Why HTTP and SSL is important
As the world is becoming digital rapidly, there is an equally increased risk against personal privacy. Whenever we log into a website, we provide private information, which should be encrypted to prevent easy access and viewing. In order to make sure that the connection is secure and data transfer is encrypted, the website should use secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and secure sockets layer (SSL).
Major search engines such as Google, prefer secure websites to show in their search results. This means that your site is at risk if it doesn’t configure properly with an SSL certificate. At the same time if your website’s URL prefix is using “HTTPS:” chances are there to show it at a higher rank.
Installing Free SSL Certificate On Your WordPress Site Using HTTP File Upload Method
We have been getting a lot of requests on this topic since Google announced to start showing the Non-SSL website as Insecure in web browsers. With that said, SSL prices are killing especially for small business owners having a standard website. To make life easier for small business owners, Let’s Encrypt and Zero SSL is working together for providing Free SSL certificates with a validity of 90 Days. Which means you have renewed it after every 90 Days’ tenure.
There are several ways to generate an SSL certificate using ZeroSSL. Recently we have uploaded an article on how to install a free SSL certificate using an Email Verification Method which is the easiest one, Click here.
In this tutorial, We are going to explain how you can generate free SSL using the HTTP File Upload Method.
This tutorial will guide you step-by-step for:
- Generating free SSL using ZeroSSL
- Installing free SSL using HTTP file upload method
- Setting up a free SSL in your website’s control panel
Create Free SSL with Zero SSL.
1: Go to www.zerossl.com
2: For creating your free account click on the GET FREE SSL button on the top right and get yourself registered with a business or personal email.
3: Following signing up you will be directed to your Dashboard where you see multiple options showing in the interface below:
4: Let’s get to work for generating a Free SSL certificate by clicking the “New Certificate” button. This button will direct you to a new window to enter your website URL. Make sure your website URL doesn’t include any slashes (/), periods (. ,; :), and or HTTP at all otherwise it will show you an error. Simply add your domain address such as xyz.com or www.xyz.com and it will work for you.
5. Another important catch here is to never select a Wildcard as this is a type of SSL needed for extensive setup and don’t really necessary for small or medium size of Business Websites.
6: You can see above a statement is written beside a toggle that “I need a wildcard certificate”. So, this is for someone who is looking for a paid version so if you are that one so you need to enable it for your customized requirements.
7: After adding your domain and the next option shows your validity period which shows you two options; 90 Days Certificate or One-Year Certificate. One year certificate comes up with a paid subscription so click on a 90-day certificate to generate Free SSL for Your Website followed by a click on the next step.
CSR & Contact section
8: It is basically to check if you would like to enter your company’s information manually or want to leave it unattended. Both ways will work so keep it unchecked so that ZeroSSL can automatically generate CSR for your website. Click on the next step.
Finalize your order
9: This will show up some plans which are also cost-effective as compared to hosting providers in the market. Since we are going for a Free SSL; simply Select Free Plan (the very first option) and hit the next step.
Free SSL Installing Using HTTP File Upload Method
At this point, we are all done with creating a Free SSL account and it’s time to get your website URL or web address verified. This step is to make sure you have the ownership rights for the domain you’re generating an SSL certificate. There are three methods mentioned below to get a domain verified but the easiest is the one we are doing in the preceding paras.
Domain verification through; HTTP file upload, DNS records, and Email Verification method.
11: Now the next step is to verify your domain name and which can be done through three methods; Email verification, DNS (Cname), and HTTP file upload.
HTTP FILE UPLOAD
1. From the next window that shows up after having done with creating an account and selecting the right plan; select the Http File Upload option to proceed further. Domain verification through Http File Upload Method, you need to follow 4 steps. The interface of the HTTP File Upload should show up like the one you can see below.
Downloading Auth File
2: To deal with the above challenge for generating a Free SSL and having it configured with your website; First, log in to your hosting account and Go to cPanel or Control Panel associated with the same hosting.
Step 1: Download the Auth file so click on the link and download the file.
Upload Auth File
3: After downloading the Auth file you need to upload on your server.
Step 2: Go to your Cpanel and you need to create a subfolder inside the “.well known” folder. Search and click on “.well known” file, go inside this folder and you will see an “acme-challenge” folder here.
You have to create a new folder here and the new folder name should be exactly like “PKI-Validation” and just click on a new folder option which you can see on the left top beside the file option. Click on the add folder and give it a name. Attention: Make sure you are entering that same name in this folder name which you copied from that second option of HTTP file folder which is “PKI-Validation“. Right? For more check, the screenshots below:
.well known folder
Entering folder name
Uploading Auth File
After, entering the name and hit on a create New folder. Now go inside this folder and upload the file which you have downloaded earlier (Auth Zip.File). How you can upload this? You will see an upload button on top and just click on it and select a file from where you have that file after download.
4: After uploading a file and now make sure your file is successfully uploaded. To check the confirmation of the file just click on the link in the third step. And you will see whether your file has been successfully updated or not.
5: Click on the next step button and the system will ask you to verify your domain, click on the verify the domain. After this, you will get a notification that “congratulations your domain has been verified” Meanwhile, the system will generate a certificate so wait for it. It might take some time. And you will get another notification that “Your certificate has been issued and ready for installation, please follow the steps below”.
Setting up a free SSL in your website’s control panel
Since we have now created a Free SSL account and got your domain verified; the next step will teach you to configure Free Generated SSL on your website. You might need a little bit of technical knowledge to handle stuff that we’re now going to tell you. It is always recommended to use a Tech Person doing so and you can Hire Me to do it for minimal charges but if you have knowledge about cPanel functions you can do it on your own for sure.
1: As long as you’re done with verification let’s click Install Certificate to proceed further. The default server format is Apache since mostly the server uses Apache cPanel but if your server is different then you should select according to your needs. We are moving with Apache as shown in the below screenshot and then downloading a certificate which will be in a .zip file format.
2: Now log in to your website’s cPanel or Control Panel once again. Under the Security section, you can see SSL/TLS options in the below screenshot. Click on SSL/TLS option and under this, you can see 4 options click on the”Manage SSL Sites” to generate a CRT file.
19: After clicking on “Manage SSL sites“, you will see three options; certificate, private key, certificate authority bundle. Now open that file you have extracted above “Domain certificate (.zip)”.
In this next step, you just need to copy-paste these files into corresponding options.
When you’re done with pasting Certificate, CA Bundle, and Private Key, click on the Install Certificate button at the very end of these options. This will show up you the popup as seen in the screenshot below which means your website is now supporting https protocols and secure with an authentic SSL certificate.
Congratulation you have successfully updated or installed a free SSL certificate using the ZeroSSL website.
Attention: Switching your website from HTTP to https is technical and you could lose all of your website data or can face an undetermined downtime. Be sure to backup your website before installing an SSL or moving your domain from HTTP to https protocols.
Hiring a professional is always preferable and if you would like to Hire Me; don’t hesitate to contact me.