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How to Add Free SSL in WordPress with Let’s Encrypt

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How to Add Free SSL in WordPress with Let’s Encrypt

When we first covered how to add SSL in WordPress, a lot of our readers asked for a free SSL solution. Unfortunately nothing existed at that time. However that has changed now thanks to Let’s Encrypt. In this article, we will show you how to add free SSL in WordPress with Let’s Encrypt.

Adding a Free SSL Certificate in WordPress with Let’s Encrypt

What is SSL and Let’s Encrypt?

Every internet user shares lots of personal information each day. We do that when shopping online, creating accounts, signing into different websites, etc.

If not properly encrypted, then this information can be spied upon and stolen. This is where SSL comes in. It provides the encryption technology to secure the connection between a user’s browser and the web server.

Each site is issued a unique SSL certificate for identification purposes. If a server is pretending to be on HTTPS, and it’s certificate doesn’t match, then most modern browsers will warn the user from connecting to the site.

Unsecure connection warning in Google Chrome

Previously, the only way to secure sites with SSL was by using a paid SSL certificate.

Let’s Encrypt is a free open certificate authority that aims to provide SSL certificate for general public. It is a project of Internet Research Group, a public service corporation. Let’s Encrypt is sponsored by many companies including Google, Facebook, Sucuri, Mozilla, Cisco, etc.

Let's Encrypt

Having said that, let’s take a look at how you can add free SSL certificate to your WordPress site with Let’s Encrypt.

Easy Way – Using a Host That Offers Built-in Free SSL

As Let’s Encrypt is becoming popular, some WordPress hosting companies have already started offering built-in easy SSL set up.

The easiest way to add Let’s Encrypt free SSL to WordPress is by signing up with a hosting company that offers a built-in integration.

Setting up Free SSL with Let’s Encrypt on SiteGround

SiteGround is one of the most trusted and well-known hosting companies offering built-in integration of free SSL. We use Siteground for our List25 website.

Here is how to enable Let’s Encrypt free SSL in SiteGround.

Simply login to your cPanel dashboard and scroll down to the security section. There you will need to click on the Let’s Encrypt icon.

Let's Encrypt icon in cPanel

This will bring you to the Let’s Encrypt install page. You will need to select the domain name where you want to use the free SSL, and then provide a valid email address.

installletsencrypt

You can now click on the install button. Let’s encrypt will now issue a unique SSL certificate for your website. Once it’s finished, you will see a success message.

Let's Encrypt installed

That’s all, you have successfully integrated Let’s Encrypt free SSL to your WordPress site.

However, your WordPress site is not yet ready to use it. First you will need to update your WordPress URLs and then fix insecure content issue.

Don’t worry we will show you how to do that. Skip to the section on updating URLs and fixing insecure content issues.

Setting up Free SSL with Let’s Encrypt on DreamHost

DreamHost is another popular WordPress hosting service provider that’s offering built-in integration to setup free SSL on any of your domains hosted with them.

First you need to login to your Dreamhost dashboard. Under the Domains section, you need to click on secure hosting.

Secure Hosting

On the secure hosting page, you need to click on ‘Add Secure Hosting’ button to continue.

Dreamhost will now ask you to select your domain. Below that it will give you an option to add free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. You need to make sure that this checkbox is checked.

Adding secure hosting

You can optionally choose to add a unique IP to your domain name. It is not required, but will improve compatibility with older versions of Internet Explorer on Windows XP.

Click on Add Now button to finish the setup. DreamHost will now start setting up your Free SSL certificate with Let’s encrypt. You will see a success message like this:

Success message after adding free SSL on DreamHost

You have successfully added a free SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt to your WordPress site on DreamHost.

You still need to update WordPress URLs and fix insecure content issue. Jump to the section, updating WordPress URLs after setting up SSL.

Installing Let’s Encrypt Free SSL on Other Web Hosts

Let’s Encrypt free SSL is a domain based SSL certificate. This means that if you have a domain name, then you can add it on any web host.

However, if your web host does not offer an easy integration like SiteGround or DreamHost, then you will need to go through a somewhat lengthy procedure.

This procedure differs from one web host to another. Most hosting companies have a support document explaining how to do that. You can also contact their support staff for detailed instructions.

BlueHost one of the official WordPress hosting providers allows you to add third-party SSL to your domains hosted with them. For detailed instructions, take a look at their SSL installation of 3rd party certificate page.

Updating WordPress URLs After Setting up SSL

After setting up the Free SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt, the next step is to move your WordPress URL from HTTP to HTTPS.

