How To Use A Free SSL Certificate With Bluehost Shared Hosting

Do you see that some websites have HTTP in the beginning while some have https? The S added to HTTP points out that the website you are using is secure. The ‘S’ stands for secure. SSL certificates enable secure connections between a web server and a web browser. This can be used where the user has to enter credit card details, or he/she has an account and needs to enter the username and password.

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer, and an SSL certificate is the digitalized certificate confirming that the website is secure and also the identity of a website.

It is essentially the security of information provided to the user. It includes small data files that activate the https protocol. It not only provides encryption of data, but it also provides authentication. This provides surety to the user that he/she is sending the right information to the right server. Sometimes, other servers tend to copy and unethically gain data; SSL provides security against those.

If you are using the information of cards such as debit cards, credit cards, etc. then your website needs an SSL certificate because your website needs to comply with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards.

SSL certificate allows a domain name, hostname, or server name to bind together along with the identity of the organization, i.e., the company name and the location.

Here are some reasons why an SSL certificate is essential for your website:

  1. To keep the data secure between servers
  2. To increase your Google Ranking
  3. To build or enhance the trust of the customer
  4. To improve your conversion rates

Having an SSL certificate not only boosts your Google ranking because your website is safe to use, but it also helps you to build a relationship with your customers based on trust and faith.

Now there are multiple organizations issuing SSL certificates, but if you really want to keep your and your users’ data safe, make sure you get the SSL certificate from a trusted authority. One example of such trusted authority is GlobalSign because many well-known Operating System brands such as BlackBerry and Microsoft rely on it.

Other websites from where you can purchase an SSL certificate are SSL.com, Namecheap, the SSL Store, GoDaddy, DigiCert, Thawte, GeoTrust, Entrust, Network Solution, BlueHost, etc.

For WordPress, Bluehost is the recommended web host. You can migrate your WordPress website from HTTP to https using the Bluehost hosting. You can either have a free SSL certificate or a paid one. In this article, you’ll learn how to make use of the free SSL certificate.

Connect SSL to Your Website

Login to your Bluehost Account

To start with the process, first, log in to your Bluehost account. Once you are logged in, you will see the Bluehost Dashboard. On your left-hand side of your screen, you will options like home, My Sites, Marketplace, Email, Domains, Advanced, etc.

Select My Sites Option

Using the menu on the left-hand side of your screen, select the My Sites option. Your screen will show your Website name on the top. On the bottom of the header, you will see a menu with options such as overview, users, backups, performance, security, settings, etc.

You will land on the Overview page by default.  

Select Security Option

Select the Security option from the top menu, and you will see the Security Certificate header and the File Integrity Check. Under the Security Certificate option, you will see the Free SSL Certificate option with a toggle button. Under the File Integrity Check option, you will see the Check Core WordPress Files option.  

Turn on the Toggle Button

To install your SSL certificate, all you need to do is to turn the Toggle button from off to on, and you will see the pending notice accompanied by the message – Working on it. When you turn on the toggle button, your free SSL certificate will start installing.

Now, this process might take a few hours, and there might be situations where you might be directed to take specific actions. All of these will be sent via email.

Even when you purchase your free SSL certificate, you will receive an email from the billing team of Bluehost.

At times your certificate might not load. In such situations, you might want to refresh your page and follow the fourth step again. There is a chance that your SSL certificate gets installed in a few minutes this time!

Verify That SSL Certificate is Working

Go to https://www.sslshopper.com/ssl-checker.html

You will see the heading SSL Checker, and below the description, you will see the Server Hostname in the blue backdrop. Underneath that, you will see the entry field.

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Copy and Paste Your Domain

All you have to do is copy your domain and paste it in the entry field. You can also type it out. Then press the Check SSL option on the right side of the entry field.

This will help you to verify your SSL certificate on the website, and when you press the Check SSL option on the right side of the entry field, you will see the information beneath the box. If everything shows a green tick, your SSL certificate has been successfully installed on your website. It will also display by whom the certificate was issued and how many days it will expire.

The free SSL certificate option is also available to users of SiteGround, InmotinHosting, and A2Hosting.

If you own a WordPress website, then there are a few more steps you need to follow to change your website from HTTP to https. You might be thinking that once you install the SSL certificate, your website should automatically be loaded in https. That is correct. But the point is that your website can load both on HTTP and https, and it is necessary to make sure that your website only loads on https.

Force HTTPS in BlueHost WordPress

Log in to your WordPress Dashboard

First of all, go to WordPress and enter your credentials to log in to your WordPress account. You will land on your home page by default, where you will see your stats at a glance and a menu on the left-hand side of your screen.

The menu would have a lot of options, such as My Home, Stats, Plan, etc. Then there would be headers under which a separate menu would open up such as Site, Jetpack, Design, Tools, etc.

Select the Plugins Option from Tools Menu

Under the Tools menu on the left side of your screen, the first option you will see is Plugins. Select that option to be redirected to the plugin browser page, and you will see a menu including options such as Engagement, Security, Appearance, and Writing.

Search Really Simple SSL

You will see a search icon on the end of the menu described in Step 2. Click on that search icon to open up an entry field and search for Really Simple SSL. You will see multiple results but look for the one Plugin with a simple colored lock drawing.

Install the Plugin

Once you find out the right Plugin, select it to open its description page, and then click on the install option that is present on the right side. Make sure you install and activate the Plugin.

Activate SSL

Once you have done step 4, you will see a screen displaying the title “Almost ready to migrate to SSL!”

There will be a button in blue:  “Go ahead, activate SSL!”. Click on that button.

More About SSL

After you are done with the process, you must submit the new https sitemap to Google Search Console. If you have a Google Analytics account, make sure you make the necessary updates in your profile there as well. Also, make sure you add the updated link in all your social media profiles.

There are also various types of Secured Socket Layer (SSL) certificates such as Extended Validation Certificate (EV SSL), Organization Validated Certificate (OV SSL), Domain Validated Certificate (DV SSL), Wildcard SSL Certificate, Multi-Domain SSL Certificate (MDC), and Unified Communications Certificate (UCC).

Out of these, the Extended Validation Certificate (EV SSL) is one of the highest-ranking and expensive certificates. It protects the information of the user by displaying the owner’s information in the address bar. The Organization Validated Certificate (OV SSL) is mainly used to make sure that the user sensitive data is encrypted.

Domain Validation SSL Certificate is not the best SSL certificate for encryption and assurance and works well for blogs. To obtain such a certificate, all you have to do is prove your ownership for the domain.

A wildcard certificate is used to secure unlimited subdomains under the base domain. A Multi-domain SSL certificate, on the other hand, is used to secure around a hundred different domain names and their subdomains all under one certificate. This helps to save money and time. The Unified Communications Certificates (UCC) is also like the Multi-domain SSL certificate, but they specialize in encrypting communications.

Thus, your Secured Socket Layer (SSL) certificate depends on the type of website and the type of transactions you want to carry out on your website. It is always better to have an SSL certificate because the users today are being more careful than ever and would always look out for https on the websites they use. Having a Secured Socket Layer (SSL) certificate can be expensive. It can cause you to incur costs even when you are not generating revenue, but this investment will help you to build a relationship based on trust with your customers.