The term SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. At its heart, it’s purpose is to keep data private. In super simple terms, an SSL Certificate is a small computer file that gets “attached” to your web hosting servers. What it does is provide your visitors with a secure connection to your blog content.
In today’s online landscape where data breaches happen all the time, people pay close attention to whether or not the sites they are spending time on are secure.
There are two tell-tale signs of a secure site. The first is the lock symbol. The second is “https://” at the start of your URL.
As a blogger, it’s super important that you make your readers feel safe and secure.
And just as an FYI – there are web browsers that will actually display warnings when a person is visiting a site that doesn’t have an SSL certificate.
Sometimes these warnings are simply a label of “not secure” beside the URL in the browser bar. Like the one you see below.
At other times you’ll see a full-on warning message.
Either one can be enough to scare away potential visitors.
SSL vs Site Security
Before we continue I just want to make sure that you understand that an SSL certificate is not the same as site security.
The purpose of the SSL certificate is to protect your visitors’ information. It does nothing to protect your blog against hackers.
Blog security is a totally different thing. And it’s something I’ll talk about in a future post.
Where Do You Get An SSL Certificate?
You typically get an SSL certificate from your blog hosting company.
But be careful – because it’s not always included as part of your hosting plan. There are some blog hosts that make you pay an extra annual fee for it.
The only difference between the two is that with Webs by Amy she installs it for you. With SiteGround you have to install it yourself.
And that’s what this tutorial is all about.
I am going to show you how to install a free SSL Certificate on your WordPress blog.
I have a video tutorial for the video lovers among you. And I also have a step-by-step photo tutorial for those of you who prefer written directions.
A word of caution. This video tutorial is intended for new bloggers setting up their blog for the first time.
If you have an existing blog but you have never installed an SSL certificate before, please back up your blog first. Installing an SSL certificate on an established blog can sometimes break the formatting.
Video Tutorial: How To Install An SSL Certificate On Your WordPress Blog
*please refresh your screen if the video doesn’t appear right away*
Step-by-Step Photo Tutorial: How To Install An SSL Certificate On Your WordPress Blog
For those of you that aren’t fans of video, or are limited by either data or internet connection, I have put together a photo tutorial for you.
For this, you are going to need to be logged into your SiteGround Hosting Account.
Step 1. Log into Your Hosting Account And Select “My Accounts” Tab and then “Go to CPanel”
Once you are logged into your SiteGround account you want to click on the My Accounts tab. From there you want to click on the red button that says “Go to cPanel.”
Step 2. Scroll Down To The Bottom Of Cpanel And Select “Let’s Encrypt”
After clicking on “Go to cPanel” you will be re-directed to your cPanel – which is basically your control panel for your blog hosting account.
It’s a super long page, so scroll down until you are at the “Security” section. Click on the “Let’s Encrypt” icon.
Step 3. Install Your SSL Certificate
If you only have one domain on your hosting, then it will automatically be selected. Otherwise, if you have more than one domain, select the one you want. Leave it at the default SSL setting which is the “Let’s Encrypt SSL.” Click on Install.
You will see the following success message:
Click OK to close out the box. You may still see the “Install new Let’s Encrypt Certificate” on your screen. If that is the case – refresh your page. If that doesn’t work, go back to your cPanel home and then back into Let’s Encrypt.
Sometimes the SSL certificate gets applied immediately. At other times, it takes a little bit of time. As long as you saw the success message, that means that it worked.
When you are within the “Let’s Encrypt” section of your cPanel it should eventually look like the picture below. You should see the word “active” under status.
Step 4. Configure The HTTPS Settings
Once you click on the “select an action” button, you should see a drop-down menu appear. Select HTTPS settings.
A window will pop up that looks like this:
Beside the “HTTPS Enforce” you will see a switch that is toggled to the off position. Slide it to the on position. Select Ok. This will ensure that even if someone types in http:// they will be redirected to the secure version of your blog.
The window will expand with a second option.
Beside the External Links Rewrite you will see a switch that is once again toggled to the “off” position. Turn it on and click OK. This second option will make sure that every piece of content on your site is secure – including your images.
And that’s it! You don’t have to do anything else. You have installed a free basic SSL certificate to your WordPress Blog.
Note that there are other SSL options as you can see from the image below. However, for a new blogger or a blogger with a relatively small site, a free Let’s Encrypt certificate is all that’s necessary.
So there you have it. You know now how to ensure that your new WordPress blog is secure for your visitors.
In my next post, I’ll show you how to Install WordPress onto your blog hosting.