A normal site without SSL certificate uses HTTP protocol. This is usually highlighted with http prefix in web addresses, like this:

http://www.example.com

Secure websites with SSL certificates use HTTPS protocol. This means that their addresses look like this:

https://www.example.com

Without changing the URLs in your WordPress site, you will not be using SSL and your site will not be secure for collecting sensitive data.

Having said, let’s see how to move WordPress URLs from http to https:

For Brand New WordPress Website

If you are working on a brand new website, then you can just go to your WordPress admin area and click on settings. There you will need to update the WordPress URL and Site URL fields to use https.

Setting up WordPress to use HTTPS in URLs for a new website

Don’t forget to save your changes.

For Existing WordPress Sites

If your site has been live for a while, then chances are that it is indexed by search engines. Other people may have linked to it using http in the URL. You need to make sure that all traffic is redirected to the https URL.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Really Simple SSL plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

The plugin will automatically detect your SSL certificate and set up your website to use it. In most cases, you will not have to make any more changes. The plugin will also fix insecure content issue.

Update Google Analytics Settings

If you have Google Analytics installed on your WordPress site, then you need to update its settings and add your new url with https.

Login to your Google Analytics dashboard and click on ‘Admin’ at the top menu. Next, you need to click on property settings under your website.

There you will see the default URL option. Click on http and then select https.

Changing default URL in Google Analytics

Don’t forget to click on the save button to store your settings.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you add Free SSL in WordPress with Let’s Encrypt. You may also want to see our list of 40 useful tools to manage and grow your WordPress blog.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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Comments

  1. Facun says:

    Hello,

    Very nice article, thank you!

    I was wondering how to implement Let’s Encrypt only in certain pages (Woocommerce and contact pages for example).

    Thanks,
    Facun

  2. Matthew says:

    I’m really glad about what Let’s Encrypt is doing; making encryption easily accessible to everyone is really awesome. Good to see web hosts implementing it for their customers also. My host, StackPress, is among those hosts who now offer Let’s Encrypt and I’m pretty stoked about it.

  3. John Pescod says:

    I am relatively new to WordPress so I have read a lot on WPBeginner. I’m starting a new website and want to use SSL from the start – that’s how I came across this article. My Belgian hosting company does not provide an automated way to install Let’s Encrypt, but it does allow me to install my own SSL without having to buy/install the certificate through them.
    In your article you write “Updating WordPress URLs After Setting up SSL – After setting up the Free SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt” but you don’t write how this process is actually done manually (unless I have missed it completely!). On the Let’s Encrypt website on their “Getting Started” webpage they refer to the installation of “Certbot” for this purpose, and then it all becomes as good as Chinese for me…
    The link imbedded in your text, “After setting up the Free SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt,” just sent me off to a GoDaddy promo for webhosting, whereas I expected it was going to refer to a useful text explaining how to get a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt.
    I was hoping that your article would tell people who’s host do not automate the Let’s Encrypt installation how to complete this themselves, but after getting to the end of your article, I am (and surely many others) are left without the info we were hoping for.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Please look at the section ‘Installing Let’s Encrypt Free SSL on Other Web Hosts’. We have given example of BlueHost, a web hosting company that does not offer easy tools to automatically setup Let’s Encrypt. But they do have a page on how to setup 3rd party SSL certificates. You can also ask your web hosting company to help you setup SSL.

      • John Pescod says:

        I’m sorry I didn’t mention that I had also read the BlueHost link. In the info BlueHost provide they say, “Provide the CSR to the SSL vendor of your choice. They will exchange it for a CRT file.” I’ve already created a CSR that is ready to be forwarded to a 3rd party for a SSL certificate and I’d like to use Let’s Encrypt for this. But nowhere on the Let’s Encrypt website can I find a way to submit my CSR. They have a support page, but this is full of technical questions and answers, I found nothing that says how to obtain a SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt using a CSR. Other (paid) SSL certificate providers have a simple and obvious way of letting you submit your CSR to get a SSL cert. in return.

  4. Bartek says:

    Dreamhost told me I can’t use Let’s Encrypt and CloudFlare at the same time. I therefore signed up for Cloudflare outside of Dreamhost because they offer free encryption of their own…somehow. I can’t figure out how to get a certificate created and put on my site and Dreamhost isn’t helping since it’s a Cloudflare product. Cloudflare isn’t helping cause it’s a free plan. I’m wondering if anyone has any simple insights into this?

