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The Importance of HTTPS + How to Install an SSL Certificate

how to install an SSL certificate

Have you recently tried accessing a website (maybe even your own!) and received an unsecure website error? Nine times out of 10, this happens because the website you’re trying to access doesn’t have an SSL certificate installed or set up properly. If this is an issue you’re experiencing on your site, don’t worry! It’s an easy fix, we promise. Before we dive into how to install one on your site, let’s back it up and go over what an SSL certificate is and why it’s important.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, which essentially means a website is secured by an SSL certificate. If a website does not have an SSL certificate or if it’s not set up properly, only the letters HTTP will appear before www. When a website is secure, a padlock icon will also appear in the URL address bar of a browser. 

Why You Need an SSL Certificate for Your Blog

An SSL certificate will encrypt any sensitive information that goes through your site – think personal details, credit card information, and login details, just to name a few. Having an SSL certificate on your website is a must these days, especially as search engines and browsers continue to prioritize user security.

Wondering how HTTPS applies to your website if you’re not processing payments or collecting personal information? The Internet is prioritizing websites with HTTPS, so if you don’t have one, you could risk your website coming up as unsecure for readers or not appearing in Google searches. And since having a secure website is a Google ranking factor, installing an SSL certificate will give your SEO a boost!

How to Install an SSL Certificate with SiteGround

When we first started our blogs and The Blog Societies, we did what everyone else seemed to do, signed up with Bluehost to host our blogs. After years of frustration, we switched over to SiteGround (learn more about why we made the switch here!) and haven’t looked back since. 

One of the best perks of SiteGround is that the SSL certificates are included in your hosting package (which are already super affordable!) and are really easy to set up. Not a techie person? SiteGround has great customer service and will help you with any issues you run into when switching to HTTPS.

Checking for the SSL Certificate

If you recently signed up for SiteGround, it can take up to 72 hours after the domain has been registered for the SSL to be issued. You can check this by going to Site Tools > Security > SSL Manager in your account dashboard. 

Manually Requesting an SSL Certificate

If the SSL certificate is not appearing in your account after 72 hours, all you need to do is install a new one. Go to Site Tools > Security > SSL Manager > Install New SSL. Once you’re on the page, select the domain, choose Let’s Encrypt, and click Get.

Configuring WordPress to Work Through HTTPS

It’s no secret that we love the functionality of WordPress, especially with the thousands of plugins that are available to users to help incorporate a certain feature into your site or to install a piece of code. And guess what? There’s also a plugin to help you get your SSL certificate configured properly on your site! All you need to do is install the SiteGround Optimizer plugin! 

Once the plugin is installed on your site, navigate to SG Optimizer on the lefthand side of the admin dashboard > Environment Options > HTTPS Enforce. The plugin will automatically ensure your site traffic is correctly redirected to HTTPS. 

Keep in mind that you may be requested to log into WordPress again, this is completely normal so don’t worry! 

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