Guest Post: How to install and set up a free SSL on WordPress

Original post: Onder Hassan (10 April 2018)

Building a website for the first time is exciting. The potential to share your message and have it reach millions of people around the world has never been this simple… yet with that, comes challenges.

As we all know as website owners, the single most difficult thing we need to overcome, particularly when it comes to doing anything transactional is developing trust with your visitors and customers.

It becomes imperative that you do everything you possibly can to build up your trust and credibility.

None of your visitors knows who you are, have likely ever met or seen you in person, and somehow you have to bridge that gap in making them want to take notice of what you have to offer.

This is commonly done by posting high-quality content, providing ‘iron-clad guarantees, giving away free ebooks, and maintaining communication with them via email.

However, in recent months major changes have been occurring in the world of Google and one that has literally affected millions of websites across the internet, causing them to quickly adapt with the times, which has proven to be a positive step forward in gaining trust and authority.

As of July 2018 with the release of their latest browser ‘Chrome 68′, all sites that aren’t secure and use the conventional ‘HTTP://” protocol will be marked as ‘Not Secure.’

This means that all of your current websites will be marked as ‘unsafe’ and deemed unfit for visitors.

Your site will display this below.

and then…

Fortunately, the steps taken to make a website secure in Google Chrome require a few simple steps and we’ll go on to talk about this process in this article.

But first, before getting into it, we will discuss what this change is, why it benefits you, and the steps you’ll need to take to begin immediately implementing this on your own websites.

Creating A Secure Website – The Introduction To Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

Now before we delve into explaining what SSL is, we would like to put you at ease by saying we will do our very best to help explain what this is, as simply as possible without getting into the complex technical jargon that might lead to confusion and overwhelm.

So in brief, SSL was developed to provide a means of communication that’s secure and robust for your visitors.

It essentially provides a secure channel between two computers operating over the internet or through a network. This provides the following benefits:

1) It encrypts and protects your data.

2) It correctly authenticates a connection to a secure server to prevent unscrupulous activity and reduce cyber attacks.

3) It ensures that the data sent is actually delivered between computers.

If you’re a business owner selling products over the internet, you can start to see how important this is and how it can build trust with your prospects and customers. Particularly if you’re looking to allow credit/debit card transactions and share secure files across the internet.

You can see some stats of sites that are using SSL as default.

The Benefits Of A Secure Website

  1. Google Chrome will start labeling your site as secure.
  2. A secure label indicates trust and authority.
  3. Make more sales – 84% of users would abandon a purchase if data was sent over an insecure connection.
  4. Better search ranking – HTTPS has been a ranking signal since 2014.
  5. Get to page one quicker – A high percentage of page one search results are secure HTTPS pages.

Image source from 1 Million sites analyzed in Google search results.

FREE SSL Certificate

Now before you question the price of SSL certificates we are going to show you how to use a service called Let’s Encrypts. It’s an open-source project that provides free SSL’s that are completely secure.

Site: letsencrypt.org

Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA), run for the public’s benefit. It is a service provided by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG).

We give people the digital certificates they need in order to enable HTTPS (SSL/TLS) for websites, for free, in the most user-friendly way we can. We do this because we want to create a more secure and privacy-respecting Web.

To prove how secure they are, you can see how many active sites uses Let’s Encrypt via their live stats page, and below is a screenshot from March 2018.

Let’s Encrypt currently have 5% of the market share as shown below and that will increase due to the price (Free) and ease of setup. Some SSL companies charge over $1K per year so it’s a no-brainer for small business WordPress users to follow our setup guide.

How To Switch To HTTPS For WordPress

Setting up SSL on your website used to take some technical know-how in order to get this running properly.

However, the good news is that as it’s becoming essential to have, more and more hosting companies are beginning to adopt simple ‘1-Click’ SSL installs; taking away all of the headaches of doing this manually.

If you’re a ‘SiteGround’ customer, you’ll see this change immediately as SSL is installed automatically with every WordPress installation.

Here’s a link to their official announcement: https://www.siteground.com/blog/https-wordpress/

If you’re currently unsure whether your hosting provider has this functionality, we recommend getting in touch with their support staff for more information.

But fear not, we also have a manual process for getting this setup using a few free WordPress plugins that will make this process as simple and painless as possible.

The DIY Method

If you want to do it yourself that’s fine. We’ve created a how-to article showing everything you need to have Let’s Encrypt set up using free WordPress plugins.

See this article: How To Setup Let’s Encrypt Tech Guide

Test Your SSL

Now you have followed the steps in our SSL tech guide go and test your SSL at SSL Shopper.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article. If you have any questions about what we’ve covered. Please let us know by leaving your comments below. We would love to hear from you.

  • Onder Hassan
  • Onder is a Digital Marketing Specialist here at OptimizePress. In addition to developing content, he also assists with the research and development of deployable marketing strategies. If he’s not doing marketing, you may also find him buried in a marketing textbook
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