Before we tell you how to get free SSL for WordPress, let’s start with an explanation of SSL and why it’s important for your business.
What is SSL
Imagine you’re having a conversation with your financial advisor in a crowded coffee shop; and she asks you for your social security number (SSN) for an investment application. Instead of blurting out your SSN for others to hear, you write it directly on the application for her. In this instance, you developed a method of communicating information that no one else could easily intercept.
When a website asks a person for sensitive information (i.e. credit card information), it’s important to have a method to scramble (encrypt) the data so that it can only be read by the intended website. SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates provide a method of scrambling information entered on websites so that it can only be read by the good guys.
Why you should use SSL on your WordPress site
Not using an SSL certificate on your website may prevent users from reaching your site and can also drive them away when they get there. Google search ranks and displays websites based on whether they have SSL certificates or not. Obtaining an SSL certificate may increase the number of people who see and visit your site.
Additionally, some web browsers warn their users when a website doesn’t have the proper security. A message such as “This page is not secure” or “Your connection to this site is not private” can drive away potential customers.
How to get free SSL for WordPress with the SiteGround Hosting Service
In the past, SSL certificates were issued for a fee by certificate authorities. In early 2016, Let’s Encrypt started providing certificates for free with the goal of making more internet sites secure. If you use the SiteGround web hosting service like WP Hero does, you can get free SSL certificates in a few steps, as detailed below.
When you turn on Let’s Encrypt in SiteGround, you’ll obtain a Domain Validated (DV) certificate type; it displays that tiny green padlock next to the site address. A DV certificate is the lowest validation level. It means that you have proved your right to administratively manage the domain to the certificate authority (i.e. Let’s Encrypt).
SiteGround offers a stronger certificate type called Extended Validation (EV) as well, which displays the company name in the address bar of the browser and company information in the certificate. However, this is not offered for free with Let’s Encrypt. Many banks use EV certificates; and according to DigiCert, they are handy when you “need to communicate a high level of trust to your users, such as shopping carts, login pages, and other sensitive front-facing pages”.
Making the Change
- To install a Let’s Encrypt DV certificate, login to your SiteGround cPanel and scroll down to the Security section.
- Select the Let’s Encrypt icon.
- Once loaded, select the domain name that requires a certificate and enter a valid email address.
- When finished, press the Install button to proceed.
- SiteGround processes your request and confirms that you have a working SSL certificate for your domain name.
- The final step is to move your WordPress URL(s) from HTTP to HTTPS.
Also note that if you have Google Analytics installed on your WordPress site, you’ll need to update its property settings so that the default URL uses HTTPS.
That’s it! You’ve just scored free SSL for WordPress like a boss.
Disclosure: From time to time, our blog posts will contain affiliate links for services we actually use and recommend. This means if you click on the link and purchase something, we will receive an affiliate commission.
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