Quickest Way to Add Free SSL to Your Website
Today, we will discuss the quickest way to add a free SSL certificate to your post website. SSL is necessary to keep your website protected and secure for users. An SSL ensures that your website and the users get critical security, privacy, and data integrity.
You can add an SSL certificate to your website for free by following the guide mentioned in this post. But first, we will understand SSL and its importance in detail. Do you have any clue about what an SSL certificate is and why your website needs it? If you know about SSL and its importance, you can skip this section and proceed to the section to add free SSL to your website.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a protocol that encrypts internet traffic and verifies the server identity. It ensures that the links between the computer on the internet are encrypted and authenticated to prevent any data breach during communication.
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate file hosted on your website server. It contains necessary information such as Domain Name, Person/Organization, Certificate Authority, Issue date, Expiration, and Public Key.
SSL certificate allows a website to move from HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) to HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure), which is more secure and allows encryption. It is necessary to prevent unauthorized data modification by a middleman while establishing a connection between your computer and the website server.
In shorts, when you visit a website, you make contact with that website server. When you browse the website, all the data shown to you is encrypted, and no other person (except you or the website admin) can access it.
Importance of SSL Certificate
So now you have understood what SSL is and why is SSL Certificate used. Till now, you might have got an idea about why websites need SSL certificates and why you should care about it. Well, if you have not, then let us discuss the importance of an SSL certificate on a website:
An SSL certificate ensures encryption of the data on a website. Suppose you are shopping on a website using your credit card. Are you sure that the information you add to make the payment will be sent to the correct server, and nobody will misuse it? Well, that is why an SSL certificate is necessary.
SSL encrypts the website data, including sensitive information, to provide better security to users.
SSL certificates hold the information about the person, organization, or device they were issued to. It also has information about who issued the certificate and which website is authorized to use it. Hence, an SSL certificate ensures that the information is sent to the right person/server when you visit a website.
SSL certificates build trust among users. A browser displays the lock sign in front of the website URL in the address bar. A use can get more information by clicking on it. Hence, providing a secure environment to user build the trust score for your website.
Search Engine Ranking
A few years back, Google made changes in its algorithm to provide better security for users and started giving preference to the websites with HTTPS protocol. That means if you have a verified SSL Certificate on your website, you get the chance to rank higher and other search engines. Also, Google is flagging the website as insecure that does not have a valid SSL certificate.
You will see a warning message in a newer browser version and might not visit websites without a valid SSL certificate.
If you wish to receive payments online on your website, you need to make sure it is PCI compliant. Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council has set up 12 requirements for the website to receive online payments. Having an SSL certificate is one of them.
As you see how much it is essential to have a valid SSL certificate installed on the website. It is crucial from a website’s point of view and the user’s point of view.
How to add SSL for free
So, you are aware of SSL importance, now we can focus on adding SSL for free to your website. You can add SSL for free by any of the methods I will share in this post. Please note that you can also add a self-signed certificate to your website for free of cost. However, it will not be a valid certificate as it was not issued by an outside party (Certificate Authority).
Add Free SSL Certificate Using Cloudflare
It is one of the best options to add a free SSL certificate to any website. Cloudflare was the first company to provide a universal free SSL/TLS certificate. You can easily add free SSL to your website by connecting the website to Cloudflare. Cloudflare has a globally distributed CDN that make it easier to provide free SSL certificate to the website. Follow the below steps to add a free SSL certificate to your website and make it more secure than ever:
- First of all, visit cloudflare.com, and sign up for a free account using your email address.
- After signing up, enter your website address and click on Add Site button
- Then select a free plan and click Continue. Now Cloudflare will scan for the DNS records of your website.
- Confirm the records and click Continue.
- Now, you will have to change the domain nameservers. Log in to your domain account (where you have purchased the domain) and replace the default nameservers with Cloudflare’s nameservers.
- Please note that it may take some time to let the nameservers updated. (We have discussed it in an earlier post)
- Now, from the Cloudflare dashboard, click on SSL/TLS tab.
- Set the SSL/TLS encryption to Full.
- That is all. The SSL certificate will be added to your domain, and you will be able to use HTTPS.
However, it is recommended to add an SSL certificate to the website’s server as it will enable Full (Strict) encryption. So, let’s see how you can add SSL to your website server for free.
How to add free SSL Certificate to Website without Cloudflare
Adding an SSL certificate via Cloudflare is the quickest and more secure way. You would not have to worry about renewing the SSL Certificate on Cloudflare. However, suppose you want to add SSL certificate directly to your website without using Cloudflare. In that case, you can do it by visiting sslforfree.com.
SSL For Free provides a free SSL certificate for 90-days, and you will have to renew the SSL before 90-days to provide uninterrupted encryption. Here are the steps that you can follow to add a free SSL certificate to your website without Cloudflare:
- Visit https://sslforfree.com and enter your domain address for the website on which you want to add a free SSL certificate.
