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How To Create Free SSL Certificate For Your Website

By going through this article you will be able to know what is an SSL certificate and why it is important for a website. I will also show you how to create a free SSL certificate for your website and all the steps required to add SSL certificate to your domain.

Let's begin...

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate , also called a Digital Certificate, creates a secure link between a website and a visitor's browser.

When SSL certificate is installed on a web server, it activates the padlock (a lock just before the website url in the address bar) and the HTTPS protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.

Why it is important to add SSL certificate to your website?

Using the normal HTTP protocol in your website means that any information entered by your users on your site can be hijacked by hackers.

If your site accepts credit card transactions, data transfer and login information from your users then you must ensure that all the information entered are secure.

When a SSL certificate is successfully installed on your server, the application protocol (also known as HTTP) will change to HTTPs, where the ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’.

In the address bar a padlock sign and HTTPS instead of HTTP is displayed just before the website URL. See the image given below.

ssl padlock sign

If your website displays padlock and HTTPS in its URL, it builds trust among your site visitors and assures them that whatever information they are providing in the site are safe and secure.

Google also recommends using SSL certificate in your site and research shows that SSL-enabled websites rank slightly higher in search results.

Also, if you are not using an SSL certificate in your site then Google Chrome will show your users that your website is not secure.

Thus, even if your site is not accepting any kind of payment from users or any other kind of information, you must use SSL in your site for ranking factor and users trust.

How does SSL certificate keeps information secure?

When a user visits a secure website having SSL certificate, for example, https://technicalwall.com, their browser first verifies if the website’s SSL certificate is valid.

Now, if a user enters any confidential information like credit card details or bank account information, then SSL protects these information by encrypting the data transfer between a user’s browser and the website.

How to create free SSL certificate?

Any site which doesn't accepts payments from its user can get free SSL certificate from Let's Encrypt.

However, a site which accepts payment from credit card, debit card and netbanking or any other type of bank account information must use PAID SSL certificate as it provides much more security than a free SSL certificate. 

Thus, if your site doesn't accept any banking information from its users then you can use SSL certificate from Let's Encrypt. Let's Certificate is a new Certificate Authority (CA) that offers FREE SSL certificates.

Nowadays, many WordPress hosting companies are now offering free SSL certificate with all their hosting plans.

Hosting company a2hosting.com provides free SSL certificate using Let’s Encrypt. Thus, if you are using one among these hosting providers then you are saved from the hassles of installing the free SSL certificate on your own.

See some of the best WordPress hosting companies that offer free SSL certificate with their hosting plans are.

However, if you are not using a hosting provider which provides free SSL certificates then you are left with two options.

Either you may change your hosting provider and move on to other as mentioned above or create SSL certificate on your own.

If you don't want to change your current hosting provider then read on to see how you can create free SSL certificate from sslforfree.com.

Sslforfree.com generate certificates using Let's Encrypt ACME server by using domain validation.

Visit sslforfree.com and create an account, though it is not mandatory. An account will help you to see all the certificates you have created and get renewal reminders.

Now, enter the url of your domain for which you want to create the certificate. Then, select Create Free SSL Certificate.

sslforfree

Now you will be provided with following three options to verify your domain:

  1. Automatic FTP Verification
  2. Manual Verification
  3. Manual Verification (DNS)

You can use any of the options but I will show you how to verify your domain with the second option i.e. Manual Verification.

Select Manual Verification, then, select Manually Verify Domain. You will see the following screen,

ssl upload verification

Select, Download File #1 and Download File #2 to download these two files. Now, login to your cPanel and go to Filemanager.

Create a folder named .well-known under public_html folder.

Now, create another folder named acme-challenge under .well-known folder and upload the two downloaded files to acme-challenge folder.

public-html

After uploading both the files in acme-challenge folder, go back to sslforfree.com and click on the two links (see image above).

If random alphanumeric characters are displayed as shown below then your upload is now verified.

alphanumeric-characters

Now, select Download SSL Certificate and now your certificate has been successfully generated.

Here, copy all the three codes and keep in separate place.

privatekey cabundle

How to add free SSL certificate for your website?

Now, again to your cPanel and select SSL/TLS.

ssl-tsl

Now, select Manage SSL sites.

install ssl

Now, under Manage Installed SSL Websites page, scroll down and select your domain name.

Now copy (1) Certificate code in Certificate (CRT) box, (2) Private Key code in Private Key (KEY) box and (3) CA Bundle code in Certificate Authority Bundle: (CABUNDLE) box.

Then, select Install Certificate. You will get a message that SSL certificate has been successfully installed.

Additional Tips:

(i) My website is still not going to HTTPS or Secure after a successful installation.

Solution: Copy this code into the .htaccess file under public_html folder in Filemanager.

# Canonical HTTPS/non-WWW 
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
 RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off [OR]
 RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.example\.com [NC]
 RewriteRule (.*) https://example.com/$1 [L,R=301]
 </IfModule>

Replace "example" with your domain name.

(ii) Who no Padlock sign?

Solution: If your website is loading fine but shows a red "Not Secure" or "Insecure" in the address bar after installation then your website most likely has insecure content which needs to be remedied.

One of the common issue is that you have one or more http link instead of https in your webpage. Just change http to https and you will see the above error has been resolved.

If you still see this problem, then you can try going to https://whynopadlock.com to see issues and fix.

Conclusion

I have tried to explain the importance of adding SSL certificate in your website and also all the steps required to add an SSL certificate in your website. If you have any question or suggestion please comment below.

Mamta Choudhary


Mamta

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Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you click on one of these links and purchase an item, we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my disclosures here.

How To Create Free SSL Certificate For Your Website
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