One of the most important components of online business is creating a trusted environment where potential customers feel confident in making transactions. That is why when building websites which deal with personal data, security is crucial because it is vital to the success of any website. Enter SSL certificates.
SSL certificates create a foundation of trust by establishing a secure connection which allows for data exchange over the internet like the HTTP. For a website to be certified secure, it must have an SSL certificate.
To assure visitors that their connection is secure, browsers provide special visual cues that serve as indicators — anything from a green padlock to branded URL bar. Most SSL certificates are quite expensive, but luckily, there are ways to get a free SSL certificate to reduce your website cost.
What Is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and, in short, it’s the standard technology for keeping an internet connection secure and safeguarding any sensitive data that is being sent between two systems, preventing criminals from reading and modifying any information transferred, including potential personal details. The two systems can be a server and a client (for example, a shopping website and browser) or server to server (for example, an application with personal, identifiable information or with payroll information). This is done by making sure that any data transferred between users and sites, or between two systems remain impossible to read. Encryption algorithms are used to scramble data in transit, preventing hackers from reading it as it is sent over the connection. This information could be anything sensitive or personal which can include credit card numbers and other financial information, names and addresses. So when paying for SSL, a certificate is given referred to as SSL certificate, which certifies your connections as secure.
Why are the SSL Certificates Necessary?
SSL / HTTPS is recommended for all websites but is extremely necessary for those websites that pool sensitive user information like login details, payment information, credit cards, and more. If you are running an e-commerce store, a membership website, or require users to log in, then an SSL certificate is imperative.
Most online payment services require your website to use SSL/HTTPs before you can receive payments. Beyond the provision of security, SSL certificates give users the impression that your brand is safe to do business with. Google recommends the use of SSL, so if your website does not use an SSL certificate, Google Chrome will display your website as an unsafe place to visit. That explains why SSL-enabled websites rank slightly higher in search results. After all, who wouldn’t want to transact business safely?
HOW TO GET FREE SSL?
A lot of website owners are reluctant to use SSL due to the additional costs. This hesitation has cost a lot of small websites data and information. Not long ago a non-profit project called Let’s Encrypt chose to make these certificates easier for website owners to obtain by launching a free certificate authority.
Consequently, the internet has become a safer place with the proliferation of websites using SSL. The bad news is that installing the free SSL certificate by Let’s Encrypt could be daunting for newbie users because it requires coding and server systems knowledge.
The good news is that all of the best WordPress hosting companies now offer free SSL certificate with all their hosting plans (some are using Let’s Encrypt). Any one of the hosting companies listed below will make it easier for you to install the free SSL certificate on your own:
They all allow you to create an SSL certificate on their control panel with Let’s Encrypt. Just take the following steps:
- Login to the websites control panel
- Go to the “Security” option
- Find the “Lets Encrypt” option or secure “Hosting” option and then click on it
- Select your Domain Name and fill other options such as email address if asked
- Click install or Add Now Option
- Save the certificate after it has been created
There a few WordPress plugins like WP Encrypt that allows you to create an SSL certificate with Lets Encrypt. However, since they are not actively supported, it is not advisable to use them because they may sabotage the security of your website.
Activating Your SSL Certificate
After creating your SSL certificate, you need to configure your website and load the certificate in order to activate it:
- Open the CPanel of your website
- Open the FTP or File Manager
- Copy and Paste the certificate files in the public-HTML folder of your website
- Close FTP and go back to the CPanel dashboard
- Search for SSL
- Click Install and Manage SSL for your site
- Copy the code from cert.pem, private.pem, and chain.pem
- Paste the code in the respective boxes for each one of them. This automatically activates the SSL certificate on your website