How To Obtain Your Own SSL Certificate- Learn The Entire Procedure

As the world is moving towards digitalization there is an equally increased risk against the personal privacy of people. Whenever you log in to a website, you tend to provide private information, which should be encrypted to prevent easy access and viewing. To ensure that the connection is secure and data transfer is, therefore, encrypted, the website should use secure HTTPS and secure sockets layer or SSL. In this article, we will be discussing how to get an SSL certificate or install an SSL certificate on your website.

Malicious entities might try to cheat their way into your website traffic to gain access to files and passwords, by pretending that they are using a secure network connection. By employing the principles of HTTPS and SSL, you will be able to protect your website traffic from hackers and others with bonafide intent.

Different types of SSL Certificates

There several SSL certificates that add authenticity and trust but it will depend on your needs. You should go for Extended Validation (EV) if you own an e-commerce website.

  • Domain Validation or the DV 
  • Organization Validation or the OV
  • Extended Validation or the EV

Determine Your Dedicated IP Address

For an SSL certificate to function, your web server needs to have a fixed and dedicated IP address. You can usually find this IP address listed in your web hosting account if you have a dedicated web server.

If you can’t find it there, you can also find the server IP address at the left pane of the cPanel tool.

Then you need to make a note of this IP address because you’ll need it in the next step when you obtain your new SSL certificate.

Install Your Web Host’s SSL Certificate

The next step is to obtain an SSL certificate for your own.

All websites over the internet need SSL and if you want to make sure your users trust your website you can purchase or use the free certificates. Several web hosting providers have started packaging-free SSL certificates with the hosting packages.

If this is the case with you, then you need to look through the cPanel menu and look for a tool icon that matches the brand of a known secure sockets layer certificate provider.

For instance, the web host Siteground offers its customers a free subscription to the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.

The process of installing SSL on your website is as easy as clicking on the SSL tool icon. You just need to select the domain you want to protect and then enable SSL for that site.

Once the certificate installed, your site will have SSL installed and will start showing to visitors as a secure website.

If you cant find the SSL tool available in cPanel, you should contact your web host just to confirm that they don’t offer SSL certificates.

SSL certificate

If they don’t provide it then you will have to purchase one yourself and install it manually using the steps mentioned below.

How to Purchase a New SSL Certificate?

You are supposed to find a good SSL certificate provider. The cost of this service is comparatively cheap, thus ranging anywhere from $30 to $100 a year.

Below is the list of some of the top SSL certificate providers in the world today:

  1. Let’s Encrypt: The platform is Free but it requires you to frequently re-upload the certificate to renew it.
  2. Comodo SSL: The certificates provided here is pretty expensive but offers a long list of extra features.
  3. Digicert: It is quite inexpensive and provides basic SSL to a pro version for large websites.
  4. GoDaddy: It is well known for its web domain services and GoDaddy also sells website certificates.
  5. Network Solutions: This platform provides affordable basic SSL certificates for small websites as well as more expensive options for larger organizations.
  6. RapidSSL: This platform’s service is run by Symantec and offers some of the most affordable SSL options around.

You will need the name of your domain and the dedicated IP address of the webserver that you noted above to purchase an SSL certificate

Once you have purchased it, you’ll get three pieces of information.

Firstly A Certificate or CRT that verifies your secure website’s authenticity from the certificate provider’s servers. A Private Key or KEY that serves as the “key” that is used to decrypt and encrypt your certificate details when visitors open your site. This key encrypts communication between the visitor’s web browser and your web server.

The third piece of information is CA Bundle which bundles all of the intermediate certificates that make the overall encrypted SSL certification work.

Once you have received these three pieces of information from your SSL provider, you are ready to install the SSL certificate on your website.

How to Install an SSL Certificate?

To install SSL certificate on your website log into your web hosting account and then open the cPanel. Select the SSL/TLS Manager under Security.

Click on the Manage SSL sites to link at the bottom in the SSL/TLS Manager window.

Once you’ve reached the Manage SSL Hosts window, you need to scroll to the bottom where you’ll find Install an SSL website. Now Use the dropdown in this section to select the web host you want to apply the SSL certificate to. Then, in every field for Certificate, Private Key, and Certificate Authority Bundle or CA Bundle, fill in the long text entries that you have received when you initially purchased the SSL certificate.

Now, click on the Install Certificate button at the bottom when you’re completely done.

Now your SSL certificate is installed for the website and will work whenever users type in your domain with the HTTPS in the front of it.

Force Site Visitors to Use SSL

At this point of time, many visitors who’ve already visited your site will still use the old bookmark that has HTTP in front of the domain name. Hence, these visitors will still see the security warning sign in Chrome that claims that your website is unsafe.

This issue can cause you to lose a lot of visitors since they won’t trust your site anymore and will stop visiting the same.

You can resolve this problem by forcing the browser of all of your visitors to modify the URL link so that HTTPS is always in the front of the domain.

In cPanel, open the Files section and then double click on File Manager to open it. Then navigate to the root level directory of your web directory. This is the place where you’ll find the .htaccess file. Then simply right-click on the file and select Edit from the dropdown menu.

.htaccess is the file that controls web server behaviour when visitors open your website. You are supposed to add special code in this file to force your visitor’s browser to use HTTPS instead of HTTP.

Now, the Edit mode will open the .htaccess file in the default editor on your local PC.

Insert the following code at the top of the file:

# START FORCE HTTPS

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{SERVER_NAME}%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]

</IfModule>

# END HTTPS

It will ask if you want to save when you are going to close the file. Click on Confirm to save. Now your new .htaccess file is active and the visitors will be forced to access your site via HTTPS.

Now, Open a web browser and type in the domain of your website.

In Google Chrome you will see a lock icon which means that the site is loading via encrypted HTTPS protocol and this happens only when the SSL certificate is working correctly.

This was our guide on How to get your own SSL certificate for your website. We believe we have provided you with enough information on the SSL certificate. 

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