This website uses cookies

Our website, platform and/or any sub domains use cookies to understand how you use our services, and to improve both your experience and our marketing relevance.

CloudwaysCDN — a powerful solution that offers superior performance and satisfied global audience for your business. Read More

Add FREE SSL Certificate to WordPress Websites

Updated on  1st February

5 Min Read
wordpress free ssl
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is the standard for encrypted communication between web servers and web browsers. It makes sure that the communication between the server and the browser is encrypted and private. When compiling SERP, Google prefers SSL certified websites. When you secure a site via SSL, a padlock icon is visible in the address bar, and the URL prefix changes from http:// to https://.

If you own a WordPress website you probably are concerned about WordPress security issues. Despite all the vulnerabilities — sometimes with great strength — you must know how to fix them!

Google Chrome will mark HTTP sites as ‘Not secure’ from October 2017. This is a dire situation for Non-SSL sites as it will result in alarmingly fewer visitors as well as sales.

“Eventually, we plan to label all HTTP pages as non-secure, and change the HTTP security indicator to the red triangle that we use for broken HTTPS,” said Emily Schecter from Chrome Security Team.


1. What is Let’s Encrypt?

Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA). It is a service provided by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). By using Let’s Encrypt, anyone who owns a domain can add a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate without any cost.

2. SSL Boost SEO Ranking

Google is trying to make the internet more secure by offering SSL certified websites an edge in SERP listings. The search engine apparently prefers SSL certified sites over non-SSL certified. SSL certificates are an important factor in the over SERP positioning strategy. You could read about the relation in-depth here.

Create Server to Deploy WordPress Application

For the purpose of this blog, I assume that you have already Signed up, created a server with WordPress installed and pointed your domain. If not, here is how you can create the server and install WordPress on it.


Open Application to Add Free SSL Certificate

If you have successfully launched a server and application at Cloudways, go to the Applications tab available on the top left of the screen. All applications installed on a server will be listed there. In this tutorial, I will use a WordPress website to add free SSL certificate.

applications view

3. Adding SSL to WordPress Application

Again from the left pane, go to SSL Certificate tab and fill in your details. Click on Install Certificate.

P.S: Domain name should be the website domain that you’ve already done in Domain Management tab.

SSL management

Important: Please make sure that your domain is live with complete DNS propagation. Otherwise, you won’t be able to install the SSL certificate.

Note: If you have your own SSL then you can follow this custom SSL certification guide

Auto Renewal of SSL Certificate

The process will take a few moments to complete. Once completed, your website will start serving on HTTPS too. Certificates issued by Let’s Encrypt need to be renewed every 90 days. Cloudways will handle the renewal process automatically if you set the Auto Renewal option to Yes.

Renewal of SSL

Change All Internal URLs to HTTPS

After successful installation of the certificate, go to the WordPress Admin Panel. From the left pane, navigate to Settings -> General. Before WordPress Address and Site Address input https instead of http and click on Save Changes at the bottom of the page. This will change all internal URLs to https.

Wordpress Address setting

4. Mix Content Warning:

Now, visit your website and verify that all internal links are moved to https. If you can still see an info icon ⓘ on few of your web pages, then it indicates that one or more of the URLs are serving via http on a relevant page. We need to identify that URL/s.

There is an excellent online tool to check Non-SSL content by JitBit. It will crawl and check for non-ssl links on complete site. I have scanned my testing site, and you can see the result that some URLs are having insecure content serving via http.

ssl errors

To fix them, there is an awesome plugin Velvet Blues Update URLs that will check all URLs and update them.

Install the plugin, and navigate to Tools -> Update URLs and configure the plugin as below.

update urls

5. Redirect HTTP to HTTPS

Although, all internal links have been moved to HTTPS, if someone visits the site with http, it will not be forced to serve via https. In this step, I will add a rule to redirect all traffic from http to https by using .htaccess file.

P.S: WordPress .htaccess file is the control room of the website. Even a single misspelled dot (.) could damage WordPress site. Before making any changes, backup your .htaccess file to an offsite location.

Redirection of WordPress websites to HTTPS can easily be fixed by adding a few lines to the “.htaccess” file. Login to your hosting account, navigate to your WordPress root directory and open .htaccess file with any editor. At the beginning of the file, paste the following lines.

The .htaccess file should look something like:

6. Configure HTTPS in Google Search Console

To track https links in Google Search Console, go to the Google Analytics Dashboard and then get into the Admin area. Choose your required property and click on Property Settings.

analytics property setting

From the right-hand side, change the Default URL from http:// to https:///
property setting

Go one step back and get into the View tab.

view settings

And change Website’s URL to https.

website url

And you are done with Let’s Encrypt integration on a WordPress site. Don’t forget to change all dependent URLs from HTTP to HTTPS. Like on the Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. As they will be tracked in Google Analytics.

Having trouble integrating FREE SSL certificate on WordPress website? Feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.

Share your opinion in the comment section. COMMENT NOW

Mustaasam Saleem

Mustaasam is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WordPress Hosting Platform, where he actively works and loves sharing his knowledge with the WordPress Community. When he is not working, you can find him playing squash with his friends, or defending in Football, and listening to music. You can email him at

Make Your WordPress Website 100% Faster.

Host it now on Cloudways WordPress Hosting Platform.

Get Our Newsletter
Be the first to get the latest updates and tutorials.