Purchase, install, configure, and redirect an SSL

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the common security technology for establishing an encrypted transaction layer between a web server and a browser. This transaction layer ensures that any post data passed between the web server and browsers remain encrypted. SSL is used by millions of websites. It is a mandatory requirement for any e-commerce site.

Why should you use SSL?

  1. Secure collected information from your website visitors.
  2. All modern browsers like SSL secured website. You have no choice go without an SSL.
  3. SSL promotes your website ranking on search consoles.

How to purchase an SSL certificate?

An SSL certificate has 4 different files. No matter where you buy it and order it from. you will have a CSR, Private Key, certificate and Intermediate certificate. Lets see what are these files are and how to get all these files in place.

Generate a CSR from hosting panel or server root.

Most of the time either in cPanel or Plesk there is an option called “SSL/TLS” or “SSL certificate”. Under this option you can insert your domain information to generate an CSR (Certificate Signing Request). Steps included to complete this task are,

  • Access to the cPanel or plesk subscription and find “SSL/TLS” or “SSL certificate” option from the applications dashboard.

  • In the second step you will have to insert information of your business, website and personal information to generate a CSR. Informationyou need to provide are City, Province, email, domain/business name and country. Click “request” or “generate” once all mandatory information is inserted. Don’t choose “self-assigned” if you are going to buy a real SSL certificate.
  • copy and paste this CSR in a text editor. notepad++, notepad or atom text editor etc. You will need the CSR in order to purchase the certificate.

Purchase an SSL from an authorized certificate provider.

  • Visit the website of the certificate provider’s. See the list of authorized SSL certificate providers. Not all certificate providers offer a similar amount of warranty. Check for the best available options.
  • Follow the instructions to order an SSL certificate. There are several ways to order a certificate. Make sure how you want to receive the SSL certificate from the provider. It can be done in 3 ways:
    • via email. In this case, you will need to have an email address with your domain name and it must be either admin, webmaster, postmaster, administrator, or hostmaster. This is the easiest way if you have any of the above email address.
    • Via File. In this case, use your preferred email address. After you have placed the order, you will be prompted with two links. One is “authfile.txt” download link and another for “submitting validation request”. See how to purchase an SSL via file validation.
    • Via DNS txt record. This is also easy but in this case, you must have to get domain level access. See how to purchase an SSL via DNS validation.

Install the certificate on your hosting panel

  • I assume, the certificate provider has emailed you an SSL certificate and an intermediate certificate by this time. Go back to your hosting panel.
  • On “SSL/TLS” section, now its time to copy paste the certificate and CA bundle in the appropriate sections. See this video how to install ssl certificate in different hosting platforms.

Configure the SSL

  • This is by far the most important and sometimes complex thing to do. Once you have done all the purchase and installation, the real big challenge is to redirect your contents from http:// to https://. Most of the time you end up paying a developer to this task. Consider the damage a misconfigured SSL can bring.
  • Before jumping to configuring the SSL for your website, determine how URLs are served. What is the base URL? It depends on the coding language and home/index page of a website. See how to configure SSL for a WordPress site.
  • The most basic configuration is to change the URL of the home and other absolute paths in the routers.
  • If a website is well programmed then mostly mix-contents are handled with home/index URL. But in case of manually inserted links or links inserted in the styles file will give you hard time to get rid of mix contents. You will need some coding knowledge in this case. Consult a professional if needed. Most professional will charge 1 hour for this task.

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