So, do you look to get a free SSL certificate for your WordPress website to accept online payments and make the website secure for transactions and for customers? Well, you’re then on a right path as sites not using this certificate are considered insecure which can hamper their prospects in the long run.
SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is basically an internet protocol meant to secure data transfer between a browser and the website visited by a user/s for transaction purposes. We know users transfer information when they visit sites, and the same can be hijacked by hackers when the normal HTTP protocol is used.
By using SSL or HTTP, all the sensitive information of users, be it card details, login credentials or personal information for payment can be kept safe and secure. So, websites using SSL will need this certificate recognized by a concerned authority.
The SSL certificated thus used is verified and highlighted in the browser bar address with a padlock sign and HTTPS.
Why an SSL Certificate for WordPress Website?
- Although all the websites on the net are recommended SSL/HTTPS, the certificate is even more important for those that collect sensitive user information for transaction purposes
- An SSL certificate is an absolute must for anyone running either an online store or a membership website, or to all those who require users to log in
- All top online payment services also ask websites to use the certificate before start getting or receiving payments from customers or users
- Security is not the only reason behind using an SSL certificate for your website as it can also be used to boost trust among users
- In fact, Google gives a ranking boost to sites using SSL certificates while Chrome browser shows ‘insecure’ to those sites not using the same
- How Does SSL Certificate Work?
- SSL encrypts the data transfer between the website and a user’ browser to help protect information
- When users visit websites, it’s the browser that first verifies if the site’s SSL certificate is valid
- The browser will use special keys to encrypt the data transfer but not before it has checked out everything and found the site secure
- The data will then be sent back to the website where the SSL key is used for decryption
How to Get an SSL Certificate for Free?
Cost of SSL certificates will vary from one authority to another but in general, the pricing could be between $50-200 / year. The cost may also go on in cases the provider also offers add-on services with the certificate. Before buying the one for your website, it’s important to identify and choose a right authority and partner. And once you purchased it, you can take help of a hosting provider to get it installed.
Cost however should not stop you from using SSL else your website may be prone to information and data theft. And if does, you can look to benefit from the ‘Let’s Encrypt’ project which has established a free certificate authority. This project now enjoys the support of major brands like Google, WordPress, Facebook etc.
The best part, you can install this project by yourself but not before –
- You have coding knowledge
- You’re familiar with how the server things work
- And SSH access to use command line tools
For that reason, beginners may find it difficult to properly set up Let’s Encrypt SSL. But yes, they can thus turn to one of many top WordPress hosting companies offering the certificate for free with their hosting plans. You can select one of them and avoid the troubles that come from installing the SSL certificate on own.
And if you’re already benefiting from one of these companies, you can this easily turn on the certificate from the hosting dashboard. Your hosting provider can also enable it for you, if you ask them for that.
Tips to Set-Up WordPress After Enabling Free SSL certificate
What next after having enabled the free SSL certificate? Well, you can then set up WordPress so that you can replace HTTP with HTTPS in all your URLs. Which can be done by installing and activating the Really Simple SSL plugin on your website.
Once activated, the plugin will analyse to ensure whether the certificate is enabled, and it’s is, it will turn on HTTP to HTTPS redirect and then change the website settings to enable the use of SSL.
Although all the mix content issues will be fixed by this plugin, you may still find some files loading from HTTP rather than HTTPS. You however can fix this issue by finding those files using the Inspect tool and then by fixing them.
You can also take help of a top web development company to get ease with your SSL certificates and make your WordPress as secure as required by customers for transactions.