Often times, I keep getting e-mails and chat messages on SSL encryption & site protection – From how to install free ssl certificate on any website to choosing the best SSL protection down to price, vendors and several other cyber security related inquiries.
This request has led to the writing of this article where I shall be walking you through the step by step procedures on how to install a free ssl certificate on any website and yes it works for all types for website – HTML, WordPress, E-commerce – anyone!
But before we get started, please note that you will need your c-panel login details so let’s have that ready somewhere & then follow the steps as contained in this article.
Cyber security and digital asset protection is no doubt one of the key concerns that should be prioritized this new decade considering the anticipated high increase in cyber attacks. The least you can do to protect any of your websites or digital asset is to ensure it is secured with an SSL encryption.
In this article we shall be installing a free SSL on your website made possible by LetsEncrypt – a free, automated, and open certificate authority brought to you by the nonprofit Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) supported & backed by global industry leaders including Mozilla, Google Inc, Facebook, Cisco, Verizon amongst several others. With over 180 million websites protected, You can find out more about LetsEncrypt later through this link – I suggest for now lets focus on the steps below.
If you are actually wondering what SSL on a website looks like, it is that box before the domain name on the address bar with either a padlock on it, a padlock with the word secure or a green bar and in some cases the name of the corporation mostly used by financial institutions. These differences are often based on the types of SSL and how strong the protection is. I shall shed more light on these differences in a seperate article to be published soon so please make sure you remember to sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this article. The image below is an example of what it looks like based on this set up I did on my personal website – saidolanrewaju.com
Without the SSL installed, your site might be showing probably a similar image as below:
Looks familiar? Well, you wouldn’t have to worry about any of your sites showing this going further so now let’s get to it!
How To Install Free SSL Certificate On Any Website
Step 1: Make sure you are logged in to your c-panel and the you go to https://www.sslforfree.com/. On this site, you type in your website url without the the https or www dots – don’t worry it will automatically put this in place. Afterwards, you click on the green button as shown below:
Step 2: After clicking on the “Create Free SSL Certificate” button, the next step will be to verify your website using any of the 3 options provided as seen in the screenshot below. Often times I choose the manual verification process and will be guiding you through how to do that too.
Step 3: After clicking on “Manual Verification”, domain verification files will be provided to you via another green button – “Manually Verify Domain” which appears by scrolling down a little just after clicking on Manual Verification. Once you see the second button, please click on it to get the verification files for your domain. See screenshot as below:
Step 4: Right next below after click this Manually Verify Domain button, details of the verification files required will be provided. As shown in the image below, you are to download the provided files to your computer.
Step 5: Here you login to your c-panel, locate File Manager, Click on it, then open the public_html folder as shown in the image below:
Step 6: Inside the public_html folder, locate another folder named “.well-known”. To be sure this folder is not hidden, use the settings option to “show hidden files’ and then tick the box accordingly. See image below:
If after you tick the box, you still can’t find it then you will have to create a new folder using the highlighted button on the top left as shown above.
Step 7: After establishing the folder named .wellknown, the next step will be to create a new folder inside the “.wellknown” folder that will be named “acme-challenge”. It is inside this ‘acme-challenge folder” the verification files will be uploaded. There is test link provided via the ssl installation website for testing these verification files.
Step 8: After a successful verification of the site, next step will be to click the “Download Certificate” button to see all the SSL keys required for installation.
Here, you should be expecting to see three boxes with encrypted contents – One is the CRT which stands for Certificate, the other is the Private Key while the 3rd is Certificate Authority Bundle (CABUNDLE). In the next steps, we shall discover what to do with these boxes & their contents.
Step 9: Here we cover mainly how the SSL certificate itself is installed. To achieve this first we go back to the cpanel to locate the “Security” Tab under which we click on SSL/TLS as shown in the image below:
Step 10: On the next screen, please click on “Manage SSL Sites” as pointed in the image below:
Step 11: If you already have an SSl installed for the same domain you are setting up, most likely the default cpanel autossl which often times is not always fully secure or any other one, then you might want to uninstall first before installing the new one. If not then let’s proceed to the next step as shown in the image below:
Step 12: So first you select the domain option you want to install the SSL certificate for. next you copy and paste the contents from the free ssl website to the respective boxes as seen through your c-panel
Step 13: After pasting all 3 contents, you should see an install button on the lower left as shown below. Please click that button to complete the installation process.
Step 14: Next you should see a message pop up on your screen as below:
Step 15: Now finally all you have to do is to ensure your website loads through the https:// protocol at all times. To achieve this, you go to the “Domain” tab on your cpanel, click on domains and take note of the columns available. We are trying to locate the “Force HTTPS Redirect” column as shown in the screenshot below:
Then locate the domain you have just set up and turn on the Force HTTPS Redirect option just like I did mine below:
And that’s it all!
Congratulations you have just successfully completed the step by step procedure on how to install free SSL certificate on any website.
Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below and if you found this article useful, you might want to share with your friends and audience too just in-case, we never might know who is currently searching for this right now.
If you would like to know more about cyber security, digital asset protection or you would like to consider setting up a more advanced SSL encryption/protection for your website or maybe you just need assistance in anyway with protecting your digital assets, you can shoot me a quick e-mail here (firstname.lastname@example.org) or connect with me directly via whatsapp here
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