Google recently announced that the new release of their Chrome browser in July, 2018, will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”. It’s also suspected that websites deemed “not secure” by Google will see a steady drop in rank.
To avoid having this warning scare off your website visitors, the time has come to install an SSL certificate and fully convert your website to HTTPS. If you want to handle it all yourself, you can get an SSL certificate free from Let’s Encrypt. Your website host may already have it available through your admin panel.
It would be wonderful if it was only a matter of installing the SSL certificate. In fact, some website hosts will do it for you at no charge. Unfortunately, issues can arise after the certificate is installed, such as “mixed content” errors. These issues can be addressed manually if you’re tech savvy and have the time (Search Engine Journal has a detailed tutorial), but most of us would have to hire someone to do it. Luckily, there’s a plugin for that! Several plugins, in fact. I decided to do some heavy research in order to find the best one.
The Easy Way to Implement SSL on Your Hosted WordPress Blog
The first step in doing virtually anything more easily on your website, is to have a website host with an expert customer service team. That’s getting more and more difficult to find these days, which is one of the reasons we only use and recommend GreenGeeks. They offer free, multi-domain (wildcard) SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt and it only took an email to have them set it up for us. Not in a week, not in a couple of days later, but the same day!
The problem with Let’s Encrypt is the certificates renew every 90 days. Improper management of these renewals have resulted in websites going down when the certificate renewal failed. Many hosts use this glitch as an opportunity to sell you SSL certificates for an additional yearly fee. Not GreenGeeks. Since reliable tools to prevent renewal problems were unavailable, GreenGeeks opted to build their own solution in order to protect their customers.
“The wait was worth it,” writes Kaumil Patel of GreenGeeks. “We feel that we have a superior version of Let’s Encrypt by allowing for a more efficient implementation which gives us better control, insight and the ability to easily take care of the certificate renewal process.”
Unfortunately, website hosts can’t help with other issues resulting from the switch. You can run your site through a free SSL checker tool like Jitbit, which will identify pages on your website that contain insecure content. At this point, you can hire someone to complete the switch or try a plugin.
After taking a day to research my options, I decided to go with CS WordPress HTTPS Pro Plugin because it’s the most complete solution. It can identify and automatically fix virtually any insecure content with a click of your mouse. It tackles images, style sheets, plugins and more. It even lets you decide which website pages to leave as HTTP, if you wish.
“The WordPress SSL plugin provides results that point you to the exact location where the issue is, and also contains a button to easily fix it while making backups when needed,” says their website.
It’s much less expensive than hiring someone to do it all, or hiring someone to finish it up after using a free plugin. They have video tutorials to guide you through their user-friendly interface. Within minutes, all of our pages had a reassuring green lock in the browser indicating our website is secure.
Have you made the switch to HTTPS on your WordPress blog? Please share your experience or questions in the comments below.
✔ You may also be interested in reading:
eCommerce and Online Sales Fraud Prevention in Canada
How Small Businesses Can Prevent Ransomware Encryption
Simple Ways to Protect Your Home Business from Online Threats
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.