    Have a great day in The Matrix!
    VB

    • vijay says:

      Cloudflare doesn’t support HTTPS for free plans. So you need a premium Cloudflare account if you want to use SSL.

      • Bartek says:

        Hi,

        Maybe you’re right but they say they do and the options to turn it on are right there for me to choose ranging from strict to self signed…

  5. Ruud says:

    Please note, on SiteGround Let’s Encrypt won’t work with the free plan from CloudFlare!

  6. Rakesh says:

    A very good information. Please help me to add ssl to my website, i am using Godaddy shared hosting, could anyone help to add Let’s Encrypt SSL To my site.

  7. Dean Bartley says:

    Very interesting stuff. This site has been teaching me a lot of stuff.

  8. AHMED says:

    Hello Syed! Great tutorial. I just want to ask when this error occurs whether its the time when user buys, login to website or every time if web does not have a ssl certificate. For example, my web don’t offer login, shopping system so do i need a ssl certificate. Whether this error will appear or not??
    thanks

  9. Jay A says:

    I have a WordPress site running on InMotion hosting. I contacted them today and they basically told me that I’m free to install it but that they won’t offer any support or help doing it. Has anyone set up Let’s Encrypt for a InMotion WP site? I made it to the SSL/TLS manager in my cPanel but had no idea what to do from there. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  10. John says:

    Hello Syed,
    Thanks for the article. Very interesting since I recently joined Siteground and of course had Let’s Encrypt installed. Works great on pc, but …. is untrusted on mobile devices. Have you heard about this phenomenon or could it be a Siteground problem (configuration of their webservers)?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Please contact SiteGround support. They will be able to help you better.

    • Ashutosh Kumar says:

      It is not problem of Siteground.
      Letsencrypt SSL is not trusted on most of the mobile device browsers

    • Rick Zich says:

      This issue may have been fixed. Have have a let’s encrypt cert and it is working on both desktop and mobile using woocommerce. At least on the iphone safari browser. It is interesting though because you have tap into the address to see the https as it does not show in the normal address.

    • Luna Lunapiena says:

      I just tried it on multiple sites/domains. Appears to be working fine!

  11. Melanie Lewis says:

    Thanks for this great post and the step by step instructions! I had previously purchased a certificate but didn’t take the right steps to get is installed properly. Your post helped me get everything in order!

    I also have the same question as Tasos: Do we uninstall the Really Simple SSL plugin after everything is all set, or does it need to remain running?

    Thanks for all your educational efforts!

  12. Justin says:

    I suppose one would have to update webmaster tools once this is done right?

    • Arjun Chandran says:

      If you set the site url and and homepage url with https then WordPress will automatically redirect visitors, updating you webmaster tool is also a good idea.

  13. Senthilkumar says:

    Thanks a lot for this article. I have a question though. I read somewhere enabling SSL will affect the adsense income? Is it true?

    • Editorial Staff says:

      Honestly don’t see why it would impact your Adsense revenue. We have heard that some folks reported their traffic dropping after they switched to SSL but that’s mainly because Google needs some time to re-index everything.

  14. Andrew says:

    It’s great to see SiteGround is constantly innovating their web hosting services. I have multiple customers who I’ve placed on SiteGround and never looked back. Adding the free SSL certificate is an interesting service. Does the certificate come with standard web hosting? Is the certificate a premium option? Either way, the tutorial was extremely helpful! Especially with Google factoring in websites with http vs. https.

  15. Tasos Perte Tzortzis says:

    Hi , thanks for this information.One question

    After we successfully install the Let’s Encrypt and the Really Simple SSL plugins and we finish with the process of renaming the URL to https can we then remove those plugins from the WordPress dashboard?..

    Or do we have to keep them installed and running?

    Kind regards

  16. Keith Davis says:

    Hi Guys
    This looks pretty good and with Google favouring SSL sites it is certainly something that I will be looking into.

    I’ll send my host a link to this article and see if they are using it via CPanel.

  17. Kate_H says:

    Great timelyarticle Wpbeginner!

    I am just getting into the world off SSL certificates and this tutorial has given me a great starting place.

    Regards,

    Kate_H

  18. Bern Ruelas says:

    Great job Syed! I’ve paid for certificates but was unable to give all my sites the https secure domain ability until now. Good timing as well because of the increased security threats everywhere on the net.

    Keep up the good work!

    Thanks,
    Bern

    • Editorial Staff says:

      Thanks Bern – yes this will help a lot of sites get SSL. The folks at Let’s Encrypt are really doing awesome stuff.

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