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How to Get a Free SSL Certificate for Your WordPress Website (Beginner’s Guide)

Did you know that Google shows all non-SSL websites as “Not Secure”. This means that if you are not using a SSL certificate on your website, then you’ll lose customers trust.

Because SSL certificate helps protect your website data, it’s actually a requirement for accepting payments online.

Normally, paid SSL certificates are quite expensive. If you are just starting a blog or making a DIY business website, then you likely want to keep costs low.

Luckily, there are multiple ways to get a free SSL certificate to reduce your website cost. In this article, we will show you how to easily get a free SSL certificate for your WordPress website and set it up all by yourself.

Getting a free SSL certificate for your WordPress site

We will also cover the following topics:

  • What is an SSL Certificate?
  • Why You need an SSL certificate for Your WordPress Site
  • How does SSL certificate work to keep information secure
  • How much SSL certificates cost
  • How you can get a free SSL certificate
  • How to Install a free SSL certificate in WordPress

Ready? Let’s get started.

What is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is an internet protocol for securing data transfer between a user’s browser and the website they are visiting.

Every internet user transfers information when they visit websites. This information can often be sensitive like payment details, credit card information, or login credentials.

Using the normal HTTP protocol means this information can be hijacked by hackers. This is where SSL or HTTPS comes in.

Websites need an SSL certificate issued by one of the recognized certificate issuing authority. This certificate is verified and highlighted in the user’s browser address bar with a padlock sign and HTTPS instead of HTTP.

Address bar showing SSL secure padlock icon with HTTPs

Do I Need an SSL Certificate for My WordPress Website?

SSL / HTTPS is recommended for all websites on the internet. However, it is absolutely required for all websites that collect user information like login details, payment information, credit cards, and more.

If you are running an e-commerce store, a membership website, or require users to login, then you need to get an SSL certificate right away.

Most online payment services require your website to use SSL/HTTPs before you can receive payments.

Apart from security, SSL certificate also creates a positive impression of your brand among your users. Google also recommends using SSL, and research shows that SSL-enabled websites rank slightly higher in search results.

Last but not least, if your website is not using an SSL certificate, then Google Chrome will show your users that your website is not secure.

Not secure label shown in Google Chrome web browser

This icon affects your brand image and user’s trust on your website.

How Does SSL Certificate Work?

Now that we have explained what is SSL and why is it important, you might be wondering how does an SSL certificate actually works?

SSL protects information by encrypting the data transfer between a user’s browser and the website.

When a user visits an SSL/HTTPs website, their browser first verifies if the website’s SSL certificate is valid.

If everything checks out, then the browser uses the website’s public key to encrypt the data. This data is then sent back to the intended server (website) where it is decrypted using the public key and a secret private key.

How SSL works to protect data transfer

How Much Do SSL Certificates Cost?

Cost of SSL Certificates differs from one certificate authority to another. Their pricing could be anywhere between $50-200 / year. Some providers offer add-on services with their certificates which may also affect the cost of your SSL certificate.

If you are going to purchase an SSL certificate, then we recommend using Domain.com. They are one of the largest domain name registration service in the world, and they offer the best deal on SSL certificates.

They offer simple SSL certificate plans starting from $35.99 / year, and it comes with a $10,000 security warranty along with TrustLogo site seal. After you have purchased an SSL certificate, you can ask your hosting provider to install it for you.

But before you do that, you should check to see if you can get the SSL certificate for free.

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If you’d prefer written instructions, just keep reading.

How Can I Get an SSL Certificate for Free?

A lot of website owners are reluctant to use SSL due to the additional cost. This left many small websites vulnerable to data and information theft.

A non-profit project called Let’s Encrypt decided to fix this by establishing a free certificate authority.

The purpose of this certificate authority is to make it easier for website owners to get a free SSL certificate. Internet becomes a safer place if more and more websites start using SSL.

Due to the significance of the project, it quickly earned the support of major companies like Google, Facebook, Shopify, WordPress.com and many others.

The challenge is that installing the free SSL certificate by Let’s Encrypt for a beginner user is quite difficult because it requires coding knowledge and server systems knowledge.

Thankfully, all of the best WordPress hosting companies are now offering free SSL certificate with all their hosting plans (some are using Let’s Encrypt).

