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WordPress SSL encryption

As a WordPress user, and also as a visitor to a website, it is important to know about what SSL encryption is and how it works. With constant advances in technology, You need website protection more than ever. This article will be your guide to SSL Certificates and their importance.

What is Secure Sockets Layers (SSL)? Introduction Guide to SSL Certificates

This encrypted protocol is used to protect information exchange and to provide certificate information. It acts as an assurance that the user is communicating with an authentic website. It is called Transport Layer Security protocol, or TLS. Creating trust is very important to make a safe and reliable environment for the user. 

Any website with an SSL Certificate may not be fully secured, however. SSL encrypts your data, which is sent between a SMTP server and a visitor. Although it still can be accessed by hackers, SSL does add an additional security layer to your website.

Let’s look at some key differences between SSL (HTTPS) and non-SSL (HTTP) websites: 

There is a need to inform users that they are using a secure browser. For many commercial websites, membership sites, or sites where users need to login with credentials or payment details, SSL becomes crucial. It secures the user login details, to ease doubts about security. 

Encryption is not limited to websites. Emails are encrypted when they are sent to recipients. You can check out our article on SSL vs TLS to learn more about how encryption of email transmission works.


Websites with no SSL certificate are considered “inauthentic” websites. Chrome or other browsers will mark such sites as insecure. This is indicated on the left side of the URL search bar. Sites having SSL enabled are marked with a “lock” icon on the search bar that indicates safe and secure browsing. It is always recommended for users not to share any confidential information with websites without SSL. You can read more about Web security in our WordPress security guide.

Advantages of installing SSL on your website

SSL helps you gain the trust of your visitors. Some of the advantages of SSL are: 

How does your SSL certificate work?

When the user shares information on the website, the SSL protects this information by encrypting the data. Whenever someone tries to access the website, the browser will then verify the SSL certificate of the website. Next, the browser uses the public key to encrypt the data. When this is sent back to the website, the data is then decrypted (decoded). This is the basic manner in which all secure platforms work, from website builders to safest email providers. Your data is encrypted and sent. Then on the other machine, they get decrypted.

What are the steps to install an SSL certificate?

The steps to install an SSL certificate are quite simple. You can perform them without the guidance of any technological expert. It can be done with minimal coding and few changes to your website. You can easily improve your credibility in very little time through SSL encryption. You can do this using a plugin, or even manually.

Below we explain how you can install an SSL certificate.

Get SSL Certificate

You can purchase an SSL certificate from the host of your website. Another option is to get it for free from “Wildcard SSL Certificate from GreenGeeks”. There are services available that allow transfer or purchase of certificates from a third party. You can also contact your web host provider for the certificate.

Install the Certificate

The next step involves installing the certificate. Start by selecting the domain for which you need the certificate; remember to choose the exact domain address. If you want an easier way to enable the certificate for your website, then you can use existing plugins that can make the necessary changes to your website as soon as a certificate is downloaded. These can save your labor and time. With such a plugin activated, you only need to download your certificate, and the plugin will automatically secure your website. 

Let’s explore some of the best WordPress SSL plugins for your website. 

Cloudflare Flexible SSL:

The first on the list is Cloudflare Flexible SSL. It has provided highly credible services since its foundation. The plugin will make all changes needed. It can also prevent infinite redirect loops on your WordPress website. 

The only steps required are installation and activation; you don’t have to worry about other changes, including any changes made to your website code. This plugin is the most frequently used for this purpose.

WebFactory Ltd’s WP Force plugin for SSL 

The WP Force plugin can be very beneficial to your website. This plugin will prevent pages and posts from accessing HTTP instead of the more secure HTTPS. It will also redirect all traffic to your site to the correct SSL certificate. You do not have to make any changes to make this plugin work. 

Global Sign

Global Sign will provide you with a wide range of certificates and packages. You can choose a certificate as per your needs. This organization has worked for almost 2 decades in the field, and has proven its worth and reliability to its customers. 

Global Sign offers you many certificate options to choose from, including DV SSL, Wildcard SSL, multi-website, etc.

Really Simple Plugins – Really Simple SSL

If you are looking for something which makes certificate activation simpler, then the Really Simple SSL plugin can actually reduce your work. You just have to install it and activate it, and you don’t have to worry about making any additional changes. 

This plugin will edit your .htaccess file when SSL is detected on your website. You will have easy access to configuration settings, giving you information as to what the plugin has installed.  

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SSL.com

SSL.com has a reliable reputation in the market. This allows you to choose from different offers. They also provide services to design customized certificates for specific business types considering the level of security needed. Many trusted companies have linked with SSL.com in the past to access their services. 

Comodo

The certificates provided by Comodo are verified by 99.9% of devices. They provide you with free trial services so that you can understand exactly how certificates can help you. Comodo is a trusted name when it comes to delivering SSL certificates to websites. 

Certificate types such as OV and EV can make installation of certificates easy, by providing you with the necessary tools for the installation. Types of certificates provided are: 

Security is an area that you cannot ignore if you want to have a successful website. Finding the right type of certificate is as necessary as having the certificate itself. The right type depends on the level of information that is being exchanged on the website.

Things to consider when adding an SSL certificate to your website

Certificate Authority

Another crucial aspect to keep in mind when learning about SSL certificates is choosing a Certificate Authority (CA). This is the authority that provides the certificate. The authority is responsible for issuing certificates, and hence they investigate your information at all levels before you can obtain the certificate. 

Carefully research before choosing a CA. The CA should offer you the type and level of security you expect for your users. 

How to install SSL on your WordPress site

There are several plugins that you can use to install a free SSL certificate on your WordPress site. In this article we have described one such plugin (Really Simple SSL).

Using plugins (such as Really Simple SSL)

Install the plugin that you want to use for SSL, and then activate the plugin. Then open the settings and then the SSL tab in your dashboard. The plugin will take care of everything from there; it will detect your SSL certificate and will apply it to your WordPress website. Your site is now HTTPS protected.

To view this, you can open the plugins dashboard and click Settings. Here you can now see “https:” before your domain name.

Manually modifying the website

This method is a bit more advanced, and you might need a WordPress developer to perform this task. 

Click the Settings tab and select the General tab. 

Now, update your WordPress website URL with an https URL, instead of the http URL. see the image below. 

Now click on “Save Changes”.

Once you have saved the changes, you will now be logged out from your dashboard. Log in again. 

You then need to redirect your WordPress HTTP website URL to the new HTTPS URL by entering the following code in the .htaccess file: 

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
</IfModule>

Now your entire website is SSL Secure !!

Note that when you share certain information with this website, you need to be certain about the authentication of the website, because the information you provide includes your customers’ information as well. Hence all your communications (emails, autoresponders, marketing automation, chatbots) should all be well-protected, and should only be subscribed from SSL-enabled websites.

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