Install SSL certificate on WordPress website for SEO boost and to secure data transfer of your website.
When ranking, a boost is given to the website, which is secured with HTTPS protocol according to Google and other search engines.
The SSL will also encrypt and decrypt data transfer between the server and the browser. This is because protected socket layers encrypt data transfer, protecting websites from various forms of theft. It makes “spying” and stealing information in the cloud even more complicated.
Installing a WordPress SSL certificate is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to shield your users while still improving the search ranking of your sites.
In this article, you’ll learn how and when to use an SSL certificate for your WordPress account and how to do it with the SiteGround admin panels, cPanel, and a plugin.
What is an SSL certificate?
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is global standard security technology. This allows a web browser and a webserver to communicate in an encrypted manner. The padlock and the HTTPS protocol are enabled when you install one on your website (webserver). This enables reliable communication between a web server and a browser.
Three Easy Ways you can use to install SSL on your WordPress site for free
Previously, getting SSL meant paying for an SSL license, which may be more expensive than your hosting. However, using Let’s Encrypt, you can now get an SSL certificate for free. You can quickly connect SSL to your site using the SiteGround admin tools or cPanel, or you can use a WordPress plugin (also free). Let’s take a look at each approach individually.
Note: if you are doing it for the first time create a backup of your website.
Method 1: Add a free SSL certificate to the WordPress site?
- Step I: Begin by logging into the SiteGround account and selecting the Websites tab to connect SSL to the WordPress site.
- Step II: To use tools for your site, go to Site Tools > Security > SSL Manager.
Pick the site to which you want to add SSL in the Select Domain region.
- Step III: Find the one you want to use from the Select SSL dropdown list.
- Step IV: The below are the three possibilities: (check the prerequisites here)
- Let’s Encrypt: This is a free SSL certificate that will meet the needs of the vast majority of websites.
- Let’s Encrypt Wildcard: This is a wildcard SSL certificate that allows you to connect subdomains to your site and have them use the SSL certificate. If you have a multisite network of subdomains, this is useful.
- Premium Wildcard: includes additional authentication capabilities. There would be an additional fee.
- Step V: More information is available on SiteGround’s SSL certificates tab.
- Step VI: You’ll see a notification that your request is being processed after you’ve chosen the alternative you want.
- Step VII: Since the request is submitted to a queue, and there could be other SiteGround account holders making requests simultaneously, this will take a while. You’ll see a progress message until the request is complete.
- Step VIII: If you go to the SiteGround website and click the Configure HTTPS tab, you’ll be taken to a tutorial covering various website systems. Simply skip to the section below about configuring WordPress settings to use HTTPS.
Note: Similarly, other hosting providers also provide in-depth articles on HTTPS configuration; check their website for more info
Method 2: Adding free SSL certificate with a Plugin
If your hosting company does not provide Lets Encrypt, you can still install a free plugin that will enable you to add a free SSL certificate.
- Step I: To add a new plugin, go to Plugins > Add New. Then install the plugin.
- Step II: Type SSL into the search window. There are a variety of SSL plugins available. We will use The SSL Zen plugin here.
- Step III: To activate the plugin, press the Install Now button and then the Activate button, which will appear after installing the plugin.
- Step IV: You’ll be taken to the SSL Zen screen once the plugin has been installed. If you aren’t still there or need to return to it, go to the admin menu and choose SSL Zen.
- Step V: To get to the configuration screen, click the Use Free Version icon at the top of the tab.
- Step VI: Check that the domain and email address are correct and the www option if you want to add HTTPS protocol to that. To proceed, click the Next button.
- Step VII: The following process is to confirm that you are the owner of the domain. To upload a file to a new folder, follow the onscreen instructions.
- Step VIII: Then, you need to install a certificate on your website. Make sure the directories and files are added to your site’s public_html folder. You’ll need FTP access to your site or the File Manager function in cPanel to do this.
- Step IX: Now, Return to the plugin setup screen and verify each of the files by clicking the Verify button next to them. The plugin can verify that the files are in their proper locations. Click the Next button when you’re done.
- Step X: You can download your certificates if you want, or they’ll be emailed to your WordPress admin email address as well. To end, click the Next button once more.
- Step XI: While your site now has an SSL license, you must also ensure that WordPress is using HTTPS Protocol in the browser, which we will be dealing with in the last section of this article.
- Step XII: Now skip to configuring WordPress settings to use HTTPS to enable SSL on your website.
Method 3: Install SSL certificate on WordPress Website through cPanel
If you want to use cPanel for SSL, you can use the cPanel interface to add a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
- Step I: Open cPanel by signing in. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the Security section.
- Step II: To access the Let’s Encrypt manager, click the Let’s Encrypt button. Go to the section where you can install a new Let’s Encrypt certificate.
- Step III: Select the domain to which you want to apply for a certificate in the Domain area. After that, choose a certificate form.
- Step IV: You can choose from two options:
- Let’s Encrypt SSL is a good option for most websites.
- Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL is helpful for sites with sub domains, such as multisite networks.
- Step V: Select the one you wish to install and press the Install button.
- Step VI: A success notification will appear, indicating that your request has been added to the list. Then press the OK button.
- Step VII: It won’t appear in the Manage Let’s Encrypt Certificates section at first because the request is in a queue of other users who have already requested certificates. However, it will quickly change to reflect that.
- Step VIII: Now skip to configuring WordPress settings to use HTTPS to enable SSL on your website.
Now you can customize your WordPress settings to use HTTPS in the section below.
Lastly, to use HTTPS, you need to configure WordPress Settings (don’t forget this part)
Enabling SSL is one part while it’s of no use if your WordPress website doesn’t serve on HTTPS protocol.
So, you need to instruct WordPress to use HTTPS protocol rather than HTTP protocol.
For that, you need to follow these steps:
- Step I: Go to Settings > General in the WordPress admin. Locate the fields for Site URL and WordPress URL.
- Step II: Replace the words HTTP:// with HTTPS:// in the two areas.
- Step III: To save the updates, scroll down and press the Save changes button.
- Step IV: Since your browser has saved the login cookie for the HTTP version, you’ll need to log in again.
- Step V: The padlock icon will be seen, and HTTPS protocol will now appear on your site.
Installing a WordPress SSL certificate isn’t as difficult as you would assume. It may help users trust your pages while still improving how the rest of the world sees your site in search engines. Consider the cost as an investment in your website’s marketing skills. By having SSL installed on your domain, you may be able to make your content more accessible than competitors. Furthermore, because Google has begun to give SSL-enabled sites more weight and ranking, it is a good idea to make the switch if you haven’t already.