I recently came across a service that provides free SSL on WordPress. That service is called Let’s Encrypt. There is also a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to get things going with Let’s Encrypt called WP Encrypt.
Why is this important?
Search engines like when you have that nice HTTPS in front of your web address. Additionally, if you have an E-Commerce website or are accepting payments through your website for something then you should most definitely have SSL support to make sure that data is secure.
How to get setup
Install the WP Encrypt plugin on your WordPress website. Once installed you will go to Settings > WP Encrypt in the WordPress admin menu. Enter your organization name, country name, and country code (just leave as is if US). Make sure the “Auto-Generate Certificate” and “Expire Warnings” options are checked. Then hit the “Save Changes” button at the bottom.
The page will refresh and you will scroll to the bottom and see the “Register Account” button. Press that button!
Once the page refreshes again, you will scroll to the bottom again and click the “Generate Certificate” button.
The page will refresh once again and you will see where the certificate information has been saved.
From here you will go to your cPanel on your hosting account and navigate to your “File Manager” under “Files”. Click that link to move on to your website files.
In your file manager you will navigate to the file path that was shown after you generated your certificate. Once you’re there you will see the following…
You will download the following three files.
Open these files within your editor of choice, and then go back to your cPanel homepage and find the “SSL/TSL” option under “Security”. You’ll click that link to take you to the next page.
You will then click where it says “Manage SSL Sites” under “Install and Manage SSL for your site (HTTPS)”.
Next you will install the SSL certificate for your website. To do this you will scroll down and select the domain you wish to install SSL on from the dropdown seen below. You will also see several text boxes. This is where you will enter the information found in the three files you downloaded.
I have only show one of the text boxes in the image above, but there are two more below it. Go to your editor with the cert.pem, chain.pem, and private.pem files open and copy the information one-by-one, and then paste it in the following boxes.
- Certificate: (CRT) – cert.pem
- Private Key (KEY) – private.pem
- Certificate Authority Bundle: (CABUNDLE) – chain.pem
Then you will click the “Install Certificate” button at the bottom of the page to install the SSL certificate on your website. You should receive a message that looks something like this…
Click “Ok” and then head on back to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Settings > General. Here you will update both the “WordPress Address” and “Site Address” by adding the “s” to the end of “http” at the front of your url listed in both.
Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click save, and you will have successfully installed an SSL certificate on your website. Once you save you will be prompted to login to your WordPress dashboard, but you will see the “https” in front of your web address in the browser. Please note that it can take a couple of minutes for things to update. Additionally, some of the screens I have shown you may look slightly different depending on your web host. You should still see something similar to what I have shown.
Hopefully this article will help you to install an SSL certificate on your website. You may find that your web host supports Let’s Encrypt already and can install the certificate for you, but in the case that your host does not support it this is the way to make it happen. Please also keep in mind that if you do have an E-Commerce site it is still recommended to purchase a premium SSL certificate to protect yourself from cases of fraud. Additionally, please feel free to donate to Let’s Encrypt. They are providing free SSL and it is nice to give back. Please leave comments if you run into any issues along the way.