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WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH SSL CERTIFICATES?
For the last couple of years, Google has been getting increasingly vocal about the importance of sites having SSL certificates. In practical terms, this means stepping up from http://domain.com to httpS://domain.com.
If you’re unclear on exactly what an SSL certificate is, check this Wikipedia page.
And while an SSL certificate will NOT stop bot attacks or malware embedded within rogue WP plugins, it DOES secure the interception of data between your (visitors’) computer and other websites. This is especially important for online banking or shopping with use of a credit card; if you are running an eCommerce store online, having an SSL is absolutely ESSENTIAL!
DO I REALLY NEED AN SSL CERTIFICATE?
Though Google has suggested that websites with SSL enabled should see a slight rankings boost, actual evidence of that is pretty inconclusive so far.
Disregarding that for now, adding an SSL Certificate to your website is still very important. Consider how your website's visitors, your potential customers, will perceive the trustworthiness of your site.
In short, more and more people online are getting tech-savvy and to them, sites with SSL enabled do look more trustworthy, professional, and reliable.
And anything that you as a solo entrepreneur can do with your website to increase trustworthiness can only help conversions, and don’t we all want to improve our sales conversions?
BUT ISN’T SSL COSTLY & A MAJOR HASSLE TO INSTALL?
The big problem with SSL isn't really the cost because Certificates can be bought for under $10 each per year, here's an example below;
The real trouble is in actually installing and properly configuring SSL Certificates with a correctly-filled Certificate Signed Request (CSR). These must be completed properly in order to ensure that the website works properly with the new httpS URL and is a difficult, time-consuming task. Think HOURS, not minutes!
The whole process is painful and prone to problems, especially for webmasters and solopreneurs who are not very technically-skilled (i.e. most of us).
THANKFULLY, THE SSL GAME HAS CHANGED!
Why? Because Google, Automattic (owner of WordPress), Cisco, HP, Mozilla and many other major tech companies have jointly sponsored a new, free SSL initiative:
This new initiative is called Lets Encrypt and you can read more about this new program here at letsencrypt.org.
These new SSL certificates are completely free but the technical implementation must still be done...
We at WPX have created our own software to fully automate adding Lets Encrypt's free SSL Certificates to any or all of your websites hosted with us, even in bulk! All this can be done with just a few clicks (see our video guide below)!
Our automated SSL installation takes less than 60 seconds to complete, including the necessary 301 redirects from your non-SSL URLs to the new httpS one!
Using our Auto-install SSL feature, you will:
Let's Encrypt SSL's expire automatically every 3 months however, our Auto-install SSL feature will also renew them automatically for you!
You can see in our video above just how fast and easy it is with WPX Hosting, usually under 60 seconds! You can also follow our step-by-step guide below;
HOW DO I INSTALL MY FREE SSL?
Once your account is ready, log in and follow the steps below (or watch our video at the top of this article)!
Assuming that your domain is correctly set up, including its Nameservers and complete DNS propagation (which can take up to 48 hours), then inside your WPX Hosting Dashboard, select the Websites/SSL tab on the left and then select SSL (2) and click Enable:
You will now see an information bubble advising you to choose between our free Let's Encrypt SSL or a commercial SSL certificate. Close this information box and proceed;
When you close the information bubble, the small green SSL padlock icon (1) will appear next to your domain/site. Now click on the SSL dropdown menu and select Install FREE Certificate (2);
After this, you will see a reminder message that the Nameservers for this domain at your domain registrar (e.g. GoDaddy, Namecheap) must be pointed to the correct WPX Hosting Nameservers in order for the SSL Certificate to install properly. Otherwise, you will see an API error; your correct Nameservers can be found in the Service Details tab on the left and then at the bottom of that menu;
When ready, select Install (1) and a browser warning will appear stating that this new SSL Certificate will overwrite any previous SSL. You probably don’t have an SSL on this site already though, so select Yes (2) to proceed and install the new SSL Certificate;
Your free SSL is now installed and if you enter the httpS:// version of your domain, the SSL displays as active;
There are two final steps though!
We must redirect the non-SSL versions of your domain URL (www.domain.com and domain.com) to the SSL version (httpS://domain.com).
Log in to your WordPress website's admin area and to go the Settings → General (1) page to change the URLs to the httpS version for BOTH the WordPress Address (URL) and the Site Address (URL) (2); you may add www if that's your preferred site URL. Don't forget to scroll down and click Save Changes when you're done;
This last step requires us to create 301 redirects from your non-SSL URLs to the SSL (incl. www version) URLs.
To do this, we should add and activate the free Really Simple SSL plugin, either directly from their website or more easily via the Plugins page in your WordPress page!
Now go to Settings → SSL (1) and see your Configuration (2) to confirm that your SSL is enabled correctly;
Remember that you can AUTOMATICALLY install as many free SSL certificates as you wish on sites hosted with WPX Hosting.
BUT WHAT IF I'M USING CLOUDFLARE?
Note: If you are using Cloudflare on your domain, the SSL option in your Cloudflare account should be set to Full(Strict)!
In the example below, you can see from where you can select the SSL option;
On a side note, did you know that WPX Hosting is the ONLY WordPress hosting service that Thrive Themes has ever endorsed?
You can read what they wrote about us here.
We also perform free website migrations to us from your old host within 24 hours! Speak with our 24/7 Support Team to find out more.
Create your new WPX Hosting account here now and get instant access to free, unlimited SSL certificates for life;
If at any point you get stuck or aren't sure how to install your SSL, just raise a support ticket with us here:
and we'll answer ASAP.
To learn more about our service and SSL Certificates (you can also visit our WordPress hosting in New Zealand).