You purchased a cheap hosting plan before you found out that you need an SSL certificate so visitors can easily reach your blog?
No problem. In this post, I’ll show you how to install a free SSL certificate on your blog in 10 minutes.
In July 2018 Google marked all HTTP websites as not secure within the Chrome browser, and make it important to have an SSL certificate installed on your website.
If you have already purchased hosting before you realized that you need an SSL certificate you have three options:
- You can check with your hosting provider are they offering a free SSL certificate.
- You can buy an SSL certificate.
- You can get an SSL for free.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL Certificate is a minor data file that digitally relates a cryptographic key to details of your blog, activates the HTTPS protocol, and enables safe connections from a web server to a browser.
SSL certificate binds domain name and hostname with your blog’s identity and location to ensure your credit card transactions, data transfer, and logins.
Besides that, it will keep data secure between servers, increase your Google rankings, build your customer trust, and improve your conversion rates.
What to Do When You Don’t Want to Spend Money on SSL Certificate?
For one of my previous blogs, I’ve decided to try GoDaddy hosting. I wanted to start my blog like I’m just starting with my online adventure so I can implement things I recommending to my audience to do.
But I knew GoDaddy isn’t giving a free SSL certificate with their cheapest hosting plan so I went to almighty Google to see how to get one for free.
The first familiar result that Google offered was Let’s Encrypt. I’ve heard about Let’s Encrypt and I knew some of the hosting providers have their certificates included in their hosting plans.
After 2minutes I found out that you can’t get an SSL certificate from their site. So back on the result page to look further.
2 spots below Let’s Encrypt was sslforfree.com. It appeared that it’s fairly easy to get a free certificate from them.
After creating your account, enter your domain name in the box provided. Before they give you the certificate they need to verify that you are the owner or the administrator of the site.
You have 3 verification methods available, one automatic and two manual methods. Manual methods are easier to use so go with one of these.
Manual verification through HTTP
With this method, you have to add the FTP information they give you to the domain’s server account to verify the domain. It will upload verification files to make sure you own them.
Manual verification through DNS
You have to add TXT records to your DNS server, and that is easy to do even for a beginner.
Just login to your domain registrar and click on DNS management or anything identical and add TXT records they gave you and click Save. It’s so easy that you don’t need further explanations.
For me, this never worked and I couldn’t verify it no matter what I do. So I went back to Google.
I went to Google again to do the same search as last time. Below SSL for free was Cloudflare.
I clicked on it and I was stunned when I saw they offer a free plan that allows full access to the global CDN (Content Delivery Network), a large range of security features, an SSL certificate, and statistic reports about your website’s traffic.
What is Cloudflare?
Cloudflare provides a batch of products for optimizing website speed and security. This is one of the biggest networks on the internet which delivers security and performance and gives great functionality such as free SSL certificate and content distribution for every website on their network.
What is CDN or Content Delivery Network?
Content delivery networks are geographically allocated servers that work together to provide fast delivery of content on the internet. They are designed to optimize your site’s loading times by working as a middleman between site servers and visitors.
The CDN also offers security benefits, reduces your hosting bandwidth with caching, and helps to prevent interruptions in service.
How to Get Free SSL Certificate Instaled Through Cloudflare?
Sign up on the Cloudflare website with your email address and password, enter your domain and click Add Site.
Cloudflare will scan your domain’s DNS records for a minute, and after the scan is over, click Next.
Select a free plan and assign the domain where you want to enable Cloudflare and you’ll receive the Cloudflare nameservers for your domain.
Now go to your domain registrar and update nameservers with the Cloudflare domain servers. When you click on save your Cloudflare account is all set and the nameserver update will take about 72 hours.
Log back into your Cloudflare account and if everything is ok you’ll see the active connection with your website.
Click on that box to go to your dashboard and locate settings for SSL/TLS and click on it, and select Full Encryption Mode and you’re finished.
You’ve enabled a free SSL certificate for your site. Cloudflare’s Wizard set-up takes care of crucial settings step-by-step, so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck.
Guides, recommendations, and troubleshooting for all other settings can be found in Cloudflare’s help section which is so detailed that you can solve any possible problem you can have.
That’s it. You should have your free SSL certificate installed without a problem.
Do you think it’s important to have an SSL certificate installed on your website? Tell me in the comment section below.