Choosing one of these providers will save you from the hassle of installing the free SSL certificate on your own.

Here are the top WordPress hosting companies that offer free SSL certificate with their hosting plans.

If you are already using one of these companies, then you can turn on your free SSL certificate from your hosting dashboard. Simply login to your hosting account’s cPanel dashboard and scroll down to the ‘Security’ section.

Enable free SSL certificate from cPanel

Bluehost users will find the free SSL option by visiting My Sites » Manage Site page. From here, you can switch to the security tab and turn on free SSL certificate for your website.

Bluehost free SSL

Depending on your hosting company, your web hosting control panel may look different than the screenshot above. If you are having trouble locating the free SSL option, then you can ask your hosting provider to enable it for you.

If your web hosting company does not offer free SSL, then you can easily follow our guide to switch your hosting and move your sites to one of the companies above.

Installing Free SSL Certificate and Setting up WordPress

Once you have enabled your free SSL Certificate, you will need to set up WordPress to start using HTTPS instead of HTTP in all your URLs.

The easiest way to do this is by installing and activating the Really Simple SSL plugin on your website. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will check to see if your SSL certificate is enabled. After that, it will turn on HTTP to HTTPS redirect and change your website settings to start using SSL/HTTPs.

SSL enabled in WordPress

To make your website completely secure, you need to make sure that URLs of your website are loading using the HTTPS protocol. Really Simple SSL plugin does that automatically by fixing the URLs when the page loads.

Even if a single URL still loads using the insecure HTTP protocol, then browsers will treat your entire website as not fully secure.

Connection not fully secure

To fix these URLs, you will need to use your browser’s inspect tool to find them and then replace them with the correct HTTPs URLs. For more on this, see our tutorial on how to fix mixed content error in WordPress.

Really Simple SSL Plugin makes it super easy to set up free SSL certificate in WordPress. That’s why we recommend it for all beginners.

However, it catches insecure URLs when the page loads, which increases your page load time a little bit. This is why advanced users who are concerned about WordPress speed uses the manual method to setup their free SSL certificate.

We have created detailed step by step instructions to help you properly switch WordPress from HTTP to HTTPS (which shows both the manual method and the plugin method).

We hope this article helped you learn how to get a free SSL certificate for your WordPress site. You may also want to see our step by step guide on how to create free business email address for your WordPress site.

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Reader Interactions

63 CommentsLeave a Reply

    • You would sadly need to check with those in charge of your intranet for what is available.

      Admin

  1. Hi
    Clearly explained thanks. Can you buy SSL certificate from a different provider than the one who’s hosting the website?

    • If you do not see the option to add it, you would want to reach out to your hosting provider for assistance.

      Admin

  2. hi
    if I have SSL enabled from hosting company and also really simple SSL plugin, this is bad in some way for my site? I had to put really simple SSL too because SSL from hosting company still says its not completely secure

  3. Thank you for helping peoples all around the world through this website and this article is really informative specially for beginner entrepreneurs. So keep sharing your knowledge with us .

  4. That not secure notification has been bugging me since I launched my blog. Followed this step by step and I got it fixed. Thank you!

  5. Hmm, I am on Bluehost, and it tells me “Free SSL Certificate – Unavailable”
    I will figure it out but seems like I must do it some other way, not like you`ve shown here.
    Anyway, thanks for the article. I had no idea that I could get SSL for free.

    • You may want to reach out to BlueHost, it could also be an issue on their end if there is trouble with their SSL certificate procedure. Glad our article could help :)

      Admin

  6. Which hosting platform do you think is better–Hostgator or Bluehost ? What do you find to be the pros and cons of each, especially with regard to features, pricing, and support. Thanks for your feedback!

    • That would depend on your specific hosting, if you reach out to your hosting provider they should let you know what they accept

      Admin

  7. Hey,
    Do you guys know why when I added my website to CloudFlare to get that SSL, my mp3 from the website are acting like live stream? doesn’t work anymore to “browser” on them anymore..

    Any help would be appreciate it.
    Thanks

  8. the hosting service I’m using claims free SSL certificate but requires the purchase of a dedicated IP, whatever that is. Sounds like false advertising.

  9. I have Hostgator and they want $39.99. I need help. I can not keep spending money. Can you show me in the customer portal what to do. Maybe I need to change hosting.

