Greetings, website owners and aspiring website owners! Today, we’re going to talk about SSL, which is not the name of a secret society or a rare disease, but an essential security feature for your website.
Now, you might be thinking, “Why should I care about SSL? My website is just a collection of cat videos and pictures of my lunch.” But let me tell you, SSL is like a force field for your website that protects your visitors’ sensitive information from sneaky hackers and cybercriminals.
So, if you want to keep your visitors’ data safe (and let’s be real, you also want to look like a fancy, secure website owner), stick around to learn how to set up free SSL for your WordPress website.
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer, and it’s a technology that ensures that data transmitted between a website and a user’s browser is encrypted and secure. When a user visits a website that uses SSL, their browser establishes a secure connection with the website’s server, and all data transferred between the two is encrypted and protected from interception by third parties.
SSL works by using a combination of public and private keys to establish a secure connection between the website and the user’s browser. The website’s SSL certificate contains the public key, which the browser uses to encrypt the data it sends to the website. The website’s server then uses its private key to decrypt the data, ensuring that it can only be read by the intended recipient.
There are three main types of SSL certificates: Domain Validated (DV), Organization Validated (OV), and Extended Validation (EV). DV certificates are the most basic and are generally used for personal websites and blogs. OV and EV certificates are more advanced and are typically used for businesses and ecommerce sites, as they require a more extensive validation process.
Why Use Free SSL?
Now that you know what SSL is and how it works, you might be wondering why you should choose a free SSL certificate over a paid one. After all, doesn’t the old saying go, “You get what you pay for”?
Well, when it comes to SSL, that’s not necessarily true. While paid SSL certificates offer some additional features and benefits, free SSL certificates can be just as effective for most websites, especially those that don’t handle sensitive financial information or personal data.
One of the biggest advantages of free SSL certificates is that they’re, well, free! That means you don’t have to pay for an expensive SSL certificate, which can be a big plus for website owners on a budget. Plus, many web hosting providers now offer free SSL certificates as part of their hosting plans, making it even easier to set up SSL on your website.
Another advantage of free SSL certificates is that they’re often provided by trusted certificate authorities, such as Let’s Encrypt. These certificate authorities are recognized and trusted by major web browsers, so visitors to your website can be confident that their data is being transmitted securely.
Of course, there are some situations where a paid SSL certificate might be necessary, such as for ecommerce sites or websites that handle sensitive financial information. But for most website owners, a free SSL certificate is a great choice that offers both security and peace of mind without breaking the bank.
Setting up Free SSL on Your WordPress Website
Here’s a simple guide on how to set up free SSL on your WordPress website:
- Check if your hosting provider offers free SSL certificates: Many hosting providers now offer free SSL certificates as part of their hosting plans. Check with your hosting provider to see if this is an option for you.
- Install and activate a plugin: There are several plugins available for WordPress that make it easy to install and configure SSL. One of the most popular is Let’s Encrypt SSL, which is available for free in the WordPress plugin repository. Install and activate the plugin on your website.
- Configure the plugin: Once the plugin is activated, go to its settings page and follow the instructions to generate and install your SSL certificate. The plugin should guide you through the process step by step.
- Test your SSL certificate: Once the SSL certificate is installed, it’s important to test it to ensure that it’s working correctly. You can use online tools like SSL Checker to verify that your SSL certificate is properly installed and configured.
- Update your website URLs: After installing SSL, you’ll need to update your website URLs to use the “https” protocol instead of “http”. You can do this by going to Settings > General in your WordPress dashboard and updating the “WordPress Address” and “Site Address” fields to use “https”.
That’s it! With these simple steps, you should now have a free SSL certificate installed and working on your WordPress website. If you run into any issues or have questions, be sure to reach out to your hosting provider or the plugin’s support team for assistance.
Testing SSL on Your WordPress Website
- Use an SSL checker: One of the easiest ways to test your SSL certificate is to use an online SSL checker. There are several free SSL checker tools available, such as SSL Shopper or Qualys SSL Labs. Simply enter your website URL into the tool and it will perform a test to check if your SSL certificate is installed and configured correctly.
- Test the HTTPS version of your website: To test the HTTPS version of your website, simply type “https://” before your website URL in your browser’s address bar. If your SSL certificate is installed and configured correctly, your website should load with a green padlock icon in the address bar. If there are any issues with your SSL certificate, you may see a warning message or an error page.
- Use the developer console in your browser: Another way to test your SSL certificate is to use the developer console in your browser. In Google Chrome, for example, you can open the developer console by right-clicking on your website and selecting “Inspect”. From there, go to the “Security” tab to view information about your SSL certificate and any warnings or errors.
- Check your WordPress dashboard: Finally, you can also check your WordPress dashboard to see if your SSL certificate is working correctly. Go to Settings > General and make sure that the “WordPress Address” and “Site Address” fields are using “https” instead of “http”. Additionally, check the “Site Health” section of your WordPress dashboard to see if there are any warnings or errors related to your SSL certificate.
- By testing your SSL certificate using these methods, you can ensure that your website is secure and that your visitors’ data is being transmitted safely. If you encounter any issues during testing, be sure to reach out to your hosting provider or the SSL certificate plugin’s support team for assistance.
In conclusion, setting up a free SSL certificate on your WordPress website is a simple and effective way to secure your website and protect your visitors’ data. While paid SSL certificates may offer some additional features and benefits, free SSL certificates can be just as effective for most websites, especially those that don’t handle sensitive financial information or personal data.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily set up a free SSL certificate on your WordPress website and test it to ensure that it’s working correctly. And with more and more web hosting providers offering free SSL certificates as part of their hosting plans, there’s really no reason not to take advantage of this important security feature.
So if you haven’t already, take a few minutes to set up SSL on your WordPress website today. Your visitors (and your website) will thank you for it!