What is a SSL certificate?
SSL certificates, or just SSL, are short for Secure Sockets Layer. You can read this on WikiPedia:
An SSL certificate is a type of electronic ID. Just as people can authenticate themselves with id cards or passports, for example, a website can authenticate itself with an SSL certificate. Through a web browser, a type of authentication of the certificate can be done to see who owns it. In order to receive card payments on a website, it is mandatory to hold an SSL certificate. SSL certificates are based on the technology and standard SSL developed by Netscape in 1994.
The web host Oderland writes this about SSL/TLS:
SSL/TLS is a technique used to encrypt traffic between the web server and the user’s browser. It is used when sending sensitive data between your page and the user, for example, it is common to encrypt the connection when checking out in an online store when the user sends personal data. With an encrypted connection, no outsider can spy on the data sent. However, it has become increasingly popular to encrypt all traffic sent between the visitor’s computer and the web server, not just what is extra sensitive.
A lot of users also look for the small padlock to the left of the address field in the browser. Web pages with an open padlock (read: websites with everything but a locked padlock!) are by many users considered to be unreliable and therefore they simply leave the page. Even worse is this picture (with Swedish content, but I think you get the meaning):
No good advertising for your business to let visitors be met by this!
How to fix an SSL certificate?
Well, you can purchase a SSL certificate. One of the most trusted is Comodo, but then you’ll also have to be prepared to pay up hefty. Their cheapest certificate starts at $79 per year. There are, however, free SSL certificates, and you can often get it through the web host you already have!
Free SSL – cPanel
There are several web hosts that use cPanel. SiteGround, Oderland, Miss Hosting, Webbdo, and certainly more that I forgot. The hosts I mention here are the ones commonly used in Sweden. Personally, I use Oderland, so these pictures come from my own account:
This is the picture that meets me when I log into my hosting. At the top, in the search box, I start typing lets:
I get a single result – Lets Encrypt SSL. It’s free to use, it also renews itself with a certain time interval (you’ll also be notified by email when this happens) and gives your site excellent protection!
After we click into Lets Encrypt, we’ll have to scroll down to the heading Issue a new certificate. I have masked the domain name here because it is one of our projects to come. 🙂
Here are some different options to choose from. If you’re not sure – do not touch anything, just click the Issue button. It’s also possible to dry run the issuing, to see if you receive error messages. In that case, just click Dry Run. The web server restarts in the background, and then it’s all done.
SSL certificate at Oderland
Oderland has a guide that you can find here.
SSL certificate at SiteGround
Siteground has a guide that you can find here.
BeeByte SSL Certificate
BeeByte has a guide that you can find here.
SSL certificate at Miss Hosting
Miss Hosting has a guide that you can find here.
SSL certificate at Loopia
Unfortunately, Loopia only offers free SSL certificates in its company accounts (Company and Company Plus).
SSL certificate at one.com
Those who know me and have followed me (mainly on Facebook) know that one is probably the last host I recommend. But one thing they have done really well is that they have SSL pre-activated on all their accounts right from the start. So you don’t have to do jack – everything is already done!
If you did correctly when you installed WordPress (because you do use WordPress, right? 😉 ), you typed in https:// into the address field when you installed it. If so, you’re done. You don’t have to do any more.
If you didn’t, one.com have their own guide that is available here, which means you have to edit the .htaccess file.
They also have a guide that uses the plugin Really Simple SSL to solve the problem.
Option 1 works for all websites. Option 2 only works for WordPress.
Really Simple SSL
No matter which host you have, once you’ve activated SSL on your domain, you’re not quite finished yet. In most cases, you also need to install and activate the plugin Really Simple SSL.
It’s not that hard to get an SSL certificate for your website, and in most cases, you can also get it without having to spend a dime! Your visitors WILL appreciate it, even if you’ll never hear it. Like, how often have you thanked your doctor for being licensed? In addition, SSL is a requirement if you have plans to have a cart (having an e-commerce of some kind or something that involves receiving payments).
Do you think any additional hosting provider should be included in the list? Comment below!