    • You would want to reach out to their support about their free SSL to ensure they don’t think you are requesting something else.

      Admin

    • Dear Jim, i was reading your comment, i also faced the same issue, i have recently switched my hosting to hostgator of my website and my free ssl was not installing, i contacted their tech support through hostgator account accound and asked to person to install it, the tech person installed it on the website, so you can also try the same. i hope it will work for you.

  10. Wow! You are terrific! Just last week I went through the installation of a free SSL and manual conversion of some 4 HTTP’s to HTTPS’. GoDaddy does not allow Let’s Encrypt so all my work of free SSL install was a total waste and since I did not know anything about WordPress and web hosting, Lets Encrypt SSL install took me four full 8-hour-days for nothing. Then I installed Cloudflare SSL which was easy. Really Simple SSL is fantastic but I am not sure if I need to keep it on my site after my all of my HHPT’s are converted into HTTPS’ and I see a padlock on address bar for every page of my website.

    Do I need to keep Really Simple SSL plugin on my site or can I remove it?

  11. My domain is registered with Blue Host, but I’m using an independent company for hosting who started offering SSL a year ago for $100 as an add-on, which I declined. Do I need to migrate my blog over to Bluehost for hosting to get the free SSL? I’d rather not pay an extra $100 with my current host but am really annoyed and concerned about losing traffic with the “Site Not Secure” message visitors see. Please advise. Thanks.

    • Hi Angela,

      To get the free SSL, you can either migrate back to Bluehost or use any of the other companies we mentioned in the list that offer free SSL. Most good WordPress hosting companies are now offering free SSL, and if your provider is not, then it’s time to switch :)

      Admin

    • If your current host does not allow free SSL, you would likely want to look into transferring to a host such as BlueHost for the free SSL.

      Admin

  12. I love the simple language words and detailing in your articles…
    Can I use your page link in my wordpress blogs. So that user can refer to your site for details for some difficult glossary words

  13. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I’m just getting back to blogging after a year’s break and was very unhappy to see the not secure prefix to my web address. As my site is already hosted by Bluehost, I was able to get my certificate free. I installed the Really Simple SSL plugin in just a couple of minutes and now have the https prefix. And it was incredibly easy!!!

  14. This was so incredibly helpful, thank you!! I spent so much time designing a beautiful website I definitely didn’t want that pesky not secure msg appearing before my URL. I thought fixing that issue would be a whole ordeal but you made it so seamless. Thank you again!

  15. I have no input tags, just a bunch of static pages. Near as I can tell, it is thinking my own login to my site is what’s causing the not secure error message – I don’t know…

    I have a managed word press site through goDaddy and I already called them and they wanted to sell me a cert for $200. Not interested.

    I am not selling anything, I have no input tags, nothing…

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  16. I have an old WordPress site 3.4.2 and want to put an SSL on it, any ideas how to go about this please?

  17. I am totally lost with this. I have only just noticed that it says that my site is not secure and have no idea what to do about it, so I am reading….and I do not have any ssl on my wordpress site or in the panel…..??? What shall I do?? Any help would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Viola,

      Please contact your WordPress hosting provider and they may be able to setup Free SSL certificate on your website. After that you can install the Really Simple SSL plugin to make your site secure.

      Admin

  18. My WordPress site is hosted by Bluehost. I have just tried to enable my “free” SSL certificate on Bluehost’s site, but when I follow the instructions as per your advice above I am prompted to “choose a certificate” – and it seems that the only options on offer have a monthly fee attached, ranging from $4.17 to $24.92 per month: see
    Plus there is also a notice that “A Dedicated IP is required to add a SSL certificate. If you do not have one, click “Add” on any of the SSL certificates, and a Dedicated IP will be added automatically for $5.99/mo.”
    I thought Bluehost were meant to be offering SSL certificates for free for sites hosting with them?

    • Hi Sharon,

      Please login to your Bluehost hosting panel. Take your mouse to your WordPress site and click on manage site button. On the next page, click on the Security tab. From here, you can tun on free SSL certificate by just clicking on a button.

      Admin

  19. Great info! Budding web designer with siteground account. Cool that’s there’s no extra cost for SSL. Does that mean that the certificates never expire?

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