In this tutorial I’ll show you exactly how to install a free SSL certificate in 1 minute for your WordPress website with SiteGround.
After the SiteGround Free SSL certificate installation your WordPress website is provided with a secure Https connection that you can recognize by the padlock icon in the browser.
There are important benefits to provide your website with an SSL Certificate and this will be explained further in this tutorial.
What is an SSL Certificate?
To start off, I will briefly explain what an SSL certificate is and the advantages it has to offer. SSL is short for Secure Sockets Layer. With this you secure the traffic between your browser and the server of your hosting.
The SSL certificate provides an encrypted connection for the visitor’s computer and the server of your website.
This encrypted connection makes it possible to send data securely over the internet.
Without an SSL certificate, all information is sent in plain text and cyber criminals can take advantage of this.
How to recognize a valid SSL Certificate and a secure connection
The secure connection prevents cyber criminals from viewing and misusing sensitive information.
For that reason, the recognizable padlock icon is used to indicate whether a website is safe or not. Depending on the browser you use and the type of SSL certificate you have installed, the padlock can sometimes also have a green color.
If the connection is secure the URL also indicates https in the browser. This is an abbreviation for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure and the letter S indicates that the connection is secure.
If a website does not have a secure connection, a warning notification icon will be displayed instead of the padlock icon.
An unsafe website also does not have https but instead it only has http (without s) displayed in the URL.
SiteGround free SSL certificate included in all hosting plans
A big advantage of SiteGround is that a free SSL certificate is included in all hosting plans available for your WordPress website. In this case, it is a Let’s Encrypt certificate which is fine for a regular website or blog.
With some web hosting companies you can only buy an SSL certificate. The costs can sometimes be more than $ 100
As you can see in the image blow there are no costs involved at all at SiteGround so that’s great!
Benefits of a secure connection
An SSL certificate has several benefits for your website. I will briefly explain the main ones so that you have a good understanding of this.
Limit the risk of cybercrime
With an insecure connection it is much easier for cyber criminals to retrieve sensitive information. Of course you want to prevent this for yourself and the visitors of the website.
For this reason alone, it is wise to set up an SSL certificate.
Don’t lose traffic
As mentioned earlier, without an SSL certificate, a warning message is often displayed before the page is loaded. This has a negative impact on the number of visitors of your website.
To ensure that you do not lose traffic, it is important to ensure that the website has a secure https connection.
SSL is good for SEO
Websites with a secure connection are rewarded by search engines with a higher ranking in the search results. So this will also improve the findability of the website.
Legal GDPR obligation
Since the GDPR laws, an SSL certificate is always mandatory for websites that process personal data. Because the privacy and security is very important, an SSL certificate is an important factor for your website.
All of the above factors also contribute to the reliability and thrustworthiness of your website.
SiteGround free SSL Certificate install (Step by step Guide)
After you have logged into the WordPress dashboard after installing it, you can see at the top of the page that the URL is not secure yet at this point.
If you now go to the website in a new incognito tab, you can see how the site is currently displayed for regular visitors.
It doesn’t look very nice and clean yet and in another tutorial I will explain exactly how to create a professional looking website.
But for now it is all about the SSL certificate and the https connection…so let’s move on!
Again you can see that the connection is not secure indicated by the icon with the warning sign.
Navigate to Site Tools panel (Step 1)
To set up the free SSL certificate you need to follow a few simple steps.
We leave the incognito tab open for now and in another tab you go to the SiteGround Site Tools panel for the website as you can see on the image below.
In the previous tutorial I also explained exactly how to navigate to the Site Tools panel in your SiteGround account.
If you are completely new to SiteGround and do not know how to navigate to the Site Tools panel then I recommend you to check that out aswell.
Request SSL Certificate (Step 2)
To request the free SSL certificate you need to go to Security in the menu on the left side and click on SSL Manager.
At Select Domain you can already see that the correct domain has been selected. Go to the Select SSL field and select the option Let’s Encrypt. Then click the orange Get button to request the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
Enforce HTTPS (Step 3)
After a few seconds of waiting you will see that the certificate is visible. Now click on the icon with the 3 dots and select the option Enforce Https.
The next thing to do is switch on the Enforce HTTPS option.
WordPress General Settings (Step 4)
After you have enabled the Https enforce option, you go back to the WordPress dashboard of the website. Now click on Settings in the navigation menu and then select General.
As you can see, this is a brand new WordPress installation and everything is still at the default settings. In the next tutorial I will show you which settings you have to adjust in the WordPress dashboard after a new installation.
But let’s move on to finish the set up for the SSL certificate…
You will see that http is indicated in the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) fields. Add an s to both fields after http, so that https is indicated like you can see on the image below:
After that’s done don’t forget to scroll down and click on Save Changes.
Now you have to log in again with the login details you entered during the WordPress installation.
After the correct details has been entered you can log into the dashboard.
As you can see, the padlock is now visible in the URL and you can see that it also has a secure https connection.
Enable HTTPS in SG Optimizer plugin (Step 5)
Now we move on to the last step. In the WordPress dashboard menu go to SG Optimizer and then select the option Environment Optimization.
At the top you will see the option Enable HTTPS and all you have to do is switch it on and confirm.
Now the SSL certificate is all set and if you now go back to the incognito tab to the frontend of the website and refresh the page you will see that the connection is secure!
After setting up the SSL certificate
Your website now has a secure connection and SiteGround will ensure that the SSL certificate remains up to date.
I hope everything was clear and if you have any further questions or comments please let me know in the comments of this tutorial on YouTube.
Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the YouTube channel. I would appreciate that very much!
In the next tutorial I will show you the general settings you have to do in the WordPress dashboard!
You can check out the SiteGround hosting reviews for all different plans over here: