Last Updated on July 24, 2019 by Sunny Staff
If you’ve got a website, it’s likely a good idea to get an SSL certificate. And if you have a site that has, say, members or customers, well, it’s not just a good idea. It’s imperative. But no worries, we’re going to tell you where and how to get a FREE SSL certificate for WordPress!
Online payments and payment data, login info, passwords–all those are saved, processed and secured by SSL. But beyond security, having an SSL certificate just gives your site a solid vibe (and a higher Google ranking) when people search for companies like yours.
There are several ways to get a free SSL certificate, and we’ll outline the most common here. You can do all the steps on your own, but the simplest path is to ping us for your WordPress site.
But before getting into the steps for adding an SSL Certificate to your site, let’s take a quick step back and cover one little issue:
What the !@#$* is an SSL certificate???
Fair question. Here we go.
A Quick Primer on SSL for WordPress
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, but you can think of an SSL certificate as a user’s or site’s passport as they interact amongst the unholy jungle that is the Internet. That passport keeps data secure as it moves between their browser and your website, authenticating the identity then encrypting all critical info sent back and forth. It also establishes your ‘bona-fides’ as an online seller or entity.
You can tell if a website is secured with SSL if the URL says “https://” and not “http://”
So let’s get started.
Use a WordPress Host That Provides a Free SSL Certificate
The first option is to use a WordPress hosting company that provides a free, simple, built-in integration of SSL certificates. Most companies that offer this have a step-by-step process to set up and configure your WordPress website with SSL. It’s usually fairly straight forward, but you will need to complete the steps yourself. Check with your host for the details.
Use a Full-Service WordPress Management Company That Offers a Free SSL Certificate and Configuration
For a super easy option, use a full-service WordPress hosting and management company will acquire and configure the SSL certificate for you. (Hint, hint, all of our WordPress management plans come with a free SSL certificate and you don’t have to lift a finger, we handle it all!)
We recommend Let’s Encrypt’s free SSL certificate for WordPress sites. Let’s Encrypt is an open certificate authority that offers free SSL certificates to the general public. It’s a project of the Internet Security Research Group and is sponsored by many well-known companies including Google, Cisco, Facebook Automattic (the people behind WordPress!) and others. Let’s Encrypt certificates are our go-to for SSL encryption.
Manually Install a Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate
Another option is a manual Let’s Encrypt certificate installation. We’re not even going to bother going over the details here as they are quite extensive and way beyond what you are likely comfortable with (you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise!). However, if you’re interested, start here on the Let’s Encrypt Getting Started page.
Use a WordPress SSL plugin
And finally, you can install a WordPress SSL plugin that will handle most of the process for you. There are several options available. Two of which are SSL Zen and Really Simple SSL. SSL Zen will acquire and install a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate for you. Really Simple SSL requires that you obtain an SSL certificate first, then the plugin will automatically detect your settings and configure your website. Both plugins will also change all of your site’s URL’s from HTTP to HTTPS. It’s critical that all URL’s use HTTPS so your site only loads securely. (Check out our blog post on installing plugins if you need help installing plugins manually.)
OK, now you’re cooking with gas! Grab a coffee or flavored water and pat yourself on the back. You’re now the purveyor of a site with its very own SSL certificate!
We at Sunny HQ include a free SSL certificate in all our WordPress maintenance, hosting and support plans. So, leave all those website worries behind–check out our WordPress care plans or drop us a line!