Having a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate on your site will provide an extra security layer to it. The SSL certificate will enable encryption of data transfer between the users and your server which is especially important when your site is processing sensitive data such as user login credentials, personal data, and credit cards number.
On top of that, with SSL certificate your site can have a chance to rank better on Google SERP, avoid “Not Secure” mark in Google Chrome and other browser since your site would be able to load from the HTTPS protocol, leverage HTTP/2 which requires the use of HTTPS, and protect the site for other type of malicious actions such as code injection from your ISP.
Given all these benefits, installing SSL certificate and loading your site with HTTPS should not be ignored. So, in this tutorial, we’ll show you how to deploy an SSL certificate to your site running with Apache and cPanel. We will start by obtaining an SSL certificate from an authority vendor, then installing and verifying installation. Let’s get started.
In order to set up the SSL certificate for your website, you first need to purchase it. You can do so by following the steps below.
Next, I will take you through a 5-steps process to activate your certificate, starting with entering the CSR.
Let’s leave this browser window open for now.
There are many ways to generate CSR, however, in this guide, I will walk you through generating CSR via cPanel and WHM, and we will start with the former.
Now click Generate to get your CSR code.
Keep this browser window open as we will be needing it in the later step.
If you are running your website from a dedicated server, chances are you will have access to WHM. Therefore you can also generate CSR via WHM.
Note: If you don’t already know the URL to your WHM login, it would most likely be ipaddress/whm, or domain.com/whm. If these don’t work, contact your web host.
Once done, click the Create button.
After these steps, keep this browser window open, you will need it in the later step.
Note: Make sure you have access to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or any email addresses under Approver email dropdown.
Since we choose the email for DCV method, we’ll be expecting an email asking us to verify that we are the owner of the domain we intend to install the SSL certificate. Here’s how you can validate the SSL certificate via email.
You will verify the certificate via email, you’ll be sent the certificate to be downloaded. Here’s how you can do it.
Before we go on to install the SSL certificate, let’s do a recap. First we purchased an SSL certificate, generated CSR (via cPanel, or WHM) to activate the certificate. Then we’ve also validated, downloaded the certificate and finally have it opened in a text editor. And now, we’re going to install the certificate.
We will start with the guide on how to install the certificate via cPanel.
"Domain" – Click the drop-down and hopefully you may find the domain name is already in there. Here select the domain name.
"Certificate: (CRT)" – Copy all the codes in the file ending with .crt extension, and paste it inside here.
"Private Key (KEY):" – There was a browser windows we left opened while generating the CSR key earlier on. Go back there, copy all codes inside “Encoded Key:” and paste it here.
"Certificate Authority Bundle: (CABUNDLE)" – Copy all codes from the file ending with .ca-bundle extension, pate it inside here.
"Domain:" – Enter the domain name for which you want to install this certificate.
"Certificate:" – Copy all codes from the file ending in .crt extention, paste it here.
"Private Key:" – Revisit the browser window we left opened when generating CSR. Copy all codes in “Key” and paste it here.
"Certificate Authority Bundle:" – Lastly, copy all codes in the file ending with .ca-bundle and paste it inside here.
If you’ve reach this far, congratulation, that means your SSL certificate has been installed. Now for the final step, let’s make sure if the SSL certification is working properly.
The easiest way to see if the SSL certificate is working is by opening a new browser, add
https:// before domain name, or replacing
https:// and then hit Enter.
If you see a lock (likely in green colour), that means the SSL certificate is up and running.
This, in my opinion, Using an SSL Cheker tool is a better way to check if SSL certificate is installed properly as it factors our browser cache which would lead to inaccuracy.
Go to https://decoder.link/sslchecker/, enter your domain name and click the Check button. It will return you all information about the domain and its SSL certificate installed.
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