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.

📣 Try the fastest hosting platform with pay-as-you-go pricing & 24/7 expert support! MIGRATE NOW →

WordPress SSL: How to Install and Configure SSL Certificates to Secure Your Website

Updated on October 5, 2023

8 Min Read
main

Do your visitors bounce back from your websites despite the effective SEO strategies? Problems like these may occur if your website’s security seems unreliable, not just to the search engines but also to the visitors.

That’s when you need SSL certificates. In today’s digital world, securing your website is not just an option; it’s a necessity. As website owners, safeguarding sensitive data and providing a secure browsing environment for your visitors should be an utmost priority.

But don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. This blog discusses everything related to WordPress SSL and its configuration steps on WordPress sites.

So, let’s begin!

What Is WordPress SSL?

WordPress SSL means adding a security feature called an SSL certificate to your WordPress website. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard that keeps information safe when it goes from a server to a web browser.

When you visit a website with SSL, your browser gets a special certificate, like a digital ID card. It checks if the certificate is authentic. Once it is verified, all the data sent through the secure connection is encrypted so no one else can read it.

You know a website is secure when you see a closed padlock symbol and “https” in the website address.

Why Is an SSL Certificate Important?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or its more modern version, TLS (Transport Layer Security), is essential for several reasons, including:

  • It protects sensitive information by encrypting the data that is to be transmitted over the network.
  • It verifies the identity of the website owner.
  • It builds trust among the users by ensuring that the information is secured by SSL.
  • SSL helps maintain data integrity by ensuring that the data transmitted between the server and the user’s browser remains intact.
  • SSL can boost your site’s SEO, as search engines favor SSL-enabled websites.

Secure Your Site with Cloudways!

Ensure your projects are backed by robust security features, including a complimentary SSL certificates. With Cloudways WordPress Hosting, not only do you get top-tier security, but you also receive a complimentary SSL certificate.

How Does an SSL Certificate Work?

The SSL protocol comprises four essential layers: SSL record, Handshake, Change-cipher spec, and Alert protocol.

These layers provide a robust framework to secure data transmission between a server and a web browser. Within this framework, cryptographic keys facilitate encryption and decryption, while an authentication model relies on both public and private keys.

In this model, the public key encrypts the data while the private key decrypts. This process occurs within the Handshake layer of the SSL protocol, which involves the exchange of asymmetric cryptographic keys for data encryption and decryption.

How to Install and Configure SSL Certificates on Your WordPress Site

Let’s learn how you can easily install and configure Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates on your WordPress site with Cloudways.

Cloudways’ support for Let’s Encrypt ensures a seamless installation and renewal process for this free certificate on all your web applications. And if you’re using Cloudflare Enterprise, you might not need an additional SSL certificate, but for added security, you can optionally install the Let’s Encrypt on your Cloudways origin server.

Deploying Let’s Encrypt SSL through Cloudways is a breeze. Follow these steps for a hassle-free setup.

Note: Installing a new SSL certificate will replace any existing one, as each application can have only one certificate at a time.

Prerequisites

Before installing an SSL certificate on your WordPress website, make sure you follow the prerequisites below:

  • Your website should be live, meaning your domains are mapped correctly, and DNS records are correctly pointed.
  • If you are using any Web Application Firewall (WAF) services like Cloudflare, Sucuri, etc., then follow the steps mentioned in the below sub-headings.

Cloudflare Users

When using Cloudflare, be cautious as you may need to temporarily disable their protection during the SSL certificate deployment process, leaving your site vulnerable to potential attacks. For added security, WordPress users can activate Bot Protection.

Cloudflare acts as a prominent reverse proxy service, involving updates to your default nameservers, DNS record redirection, and routing traffic through Cloudflare to your website. After successfully deploying the certificate, remember to clear your Cloudflare cache.

Sucuri Users

If you are using Sucuri for security, it’s advisable to disable their protection by reverting DNS records to your server during SSL certificate deployment. Exercise caution, especially if your website is susceptible to attacks.

Ensure you enable the “Forward Certificate Validation” setting by contacting Sucuri’s support team. Once completed, you’ll be ready to deploy the SSL certificate.

Other WAF Services

For other Web Application Firewall (WAF) services, you’ll also need to disable WAF protection until the SSL certificate is deployed temporarily. Take precautions, especially if your site is susceptible to attacks.

Now that we’re done with the prerequisites, let’s see how to install & configure SSL certificates on your WordPress site. Follow these steps:

Step #1 — Navigate to SSL Management

  • Log in to the Cloudways Platform.
  • From the Dashboard, click on the “View all Servers” link.

View all Servers

  • Choose the target server where your desired application is deployed.

Choose the target server

  • Next, click www.
  • Select your application.

Select your application.

  • Under Application Management, click the SSL Certificate.

click the SSL Certificate.

Step #2 — Deploying SSL Certificate

  • Under SSL Management, select Let’s Encrypt.

Now, decide between two options: securing a single domain or multiple domains using an SSL certificate.

Single Domain

A single domain entails securing just one domain, like cloudways.com. Follow the steps below to deploy an SSL certificate on a single domain:

  • First, select the Let’s Encrypt certificate.
  • Enter your email address & desired domain.
  • Click on the Install Certificate button.

Click on the Install Certificate button.

The Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate will be deployed in a few minutes.

Multiple Domain

On the other hand, multiple domains encompass additional domains and subdomains, such as cloudways.com, www.cloudways.icu, support.cloudways.com, and so on, or even a Wildcard SSL Certificate, represented as *.cloudways.com.

