I’ve written before about the benefits of adding an SSL certificate to a website and now the process is a lot easier

Google likes HTTPS websites and allocates a small rankings boost, if you’re running an e-commerce store, then an SSL certificate will be a requirement from your payment processor and lastly securing websites is now seen as a good practice – privacy and all that.

Traditionally getting and installing an SSL certificate required a bit of effort primarily because;

a) SSL certificates cost money and because they cost money…

b) there is a company supplying the certificate that requires some administrative hoops to jump through, and finally…

c) installing the certificate may need a support ticket to your hosting provider, especially if you are on shared hosting account

The process is all a bit old and antiquated. I can have a new web hosting account set-up in seconds with WordPress pre-installed rather than the hours it can take of to-ings and fro-ings between SSL Certificate Authorities and hosting providers. The SSL landscape is all about to change though…

Lets Encrypt!

Last year an initiative got under way with one goal in mind – to allow anyone access to an SSL certificate for free and in an automated fashion. This initiative is called Let’s Encrypt.

This is great news for website owners as they can now add an SSL certificate to their website for free but more importantly this can be done in an automated fashion, no longer requiring a middle-man to run checks and issue a certificate. Simply add a record to your DNS and the cert can be issued.

A lot of websites run on cPanel powered web hosting and as I understand it the developers of cPanel (and for resellers, WHM) are working on integrating the Let’s Encrypt API directly into their software, time to release an estimated 4+ months.

Some hosting providers, such as Cloudways have already integrated the Let’s Encrypt API into their custom control panels allowing issue and install of a certificate with one click.

If you are in a hurry and want a free SSL certificate you can always install it yourself, bear in mind though that if you are on a shared hosting platform you will probably need to generate a support ticket to your web host to install the cert and last time I looked, if you are on 1and1 shared hosting, you’ll probably get shoehorned into paying for their certificates. As I understand it installing a Let’s Encrypt cert requires two commands to be run from a shell prompt on the web server. Easy and fast.

So why wait? Get a free SSL certificate today and secure your website – make the web a safer place for everyone.