How To Install SSL On WordPress – Detailed Guide

Are you thinking to install SSL to your WordPress site? In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can add SSL to WordPress site.

What is HTTPS and SSL?

SSL (short for Secure Socket Layer) is basically a web standard that encrypts the communication between the user and the website (or server).

Basically, the HTTPS or Secure HTTP helps in creating secure and protected connection so that the information sent is not intercepted in between by hackers.

Why should you use SSL on WordPress site?

Adding SSL to your WordPress site has many advantages. The biggest advantage is that it makes your site more secure. It adds a level of confidence to your users/customers that your site is protected with HTTPS.

SSL hides your site’s important information from hackers and prevents that information from being intercepted in between the communication.

For example: you might be running an ecommerce website and collects vital customer information like full name, address and credit card details. If your site is not protected by SSL, then the information sent by the visitor can be hacked in between the communication or during the checkout process.

These days it’s a big security risk to run an ecommerce site, membership site or any site that asks for customer’s information to run without SSL.

Also most payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, etc will require your WordPress site to have HTTPS installed. To comply with their standards, and also for your users (or customers) safety, it is very much important to install SSL.

Also some shopping cart requires your site to be PCI compliant, which means you’ll need to have SSL installed on your site.

Google has also announced that they will be using HTTPS and SSL as a ranking signal. This means that having HTTPS and SSL will also help in improving your site’s SEO, and that’s really a big added advantage.

So if you’ve made up your mind to install SSL on WordPress, then just follow this easy guide.

Using Let’s Encrypt for installing free SSL on WordPress site

Web hosts like Siteground, DreamHost, WP Engine and many others offer free Let’s Encrypt TLS/SSL certificates. You might want to check your web host’s website or contact them if they too offer a way to install Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.

If they do offer an automated way to install Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, then mostly the option to do this would in cPanel, also known as web hosting control panel.

Login to your cPanel and click on Let’s Encrypt.

lets encrypt ssl certificate

From the next page, all you need to do is to toggle “HTTPS Enfore” option to ON, and if you’d like, you can also toggle “External Links Rewrite” option to ON.

lets encrypt ssl wordpress

Once that’s done, you’ll be able to see a success message. That’s all you need to do to install free SSL from Let’s Encrypt.

Now, if your web host doesn’t support Let’s Encrypt then you’ll need to install SSL on WordPress using the manual method below.

Get an SSL certificate for your WordPress site

If you’re doing this the manual way, then the first thing that you need is an SSL ceritificate.

If your web hosting provider doesn’t offer a free SSL certificate, then you can purchase a third party SSL certificate.

You can also purchase SSL from the likes of Namecheap and GoDaddy, and the pricing starts from around $10.

Once you’ve purchased the SSL certificate, you’ll need to contact your web host and ask them to install the SSL ceriticate on your WordPress site.

How to add SSL and HTTPS to WordPress

Before making any changes to your site, we would highly recommend you to take a complete backup of your site, just in case if something goes wrong. Having a backup ready is always a good idea before making any changes to your WordPress site.

Now if you’re thinking to add HTTPS on your entire site, then you’ll need to update your site URL.

You can do this by logging in to your WordPress Dashboard > Settings > General and edit your WordPress Address and Site Address fields. Change the “HTTP” part to “HTTPS” and save the changes.

add ssl to wordpress

Once you make these changes, test out a few pages on your site and check if they’re on HTTPS.

If you’re adding SSL to an existing site, then you’ll also need to edit your .htaccess file which is mostly found in the root directory of your site.

Add the below code to your .htaccess file:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80 
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.yoursite.com/$1 [R,L]
</IfModule>

You’ll need to replace yoursite.com with the URL of your site.

To also enable HTTPS on WordPress admin area, you’ll need to add the below line in your wp-config.php file.

To do this, you’ll need to use File Manager in cPanel or FTP client like Filezilla.

define(‘FORCE_SSL_ADMIN’, true);

Add this above “That’s all, stop editing!” line in your wp-config.php file:

This will work for single sites as well as WordPress multi-sites too. Also it is a good idea to have HTTPS and SSL enabled in WordPress admin and not just limiting it for visitors.

Using Really Simple SSL plugin

If above instructions look too technical to you, or you don’t want to get your hands dirty, then here’s an alternative method to install SSL in WordPress via a plugin.

A popular plugin that you would want to use is Really Simple SSL. This is a very easy-to-use as well as a lightweight plugin.

This plugin automatically detects your WordPress settings and then configures your site to run on HTTPS. All it requires is a single click to enable SSL.

simple ssl wordpress

Once the plugin is enabled, go to Settings > SSL page from where you can enable the SSL.

On the Settings tab, you can find advanced options like Auto replace mixed content, debug and more.

Also this plugin developer has advised its users to have a backup before you start making changes on your site.

Testing time

When you’re done with configuring everything, it’s time to go ahead and test it out. Visit your site as a visitor and also as an admin, and check if you can see HTTPS in your URL along with a green padlock beside it. If it is, then you’re all set!

Hope this article will help you in installing SSL on your WordPress site.

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