HTTPS (Secured Web Address) is now one of the important signal in Google Algorithm for Search Ranking. Earlier HTTPS was only required if you have an eCommerce site where you expect people to make payment using Credit or Debit Cards. These days everybody needs HTTPS as everyone wants to rank good on search engines.
Generally to have HTTPS of your domain, you need to buy SSL Certificate from popular players like GoDaddy and many others. Annual fee for a single domain SSL is approx. $60 and you need to renew the certificate annually. Well, here is a great solution to install a working and effective SSL Certificate on your WordPress or any other website for Free.
Let’s Encrypt is What You Need
Let’s Encrypt allows you to install free SSL certificate on WordPress site. It is a software installed under cPanel of some hosting service provider e.g. Siteground. Yes, if you choose Siteground Web Hosting service, you get free SSL certificate for your site using Let’s Encrypt.
Let’s Encrypt is available with many other hosting providers as well. Check your cPanel to see if Let’s Encrypt is there.
Is It Safe? Does It Work?
You must have these questions in mind as why someone will give free SSL when others are charging for the same. Is it safe to use Let’s Encrypt free SSL certificate? Well, Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit crowd funded and sponsored company. Major sponsors of Let’s Encrypt are Google, Mozilla, Facebook, Cisco, Automattic (Yes, you read it right), Sucuri and many others. It encrypt the information and make the web safe in terms of privacy.
To install free SSL certificate, login to cPanel of your hosting account. Here is mine.
Search “Let’s Encrypt” on the cPanel and there you can see the icon under Security section.
Click on Let’s Encrypt icon to open the panel. There you can see the domain and sub-domains to issue and install SSL certificate.
Click on Issue link to get the certificate for the domain or sub-domain.
The next panel will ask you to include mail option (sub-domain) for SSL too. You can deselect that proceed with only the main domain name.
Once you click on the Issue button, the SSL certificate for the domain will be issued for 3 months. That means the next renewal date will be of after 3 months of issued date. Now every 3 months, you need to get the new certificate reissued from Let’s Encrypt. Well, you can enable auto renew as well.
How to Enable Auto Renew in Let’s Encrypt
On the second screen where you saw the Issue link, there is an link as View Settings. Click on the link and it will take you to Let’s Encrypt’s setting panel. There are only 2 options present on the setting panel.
- Disable renewal emails
- Allow auto SSL
To auto-renew the free SSL, you need to check the field Allow auto SSL on Let’s Encrypt setting page.
That’s it. Now your domain will always have a valid SSL certificate with HTTPS in the address bar.
WordPress and HTTPS
As your site is running on WordPress CMS which loads multiple JS, CSS and Media files from different folders. Now it’s time to run the site completely on HTTPS without causing any negative SEO. Well, negative SEO on HTTPS sites are mostly because of duplicate URL issue with Mixed content load (Some HTTP and Some HTTPS content). Here comes a WordPress plugin for your rescue and this one is also free, Really Simple SSL.
Install this plugin and enable SSL as it will ask you to do after installation. You can check the setting option of this plugin on Settings ==> SSL panel on WordPress dashboard. Now just relax and have a hot cup of coffee as your WordPress site is having HTTPS with a valid SSL Certificate without spending a single penny.
Thanks to Let’s Encrypt and Siteground Hosting.