If you host your website with a popular web host like GoDaddy or InMotion, you should expect to pay $69.99-$99.99 per year for an SSL certificate. Some hosting providers charge you an installation fee as well. So, if you are wondering how to get an SSL certificate for FREE, this guide will answer that for you.
With HTTPS being a Google ranking signal, you should move your old site from HTTP to HTTPS to stay one step ahead of the competition. If you are starting out a new site, it’s always a good idea to start with HTTPS because it will also help you get indexed quickly in Google. HTTPS not only helps with rankings but also protects your website & visitors.
Places to get an SSL certificate for free
1. Let’s Encrypt
Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit certificate authority sponsored by internet giants like Facebook, Google, Cisco, Mozilla, etc. It is owned by the Internet Security Research Group whose mission is to secure internet communication. It provides SSL/TLS certificates for free.
One important point to note: Let’s Encrypt certificates are valid for 90 days at a time & then you need to renew them. The easiest way to get a free SSL with them is by hosting your website with a web host that provides built-in support for them.
Click this link to see the list of hosting companies that have integrated support for them. As of now, 1&1 Internet and InMotion hosting have no plans to support them anytime soon.
You can also sign up for hosting with SiteGround where they provide Let’s Encrypt SSLs for free with automatic renewal every 90 days. Installing and activating SSLs in the control panel is easy and they will setup & transfer your old site for free too.
2. Cloudflare SSL
If you use Cloudflare as a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for your website, they have the option of ‘Flexible SSL’ which is fast, easy and secure to a certain extent. Flexible SSL however, is not full SSL. Data from user’s browser to the server is encrypted, but data from the server back to the user’s browser is not. So, you should think twice before using Flexible SSL. It is secure, but not 100% secure.
3. SSL For Free
SSL For Free is an interface that lets you generate free SSL certificates using Let’s Encrypt’s ACME server by using domain validation. The certificates are still issued by Let’s Encrypt, but the interface is easy and just requires entering of FTP information to verify domain ownership. If in case FTP information is not available, you can verify ownership using the manual file upload method.
If you are planning to get an SSL certificate for your existing WordPress website, you will also need to follow a few steps to move your website from HTTP to HTTPS. See these steps below.
6 Easy Steps to move your WordPress website from HTTP TO HTTPS
Follow these steps, after you have been issued an SSL certificate:
- Change the WordPress URL & Site URL by going to Settings > General to the new HTTPS URL.
- Install Really Simple SSL plugin and click on activate SSL.
- Change the website URL to the new HTTPS URL in your Google Analytics account.
- Add the HTTPS URL in Google Search Console using ‘Add a property’ option. Do fetch and submit to index. Submit the new HTTPS sitemap. Next, submit disavow file (if you have any) in the new property.
- Submit HTTPS sitemap in Bing.
- Change your social media URLs to point to the new address.
If you are moving your website from HTTP to HTTPS, there is a very helpful guide by KeyCDN.
Note: Do not use StartCom & WoSign SSL certificates. Google & Mozilla have distrusted them due to misissuance.
Want more? See SEO Hero’s Top 20 Google Ranking Signals.
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