification or Manual FTP Verification. If you choose Automatic FTP Verification, you will be prompted to input the FTP credentials for the domain’s server account, such as the username and password, and confirmation will automatically be carried out.
- After ensuring that everything is in order, click the Download SSL Certificate button. If you haven’t checked the I have my own CSR box – you will be automatically provided one by the authority. You will now receive a private key, a certificate, and a CA in the ZIP file. You should give this file to your hosting company if you plan on having them install the certificate for you or extract it if you intend to install the certificate yourself. Additionally, you may choose the option to get an email notification when your certificate is due to expire. If you forgot, the certificate issued by Let’s Encrypt is suitable for 90 days. Following that, you must renew it using the same procedure.
Now that you’ve obtained the SSL certificate, it’s necessary to install it on your website on your cPanel control panel. Here are the steps:
- Access your cPanel control panel.
- In the Security section, locate and select SSL/TLS Manager.
- Under the Install and Manage SSL for your website (HTTPS) menu, choose ‘Manage SSL Sites.’ If the Manage SSL sites option is not available, contact your hosting provider and request that they install the certificate for you.
- Copy the certificate code you got, including —–BEGIN CERTIFICATE—– and —–END CERTIFICATE—–, then paste it into the section labeled ‘Certificate: (CRT).’
- You may also click the Autofill by Certificate button alongside the supplied certificate. The system will attempt to get both the domain name and private key. After selecting the domain from the drop-down list, you may also manually insert the certificate and private key into the respective areas. Bear in mind to include the certificate and key’s Begin/End headers and footers.
- Copy and paste the Certificate Authority Bundle into the Certificate Authority Bundle (CABUNDLE) box.
- To install the certificate, click the ‘Install Certificate’ option.
That’s it! Test your certificate and visit your site using the HTTPS protocol in your browser to ensure that it displays correctly.
How do you update your website URL to HTTPS?
Following the free SSL certificate installation from Let’s Encrypt, the next step is to redirect your WordPress URL from HTTP to HTTPS. The HTTP protocol is used by a regular website that does not have an SSL certificate. This is often indicated by the HTTP word in web URLs, as follows:
HTTPS is the protocol used by secure websites that have SSL certificates. This implies their URLs will look something like this: https://www.example.com.
Without modifying the addresses on your WordPress site, you will be unable to use SSL, rendering your site insecure for gathering sensitive data.
If you’re working on a brand-new website, you can simply navigate to the Settings section of your WordPress admin area. There, you would change the WordPress URL and site URL boxes to include the HTTPS protocol.
Make sure to click the Save Changes button to apply new settings once finished.
If your site has been up for some time, it has likely been already indexed by search engines. Additionally, other sites may have linked to it using the HTTP protocol in the URL. In that case – you must forward all traffic to the HTTPS URL.
All you need to do is install and activate the Really Simple SSL plugin. This plugin will dynamically detect and configure your site to use an SSL certificate, and you won’t have to make any other modifications. Additionally, the plugin will deal with the potential issue of insecure content.
Mixed content problem
Whenever you activate an SSL certificate on a domain, all pages, and resources, including pictures, are provided through the HTTPS protocol by default.
However, if the SSL is activated on an already-used domain, you may have issues with mixed content. Mixed content occurs when some of your site’s content is still sent through HTTP while the rest is delivered via the more secure HTTPS. Modern web browsers will show a warning in this instance, prompting your users to perceive your site as vulnerable.
SSL Check is a free application that will check your entire website for insecure images, scripts, and CSS files. You can then conduct corrective measures based on this information. Why No Padlock? is an alternative to inspecting individual pages.
Additionally, you may check for the padlock icon in your browser’s address bar while browsing your site. When you visit a section with mixed content, it will display a warning. If you come across such a page, you can determine what is causing it by inspecting the console in the Chrome or Firefox developer tools.
Nowadays, HTTPS is a requirement. It protects your users’ privacy, enables you to leverage new browser capabilities, and preserves access to old services.
SSL is a must-have if you run a WordPress site that handles sensitive data. Without data encryption, the danger of intercepting your client’s information is simply too high.
Apart from being a trustworthy service provider, the additional layer of protection also serves as a favorable signal to search engines. Therefore, if you’re not doing it for your clients, do it for the rankings.
As you witnessed, getting an SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt is simple and completely free, and there’s no reason not to have an SSL certificate installed on all your websites.
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