Are you hoping to boost your site’s security with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)? Learn how to set up WordPress SSL in three simple steps!
If you’re a WordPress website owner, you probably already know the importance of security. However, if you’re like most people, you’re not a Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) expert. Therefore, you might be wondering how to set up WordPress SSL for your site.
Fortunately, protecting your site with an SSL certificate is pretty simple. With the right tools, you can likely do it at no extra cost, and in just a few steps.
In this post, we’ll go over the basics of SSL and the importance of HTTPS. Then, we’ll show you how to set up WordPress SSL in three easy steps. Let’s get started!
An introduction to SSL and HTTPS
There are many ways you can protect your website, from using a backup plugin to blocking form spam. However, the more comprehensive your WordPress security, the better. If you want to run a successful website, it's smart to always be on the lookout for the latest in security trends.
In recent years, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) has become a must. In a nutshell, it's the encrypted version of HTTP, and you need an SSL certificate from a to get it.
This added layer of security has become increasingly important, as cybercrime and fraud are on the rise. Moreover, Google now flags your web server as dangerous if it isn't protected, showing visitors a warning message before they can view your pages.
Similarly, popular WordPress security plugins also recommend configuring your htaccess file to force https using 301 redirects or other methods to make sure only secure pages are accessed.
Therefore, neglecting to make the shift to HTTPS (using an SSL certificate) can put your site in danger, damage your reputation, and even hurt your search engine rankings.
All websites should implement HTTPS, but it's even more essential for certain types of online businesses. Any site that processes payments or collects personal information should force SSL to protect from that data from fraud.
How to set up WordPress SSL (in 3 steps)
Now that you know why setting up WordPress SSL is so important, let's look at how do it in three simple steps!
Step 1: Check whether you already have an SSL certificate
If you set up your website with one of the best WordPress hosting providers, you may already have an SSL certificate. Some of the more reputable hosts include them in their plans.
Here are some web hosts that are endorsed by WordPress, and also offer an SSL certificate:
However, you'll want to read the fine print here, as some of these plans only offer a free SSL certificate for one year. Also, keep in mind that SSL and Transport Layer Security (TLS) are essentially the same thing, so if you have a TLS, that will work too.
You may need to ask your provider to activate your SSL certificate. Alternatively, you may need to do this yourself via your control panel.
If you don't have a free SSL certificate, you may want to look into a paid service like Digicert:
However, this is only recommended if you know you need some premium features, like a wildcard certificate. If you won’t need advanced SSL capabilities, you don’t have to worry about it. Simply move on to the next step and we’ll show you how you can get a free SSL certificate for WordPress.
Step 2: Install a WordPress SSL plugin
There is a way you can manually set up HTTPS and SSL, but it's much faster and easier to do with a WordPress plugin that adds SSL for you. With this type of tool, you can simply enable your SSL certificate from the WordPress admin.
One of the most popular plugins for the job is Really Simple SSL Plugin:
To get started, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins → Add New. Then, locate Really Simple SSL using the search bar. Next, click on Install Now, followed by Activate:
Then, if you already have an SSL certificate, simply click on the Activate SSL button on the following page:
Alternatively, select Install SSL Certificate and follow the prompts to get a free one via the Let's Encrypt certificate authority. It's as easy as that.
Step 3: Update your site with Google Search Console (optional)
If you want to ensure that the new HTTPS version of your site doesn't negatively impact your search engine rankings, you'll need to update it in Google Search Console:
This is because Google will view the HTTP and HTTPS versions as two different websites unless you add the new one. Keep in mind that this step is only for those who already use Google Search Console. If you don't, you'll want to set it up.
After that, you can simply navigate back to your Google Search Console dashboard and click on Add a Property. Simply input your new HTTPS website address and follow the prompts to verify the new version of your site. That's it!
Top-notch security is essential if you want to run a successful website. Using an SSL certificate is an effective way to enhance your site’s security. Setting up WordPress SSL is also affordable and beginner-friendly.
Simply follow these steps and you’ll be good to go:
- Check whether you already have an SSL certificate.
- Install a WordPress SSL plugin, like Really Simple SSL.
- Update your site with Google Search Console (optional but recommended).
Now that your WordPress site is optimized to protect your customers, you’re more than ready to start collecting information securely. If you manage business listings, check out our Business Directory Plugin today!