  1. Multi-domain (SAN) Certificate
  • Enter your email address.
  • Add your domain in Domain Name. You can add additional domains by clicking Add Domain.
  • Once done, click Install Certificate.

click Install Certificate.

  1. Wildcard Certificate
  • Enter your email address.
  • Add your root domain (without any prefix, e.g., “www”) in Domain Name.
  • Apply Wildcard.

Note: The Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL Certificate necessitates DNS authentication. Follow the instructions below to create a CNAME record for your domain within your DNS/Domain registrar panel.

  • You need to create a CNAME record using the information below in your Domain/DNS provider panel for the DNS authentication process.
  1. Record Type: CNAME
  2. Host/Name: _acme-challenge
  3. Value/Alias: Your Cloudways’ default Application’s FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name). It is available on the same screen as shown in the image below.
  4. TTL: “Time To Live” is a propagation time. You can either choose the default value or 600 Seconds (or 10 minutes).

Apply Wildcard

Here is the visual representation of cName record on your domain registrar:

cName record

DNS propagation usually takes 5 minutes, but sometimes it can take up to 24 hours.

CNAME Record Propagation

Here’s how you can check the CNAME record propagation:

  • Visit whatsmydns’ official website.
  • Type your website’s URL with the prefix _acme-challenge, e.g., _acme-challenge.yourdomain.com.
  • Choose CNAME.
  • Click on the Search button.

Here, it shows that the CNAME record is successfully propagated.

 CNAME record is successfully propagated.

  • Now, go back to the Cloudways platform and click on the Verify DNS button.
  • You will notice that the Install Certificate button is deactivated. It will be activated once the DNS is verified.

click on the Verify DNS

  • You can also renew the SSL certificate by clicking on the Renew Now button.

Renew Now

How to Test If  SSL Certificates Are Working Properly

Many online SSL certificate checkers are available in the market. You just need to enter your domain name and check the results. I’m using SSL Shopper for this article; the results below show that my site is safe and secure.

Test If SSL Certificates Are Working Properly

Troubleshooting the Common WordPress SSL Errors

Securing your WordPress website with an SSL certificate is essential, but it can sometimes lead to errors. Let’s explore some common SSL errors and their actionable solutions.

Whether you’re a WordPress pro or a beginner, fixing these SSL errors ensures a smooth, secure browsing experience.

Mixed Content Errors

These errors occur when your website contains both secure (HTTPS) and non-secure (HTTP) content, such as images or scripts.

How to Fix: Use a plugin or manually update links and resources to HTTPS. Add this code to your .htaccess file to force HTTPS:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} !^443$

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

RewriteBase /

RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

</IfModule>

Caching Problems

Cached resources may still load over HTTP even after enabling SSL.

How to Fix: Clear your website’s cache and configure your caching plugin to work correctly with HTTPS. Purge the website cache and server-side caching like Varnish by navigating to the Cloudways Platform → Server Management → Manage Services.

Manage Services

Prioritize Security with Cloudways’ Secure WordPress Hosting

Ensure your projects are backed by robust security features, including a complimentary SSL certificates.

Summary

Now we know that securing your WordPress website with SSL certificates is a necessity. By addressing common SSL errors and configuring your certificates correctly, you not only enhance your site’s trustworthiness but also improve its performance and SEO ranking.

Whether you’re a seasoned WordPress expert or just starting out, mastering SSL installation and troubleshooting is vital for ensuring your site’s reliability and security. So, dive into secure web hosting with Cloudways and provide your audience the peace of mind they deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does WordPress give free SSL?

Indeed, while WordPress doesn’t provide free SSL, hosting providers such as Cloudways offer free SSL hosting through Let’s Encrypt, ensuring your WordPress site is secure at no extra cost.

How do you get an SSL certificate for WordPress?

To get an SSL certificate for WordPress, acquire a certificate from a certificate authority (like Let’s Encrypt), install it on your web server, configure your server, and force WordPress to use HTTPS through settings or a plugin.

How do you update the WordPress SSL certificate?

You should use a domain-validated (DV) SSL certificate for most websites. Organizations and e-commerce platforms might consider organization-validated (OV) or extended-validation (EV) certificates for added trust.

How do you update the WordPress SSL certificate?

Here’s how you can update your WordPress SSL certificate:

  • Renew the certificate with your provider
  • Install the new certificate on your web server
  • Update your web server configuration
  • Verify the installation is correct using SSL checking tools
Share your opinion in the comment section. COMMENT NOW

Share This Article

Liza Rajput

Liza Rajput is a Technical Content Producer at Cloudways. Being a software engineer, she loves to play with data and its processes and wishes to grow and excel in Data Science and Big Data Engineering. She has also been an avid reader and exceptional writer, with sufficient experience in technical, research-based, and creative writing.

×

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

Thankyou for Subscribing Us!

×

Webinar: How to Get 100% Scores on Core Web Vitals

Join Joe Williams & Aleksandar Savkovic on 29th of March, 2021.

Do you like what you read?

Get the Latest Updates

Share Your Feedback

Please insert Content

Thank you for your feedback!

Do you like what you read?

Get the Latest Updates

Share Your Feedback

Please insert Content

Thank you for your feedback!

Want to Experience the Cloudways Platform in Its Full Glory?

Take a FREE guided tour of Cloudways and see for yourself how easily you can manage your server & apps on the leading cloud-hosting platform.

Start my tour

CYBER WEEK SAVINGS

  • 0

    Days

  • 0

    Hours

  • 0

    Mints

  • 0

    Sec

GET OFFER

For 4 Months &
40 Free Migrations

For 4 Months &
40 Free Migrations

Upgrade Now