How To Get A Free SSL Certificate For Any WordPress Website In 5 Minutes.
If a website is marked as “Not Secure” on its URL on a browser address bar then it means the site does not have an SSL certificate for secure access. An SSL Certificate is basically a data file for a website that is used on an HTTPS connection that helps to ensure that data transferred between a web browser and website is secure and encrypted. The encryption is simply the process of scrambling data being sent and received and you can think of it at as if you and a friend have a secret language that only the two of you can speak and translate. An SSL certificate is even more important when running an e-commerce or financial services website. Continue reading this tutorial to learn how to get a free SSL certificate for any wordpress website in just 5 minutes!
In order to complete this tutorial successfully the following items are required. Please ensure to have these items available before taking implementation action on this tutorial:
1) A registered domain name and access to change / update DNS records
2) Admin access to a WordPress website with access rights to download and install plugins
3) A desktop or laptop running Windows, Mac OS or Linux and any web browser
4) A cloudflare account.
1) Login to the admin dashboard for your wordpress website and install the SSL ZEN plugin.
2) Choose the SSL ZEN free plan and verify ownership of your domain name using the DNS VERIFICATION method.
3) Learn how how verify ownership of your domain name using the HTTPS VERIFICATION method.
4) Install the Letsencrypt SSL certificate and learn how to check number of days remaining before it expires.
Step 1: Install The SSL ZEN Plugin.
1) Login into the administration dashboard for your wordpress website, click on PLUGINS > ADD NEW and search for SSL ZEN using the plugin search box.
Click on the INSTALL NOW button on the “SSL ZEN – FREE SSL CERTIFICATE & HTTPS REDIRECT FOR WORDPRESS” search result then click on ACTIVATE.
2) Proceed by click on the SELECT PLAN button on the FREE -$0 column. Please note that if you choose the SSL ZEN free plan, you will have to manually prove owership of your website and manually renew SSL certificates every 90 days. If you wish for a simpler and automated option choose the SSL ZEN premium plan priced at $2.40 per month.
3) Type in your email address on the CONTACT DETAILS text input box, click on the “I AGREE TO TERMS AND CONDITIONS” check box and click on NEXT.
4) The SSL ZEN wordpress plugin supports two types of domain verification methods and these are HTTPS VERIFICATION and DNS VERIFICATION.
Proceed by selecting the DNS VERIFICATION option and click on NEXT.
5) On the DOMAIN VERIFICATION step, copy the DOMAIN TXT RECORD as well as the VALUE.
Login to your wordpress website CPANEL account and click on DOMAINS > DNS ZONE EDITOR then click on MANAGE.
6) Click on the TXT tab then click on the ADD RECORD button.Paste in the DNS TXT RECORD you copied from the SSL ZEN plugin on the NAME text box, type 300 on the TTL input box, set the class type to TXT and paste the VALUE copied from the SSL ZEN plugin on the RECORD text box.
Click on the ADD RECORD button to proceed.
7) Go back to the SSL ZEN plugin and click on the SCAN DNS RECORDS button.
HTTPS Verification Method.
8) If you face any challenges with the DNS verfication method or if you do not have access to create / edit DNS records, use the HTTPS VERIFICATION METHOD.
On the DOMAIN VERIFICATION step, click on the HTTPS tab and click on the FILE download button.
9) Log into the CPANEL account for your domain an click on FILES > FILE MANAGER. In the public html folder create a folder named .well-known. Go into the newly created folder and created another folder named acme-challenge.
Upload the file downloaded in the previous step to the /.well-known/acme-challenge folder.
Once the upload is complete, go to the SSL ZEN plugin and click on the VERIFY button and click on NEXT.
Step 2: Install The Letsencrypt SSL Certificate.
10) Log into your cpanel account for your website and scroll down to the SECURITY section on the CPANEL dashboard. Click on the SSL / TLS button and click on MANAGE SSL SITES.
Scroll down to the INSTALL SSL WEBSITE form and select your domain name on the DOMAIN drop down menu.
Go to the SSL ZEN plugin INSTALL CERTIFICATE step and click on the COPY button on the CERTIFICATE.CRT file. This will copy the contents of the file to the clipboard.
Proceed by pasting the contents of the CERTIFICATE.CRT file on the CERTIFICATE:CRT text input box on the CPANEL INSTALL SSL WEBSITE form
Click on the copy button for the PRIVATEKEY.PEM file as well as the CABUNDLE.CRT file and paste on the appropriate sections on the CPANEL INSTALL SSL WEBSITE form
11) Click on the INSTALL CERTIFICATE button to complete the free SSL CERTIFICATE installation process. You should see a popup message indicating that the SSL CERTIFICATE has been successfully updated/installed.
12) To test the SSL certificate, open a new web browser tab, type in the URL of your website and press ENTER. When the web page loads you should see a green or black LOCK icon next to the URL.
13) Since Letsencrypt certificate expire after 90 days, you need to check the number of days remaining before the SSL certificate expires using a website such as SSL CHECKER. You can also set a reminder that will be triggered after a 90 day period so you do not forget to renew your SSL CERTIFICATE.