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How to Add a Free, Valid SSL Certificate to Your WordPress Site?5 min read

In case you don’t know, Google displays all websites as “Not Secure” which doesn’t have SSL certificates. It means you might lose customers’ faith. As SSL certificate is here to protect your data, it is actually needed to accept online payment. Normally, you may have to pay a hefty price to buy SSL certificates individually. If you are just making a business website or start a blog, you might want to keep costs down. There are different ways to save more on website by getting a free SSL certificate. Here’s how to get free SSL certificate for WordPress site and get started.

About SSL

SSL refers to Secure Sockets Layer. It is basically an internet protocol to secure data transfer between the website and browser. By visiting a website, every user transfers information. This information can be sensitive sometimes like card details, bank information or login. Information can be hacked if you use the normal http. This is where you need to use https or SSL. SSL certificate should be issued by a recognized authority. It is highlighted and verified in the address bar of your browser with padlock sign and https.

Do I need SSL Certificate for WordPress Site?

HTTPS/SSL is needed for all websites to be used on the web. But it is especially recommended for websites that collect user info like payment information, login details, and credit cards. If you are going to run membership website, ecommerce store, or need users to login, SSL certification is needed right away. A lot of online payment services need your site to use HTTPs/SSL before getting payments.

Along with security, SSL certificate also leads positive impression of brand among users. It is also recommended to use SSL by Google and, according to research, SSL enables websites to rank higher. If your website doesn’t use SSL certificate, users’ browsers show that the website is not secure. It affects user’s trust and brand image on your site.

How SSL Certificate Works?

Now that you have learned about SSL and why you need it, you might be wondering how it works. SSL secures information as it encrypts the data transfer between the website and user’s browser. When a user visits HTTPS/SSL website, their browser verifies if SSL certificate of the website is valid. If everything is fine, browser uses the public key of the website to encrypt the data. Then, the data is sent back to the server where it is decrypted with secret private key and public key.

Cost of SSL Certificates

SSL certificate cost varies from one authority to another. Their pricing could be from $50 to $200 per year. Some service providers offer add-on services with certificates which may affect cost of SSL certificate. If you are about to buy SSL certificate, it is recommended to use Siteground. They are one of the best domain registration providers in the world.

Their hosting plans are also very affordable. After buying a hosting plan, you can ask them to install SSL certificate for you. Make sure you get hosting plan with SSL certificate for free.

Getting SSL certificate for free?

There are many website owners who avoid SSL because of additional cost. So, a lot of small websites become vulnerable to information and data theft. Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit project which can fix it by adding a free certificate. This certificate authority provides a free SSL certificate to the website owners. If maximum websites use SSL, internet can become a safer place. It quickly earned support of several leading companies like Facebook, Google, WordPress.com, Shopify, etc.

But the problem is that installing free SSL certificate is difficult for a beginner by Let’s Encrypt as it needs server systems and coding knowledge. Luckily, there are many WordPress hosting companies that offer free SSL certificate included in hosting plans. Some of the top hosting companies offering SSL certificates are Siteground, HostGator, WP Engine and others. 

If you are using one of these hosting providers, you can simply turn on SSL certificate for free from hosting dashboard. Login to your cPanel in your hosting account and go to “Security” section.

According to your hosting company, the control panel of your web hosting may be different than the process above. If you can’t find the free SSL option, you may ask hosting provider to activate it.

If you don’t get the free SSL from your hosting company and wondering whether you should switch to another web host, you can read our guide about 7 Signs to Change Your Web Host.

Steps to Install Free SSL Certificate and Set up WordPress

Once you have free SSL certificate enabled, you may have to set up WordPress to use HTTPs rather than HTTP in all URLs. Install and activate the plugin named Really Simple SSL on the website.

Once it is activated, plugin will see if SSL certificate is enabled. Then, HTTP or HTTPs will be turned on and change your website settings to use HTTPs/SSL. To make your website secure, you need to ensure that URLs of the site loads with HTTPS protocol. With this plugin, you can fix the URLs when page is being loaded.

Even though a single URL loads with insecure protocol, browser treats the whole website as not secure. To fix your URLs, you will have to use the inspect tool function of the browser to find them and replace with correct HTTPS URL.

With Really Simple SSL, you can easily set up SSL certificate for free in WordPress. This is why it is recommended for all users.  When page loads, it can catch the insecure URL. So, it may increase the load time of your page a bit. So, it is wise to use the manual method to set up free SSL if you are worried about WordPress speed.

We hope this guide has helped you to get SSL certificate for free with your hosting plan for your WordPress site.

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