- Now, click on the “Create Free SSL Certificate” button or hit enter. Now, you will be required to register an account. Enter your details and register yourself. It’s free of cost.
- On the next page (after registration), verify the domain entered and click on Next Step.
- Select the 90-days validity and proceed to the next step.
- Enable CSR & Contact and click on the Next Step button
- Now, select the free plan and move forward with the Next Step.
- It might take some time to load the next step. In the next step, you will be required to verify the domain name. You can do it by any of the three methods. We suggest you go with HTTP file upload or Email Verification.
- For the email verification, you will be required to create one of the emails listed from the cPanel account. For the HTTP file upload method, you will have the instructions to download and upload a file in a specific folder. /.well-known/pki-validation/
- Click on the next step and verify the domain to finalize the SSL certificate process.
- Voila! You will have a free SSL certificate added to your website for the next 90 days. Make sure to renew it before the time expires.
As you see now, it is not that difficult to add a free SSL certificate to any website. However, if you need help, I am just an email away. Contact me at [email protected], and I will try to help you in the best possible manner.
How to check SSL & Verify Certificate of a website
Have you recently added SSL to your website and want to check whether or not it is working properly. Here are some tips by which you can check SSL certificate of a website and verify the digital certificate assigned to it. By following these tips you can check SSL of any website without even leaving your web browser:
- Padlock in Address Bar: It is the easiest way to check the SSL certificate for any website. Visit any website by entering its URL in the address bar, and click on the Padlock icon. If it says secure, then the website has a valid SSL certificate installed. You can click on the certificate to view the information such as Issuing authority, certificate validity, etc.
- SSLchecker.com: You can also check the SSL certificate by visiting sslchecker.com. Simply enter your hostname (example.com) and hit enter. It will show all the necessary information about the certificate installed.
Do you have a valid SSL certificate added to your website? Check now!
Get Free SSL with Namecheap Hosting
You can also get a free SSL certificate for your domain with Namecheap hosting plan. Namecheap offers free Positive SSL for domains after buying their hosting plan. However, some other hosting providers also provide free SSL, but Namecheap is the cheapest.
Here are some features of getting a free SSL certificate with Namecheap hosting:
- Automatic installation after connecting the domain with the hosting server
- Free wildcard certificates
- Add SSL certificate for free to up to 50 domains.
- Valid for the first year only (need to renew after the first year)
What if I don’t add SSL to my website?
Well, you can choose not to add an SSL certificate to your website. Many people, who have a blog or a simple website that does not store or collect any information, try to avoid adding an SSL certificate to their website. However, it does not affect the privacy of a user in such conditions. But still, your website may be penalized by search engines.
Let us suppose, I have a website named www.example.com, now I skip to add an SSL certificate to it (free or paid). Here is what will happen now:
- My website won’t rank in search engines.
- The browser will show an insecure message on the address bar
- Users might see a warning message before visiting my page
- My traffic will go down
- Some users (who are concerned about their privacy) might report my website because of less security.
- My website could be flagged and termed spam.
As you see how important is it to add this digital certificate of encryption to a website. And if few minutes can save from those problems, why wouldn’t anyone want to add a free SSL certificate to their website.
Okay, so now is the time for some Frequently Asked Questions about adding SSL to a website.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is free SSL enough for security?
No, it is not enough for complete security. SSL is great, but it might not entirely protect the information if it is not correctly installed.
What is a wildcard SSL?
A wildcard SSL secures the main domain and then an unlimited number of sub-domains under the main domain. For example, if you have added wildcard SSL to yourdomain.com, SSL will be added to the subdomains such as blog.yourdomain.com or shop.yourdomain.com. It means there is no need to add an additional SSL certificate to the sub-domains.
Is SSL good for SEO?
Yes, SSL is perfect for SEO. Websites without SSL are now considered to be spam and can be flagged by search engines and browsers.
What is TLS?
TLS or Transport Layer Security is the more advanced version of the security layer. Or we can say it is the successor to SSL and provide extra security and performance.
How to add TLS?
The free SSL certificate you add to your website supports TLS. However, it is known as SSL Certificate, but it supports both SSL and TLS.
Can I trust the HTTPS website completely?
No, you should not trust a website entirely because of HTTPS status. Many malicious sites now use HTTPS and might not be safe. You should always verify the website’s information and authority before entering any sensitive information.
How much do SSL certificates cost?
You can add an SSL certificate for free by following any of the methods mentioned above. However, paid plans range anywhere from $6/year to up to $699/year, depending upon the type of SSL encryption and provider.
That is all, folks! Thank you so much for reading it so far. If you like the information provided here, please share it with others. If you did not like the post, please share your valuable feedback with me. You can also contact me at [email protected], and I will try to help you with your queries.
Try to add a free SSL to your website, and comment share your experience by commenting here.